Chicago Public Media’s This American Life, WBEZ 91.5 FM and Eight Forty-Eight were honored this month by the Journalism Center on Children & Families, a nonprofit program of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, and by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), a non-profit professional association that exists to improve local news and information programming by serving public radio journalists.
The Journalism Center on Children & Families annually bestows the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, honoring distinguished coverage of disadvantaged children, youth and families. Each year, PRNDI recognizes the best of local public radio news at their annual conference awards banquet.
2010 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism Awardees:
Winner, Multimedia: “Fifty-fifty: The odds of graduating,” WBEZ-FM/Chicago Public Radio, Linda Lutton (education reporter), Natalie Moore (South Side bureau reporter), Julia McEvoy (senior news desk editor) and Sally Eisele (managing editor).
- “This investigation into a South Side Chicago high school that graduates only 40 percent of its students is thorough, brave and full of impact. The WBEZ team deemed it essential not merely to report the story from a distance as is often done with at-risk communities but to actually embed themselves within their sources. The broad use of multimedia makes it difficult to imagine a closer or more focused look into the heart of this story. The project led officials from Chicago Public Schools, the city’s juvenile justice system and even performer Kanye West to direct attention and resources to the students at Paul Robeson High.”
Winner, Audio: "Tom Girls," This American Life, Mary Beth Kirchner (producer), Rebecca Weiker (associate producer), Ira Glass (executive producer and host) and Nancy Updike (producer).
- “Various media outlets have covered transgender children in recent years, but not with as much deftness and tenderness. The reporters simply allow 8-year-olds Thomasina and Lilly to tell their own stories – absent are the voices of experts – and the intimate, honest approach endears them to the listener. It’s the parents of these young children who explain the heartbreaking cruelty posed by peers, a rejecting father and the ignorance of well-meaning friends. “Tom Girls” tells a story that is quite specific, but can be mapped against the struggles of every parent with a special needs child: Am I helping or hurting with this accommodation?”
Runner-up, Audio: “Where They Are, Why They’re Gone: Three 9th grade dropouts," WBEZ-FM/Chicago Public Radio, Linda Lutton (education reporter), Carlos Javier Ortiz (photographer) and Sally Eisele (managing editor).
- “Beautiful and succinct, this year-long series brings listeners inside one Chicago school’s struggle to keep ninth-graders on track to graduate. The story unfolds like a mystery as Lutton searches for clues, tracks down witnesses and finally uncovers the truth about three students who stopped attending classes at Paul Robeson High. It asks, How many thousands of students stay out of school simply because no one comes looking for them?”
2010 PRNDI Awardees:
1st place, Series: “Fifty-Fifty, the Odds of Graduating.” An award for the entire production team for the project, including senior news desk editor Julia McEvoy, education reporter Linda Lutton, South Side bureau reporter Natalie Moore, editor Aurora Aguilar and many others who helped contribute to this work.
1st place, Public Affairs Program: Eight Forty-Eight. Host Richard Steele, editor Aurora Aguilar, producer Kristin Moo, director Jason Marck, producer Joe DeCeault and the entire Fifty-Fifty team collaborated to create this work. This is an award for the broadcast hosted by Richard Steele at Robeson High School bringing teachers, students, administrators and parents together in a discussion about the drop-out problem and solutions.
Sarahlynn Pablo: office 312.893.2991 mobile 773.606.6520