WILL Pressroom

Illinois Public Media wins three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

 

Illinois Public Media has won three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for Illinois Newsroom’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and overall coverage of Illinois people and issues.

“We’re thrilled to be honored with three Regional Edward R. Murrow awards this year— widely considered the most prestigious awards given in local journalism,” said Moss Bresnahan, CEO of Illinois Public Media. “It is a testament to how our team stepped up its commitment to trusted local journalism in 2020, in a time when other newsrooms were shrinking in the face of a pandemic and budget cuts.”

 

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has honored Illinois Public Media with awards for excellence in “Continuing Coverage” of the University of Illinois COVID-19 testing program; in “Digital” for both the website and multimedia approach to reporting; and in “Hard News” for an in-depth feature story on one family’s struggles with food insecurity during a pandemic.

“This is a proud moment for the news team at Illinois Public Media,” said Reginald Hardwick, news and public affairs director at Illinois Public Media. “Our mission is to inform and engage people in Illinois through high quality journalism. Our reporters focused on the personal stories of the pandemic as well as the mounting statistics.”

Illinois Newsroom Agricultural Reporter Dana Cronin reported on the growing food insecurity issues across Illinois in partnership with Harvest Public Media. “No Wiggle Room” shared the many ways a mother struggling with the slowing economy due to COVID-19 found ways to feed her family. The story aired nationally on NPR during a Weekend All Things Considered program focused on food insecurity issues around America.

Also related to the newsroom’s ongoing coronavirus coverage, Illinois Newsroom Health Reporter Christine Herman and former Illinois Newsroom Education Reporter Lee V. Gaines tracked the University of Illinois COVID-19 saliva testing program, from creation to roll out to possible FDA approval for emergency use. Some of these reports were heard nationally on NPR.

IllinoisNewsroom.org was also recognized for excellence in digital news.

“Central Illinoisans counted on our IllinoisNewsrom.org to share important information on everything from in-depth interviews with congressional candidates to why farm equipment is problematic for women farmers,” said Hardwick.

On January 24, 2020, Illinois became the second state in the country with a diagnosed case of COVID-19. The news site immediately began a digital information center with updated resources and personal stories about the sacrifices made by families, parents, and migrant workers to guard against the pandemic.

As the country grappled with racial injustice, lllinoisNewsroom.org served as a forum for discussions on race and justice, including a panel discussion with local mayors, law enforcement, and Black Lives Matter activists about the role of policing. And in the ramp up to the 2020 Election, the site hosted an ambitious Voter’s Guide that included videos of local county clerks answering Frequently Asked Questions about mail-in-voting information, in-depth interviews with candidates in the two congressional districts, and embedded real time results on Election Day.

“Every day, our teams work their hardest to arm Central Illinois with trustworthy news. It’s also extraordinary that our teams reported mostly from home and occasionally in the field without contracting COVID-19,” Hardwick continued.

Illinois Newsroom is powered by Illinois Public Media/WILL and provides news about Illinois as well as in-depth reporting on agriculture, education, the environment, health, and politics.

Each of the three entries will advance to the National Murrow Award competition.