Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Rural journalism well represented in SPJ's Sigma Delta Chi Awards for work in 2016

The Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism in 2016 include several stories with rural resonance. Judges chose the winners from entries in categories covering print, radio, television and online.

Jonathan D. Austin, a reporter for the Virgin Islands Daily News, won in Public Service Journalism for circulation 50,000 and under for his investigation into government officials refusing to account for expenses to a meeting in Seattle. Austin and his wife Susan won the 2012 Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism, given by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, publisher of The Rural Blog.

Howard Berkes, Robert Little, Nicole Beemsterboer and Benny Becker, of Ohio Valley ReSource and National Public Radio, won for investigative reporting (1-100 market or network syndication) for their report, “Advanced Black Lung Cases Surge in Appalachia."

Sarah Butrymowicz and Jackie Mader of The Hechinger Report won for Investigative Reporting for circulations 50,000 and under for their five-part series “Mississippi Child Care Crisis.”

Jonathan Austin
Pat Duggins, Stan Ingold, Alex Aubuchon and MacKenzie Bates of Alabama Public Radio won for their series "... And Justice for All" in which they spent six months researching and producing a series on justice and prison reform. They won for Documentaries (101+ Market).

North Country Public Radio's David Sommerstein, Lauren Rosenthal, Brit Hanson and Martha Foley won for public service in radio journalism (101+ markets) for their series, “Small Town Justice: The Nick Hillary Trial,” that investigated the murder of a 12-year-old in New York and the methods used by police to arrest a man, who was later found not guilty, for the murder.

The Associated Press was named best Specialized Journalism Site for "Divided America," which examined the U.S. through arenas such as immigrants, the Latino vote, religion, refugees and the dwindling power of white men.

StateImpact Pennsylvania's Marie Cusick, Ian Sterling, Tom Downing and Tim Lambert won for Audio Slide Show for "After the Boom," which examined the impact of natural gas in rural Towanda, Pa.

Madeleine Baran, Samara Freemark, Natalie Jablonski and Catherine Winter of APM Reports won for Digital Audio for "In the Dark," an investigation into a child abduction in rural Minnesota that has remained unsolved for nearly 30 years.

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