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APR Selma coverage wins national awards


The industry group Public Radio News Directors, Incorporated named Alabama Public Radio the winner of two first place “PRNDI” awards. These prestigious national honors are connected to APR’s international award-winning coverage of the 50th anniversary of the “bloody Sunday” attacks on voting rights marchers in Selma in 1965. State troopers and a sheriff’s posse used clubs and tear gas to beat back demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The group of marchers included John Lewis, now a member of Congress representing Georgia, who led the sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives in favor of gun control legislation.

“We’re very flattered and grateful for this recognition,” says News Director Pat Duggins. “PRNDI awards are especially tough to win, since there’s a ton of public radio stations cranking out great material, and the entries are judged by fellow NPR station news directors.”

APR took first place for “Best Short Documentary” for “More Bridges to Cross,” on the “bloody Sunday” incident. This award is especially noteworthy since APR student intern Sarah Sherrill produced a segment for the documentary about Selma “from a young person’s perspective.” She already shares in APR’s New York Festivals International Radio competition “bronze radio award.” Sarah also won an Alabama Associated Press “Honorable Mention” for her Selma feature. The second “PRNDI” award was first place for “Best Use of Sound” for “bloody Sunday,” a four minute montage of the chaotic 50th anniversary remembrance in Selma.

“We’re delighted to share our success in the short documentary category with Sarah,” says Duggins. “But, the ‘use of sound’ award has a special place in my heart. Stan Ingold and I teamed up on that montage. Stan got tape from John Lewis and President Obama, while I was in the thick of the crowd getting people like Bernice King (daughter of MLK,) and Jesse Jackson to encapsulate their feelings about the anniversary. That’s how we created a narrative arc with no reporter tracks at all. It’s tough, but great when it works.”

Along with the New York Festivals International Radio award, APR’s Selma coverage was the centerpiece of its winning entry for the Radio-Television Digital News Association’s national “Kaleidoscope Award,” as well as the entry for “Most Outstanding News Operation” from the Alabama Associated Press—the fifth year in a row APR has received that generous AP honor.

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