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APR News Wins International, National, Regional, and State Awards

"That’s great journalism!” That was just one comment from the judges in what was a national award winning-weekend for the Alabama Public Radio news team.

The industry group Public Radio News Directors, Incorporated named APR the winner of two of its national PRNDI awards. APR took first place in the Best Series category for its coverage of the fifth anniversary of the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. News Director Pat Duggins, Assistant News Director Stan Ingold, Alex AuBuchon, and MacKenzie Bates tracked down the people APR listeners first heard from following the killer storms to see how life had changed for them five years later.

The judges said “…this series shows how the craft of radio can tell human stories.”

While Ingold accepted this national award on behalf of APR at the PRNDI conference in Miami, Duggins travelled to Washington, D.C. to receive APR’s third national Sigma Delta Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. This latest honor is for the news team’s documentary on prison reform titled “…and justice for all.”

“’…and justice for all’ shocks the conscience,” said the SPJ judges at the event at the National Press Club. “And, this program led the U.S. Justice Department launching an investigation. That’s great journalism! This complex and multi-faceted story will, hopefully, someday make a difference in the Alabama judicial and prison system.”

The Alabama Associated Press also honored APR as “Most Outstanding Radio News Operation” for the sixth year in a row. The team won first place in Best Lifestyle Feature for Duggins’ story “How much is three years on death row worth?” Former ATC host MacKenzie Bates was recognized for best specialized reporter for his coverage of Alabama sports. APR also took both first place and honorable mentions in both the best documentary category and in best series, and Alex AuBuchon received an honorable mention for his continuing coverage of the trial of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. The first place series prize was for “Tuscaloosa Fifth Year Tornado Anniversary.”

“The first piece (of the tornado series) is quite exceptional, which continues throughout,” said the AP judging panel. “Very good use of sound bites.”

APR interns Katie Willem and Allison Mollenkamp won AP awards for best student news features. This is the second year where APR interns swept these awards. University of Alabama students are mentored by APR’s news team. They get the chance to enterprise news stories, conduct interviews, write copy, and hear their work air statewide.

“Not only am I proud of our current interns, but our former APR interns who also won professional AP awards,” says Duggins. “Tyra Jackson of the Opelika-Auburn News won for best business story, and David Kumbroch of WHNT-TV won for best documentary.”

The New York Festivals International Radio competition named APR winner of its Bronze Radio Award for “Legacy of the Storm.” APR competed against networks and large market stations from Austria, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, The United Kingdom, and the United States to take the Bronze. APR also dominated the best documentary category in SPJ’s “Green Eyeshade” awards which recognize outstanding journalism in the South. APR won first place for its tornado coverage, and third place for its prison reform series.

“The New York Festival and Green Eyeshade awards are noteworthy because both contests lump network entries together with entries from both large and small markets,” said Duggins. “Alabama Public Radio beat an entry from Atlanta for the Green Eyeshade Awards, and competed against entries from Australia, Austria, Ireland, The United Kingdom, and Hong Kong as well as the United States for the New York Festivals.”

APR also won a second place PRNDI award for its prison reform series to bring this year award total to nineteen.

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