APR News presented with the national Edward R. Murrow journalism award
APR news director Pat Duggins, and University of Alabama’s Digital Media Center General Manager Dr. Michael Bruce, represented the news team in New York City during the Edward R. Murrow Awards gala.
APR was recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association with Best News Series, Small Market Radio, for “No Stone Unturned: Preserving Slave Cemeteries in Alabama.”The program focuses on the challenges Alabama families, descended from kidnapped Africans, often face in tracing their personal histories. The U.S. Census didn’t recognize freed blacks as people until 1870. Before that, genealogists have to use evidence like bills of sale to trace ancestry.
“…winning a Murrow award means that you are the stewards of his commitment, honesty, truth and keeping the public informed,” said CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Weijia Jiang during the online ceremony to announce the Murrow winners, including Alabama Public Radio.
“This award is really personal to me because I was honored with a Murrow award when I was a general assignment reporter in Salisbury, Maryland at the time,” said Jiang. “I was like many of you, paving my way in journalism reporting on local and regional issues and their national implications.”
The APR newsroom was honored alongside CBS Sunday Morning, which won for Best Innovation for the feature “Oceans Give, Oceans Take." CBS News as also recognized for its coverage of the overturning of Roe Versus Wade, for “Best Breaking News.” ABC-TV’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” won for “Best Newscast” for the network’s focus, also on the conflict in Ukraine.
“Not only do you get to take home a lovely piece of carved glass to commemorate this occasion, but you should know that you were doing some of the finest work in journalism today,” said NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel. He took part in the same online announcement of this year’s Murrow winners as Jiang of CBS News. Engel is currently reporting for NBC from the war zone between Israel and Hamas. His comments to the Murrow winners focused on how the world of journalism is changing.
“First, there was the dawn of the internet. Then there was the rise of social media, and now there is AI and machine learning,” Engel observed. “But each time there was no substitute for on the ground reporting. There was no substitute for verifying sources and facts. Personally, no substitute for frontline journalism, frankly, no substitute for good journalism.”
One added surprise from the Murrow awards gala came in the form of a visit from University of Alabama graduate David Kumbroch. Part of Alabama Public Radio’s mission at UA is mentoring journalism students. Kumbroch worked in the APR newsroom as an intern. Our graduates currently work for media companies in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, etc. Kumbroch stopped to chat about his work as the Director of Science Communication for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.