WITF honored with two National Edward R. Murrow Awards

Posted On On: June 22, 2016 Categories Filed Under: Member News

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, June 22, 2016— For the fourth time since 2009, WITF has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) with multiple National Edward R. Murrow Awards. RTDNA has announced WITF’s Ben Allen and Joe Ulrich will receive National Murrows in the Hard News Feature and the Best Use of Sound categories.
The two National Murrows gave WITF the most among radio stations in its market size and tied it with WLRN-FM in Miami, WBUR-FM in Boston and WAMU-FM in Washington, DC, for most among radio stations overall.
“Today’s announcement of two more National Edward R. Murrow Awards is a tribute both to the individuals honored and to the WITF news team as a whole, which has now received 12 such awards since 2007,” said Kathleen Pavelko, WITF’s President & CEO. “WITF is committed to its mission to provide high quality, contextual journalism to the citizens of our region and beyond.”
“Our RTDNA judges tell us the work they reviewed this year is some of the best ever,” said RTDNA Chair Kathy Walker. “Our winners have clearly demonstrated how their commitment to outstanding journalism serves their communities, states and the nation.”
Allen spent much of the past 18 months chronicling the impact of the heroin epidemic in central Pennsylvania, as part of the series, “Real Life | Real Issues: Drugs and Young People.” His profile of the family of Anthony Perez, who died of a heroin overdose at age 23, was honored in the Hard News Feature category. This is Allen’s first National Murrow.
“I’m tremendously honored to have one of my stories selected for this award. I hope this helps raise awareness about the health crisis of a generation even just the slightest bit,” Allen said. I plan to continue to tell these stories, in the hopes that solutions to this crisis can be developed sooner rather than later.”
The other National Murrow award-winning story showcased creative writing and audio production. WITF’s Joe Ulrich found a little levity after traveling to Dushore, Sullivan County to see the community’s outhouse races first-hand and ended up with a truly memorable multimedia story. It was honored in the Best Use of Sound category, giving Ulrich his first National Murrow.
“The honor of receiving a Murrow is icing on the cake for what was such a fun piece to do. Painting a picture with audio is challenging and this particular piece took many hours of editing and critiquing,” Ulrich said. “I had the help of some other great ears in our news department who provided feedback and suggestions.”
WITF’s competed with entries from 13 regions nationwide. The national awards will be presented in October at the RTDNA Awards Dinner in New York. RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism.
“In-depth, factual stories blended with creativity and sensitivity are a benchmark of the WITF news team, ” said WITF’s Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer Cara Williams Fry. “I am very proud to work with such a diverse news team which consistently produces diverse stories.”
WITF’s 12 National Murrows since 2007 are the most of any Pennsylvania public media organization over that span of time. The 2016 awards are the station’s fourth in the Hard News Feature category and first in the Best Use of Audio category.
“Our goal is provide the best public service possible, whether it is shining a spotlight on a serious issue, like opioid addiction, or just telling a story unique to a particular community, like the Outhouse Races in Dushore,” said Tim Lambert, WITF’s Multimedia News Director. “It is a tremendous honor to have our work receive such recognition from our peers across the country. I’m just so proud of Joe and Ben for their efforts.”
Murrow awards are presented at the regional and national level. WITF received six regional Murrow awards this year, which acknowledged work of the highest quality produced by radio, television and online news organizations in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Since 2006, WITF has received 49 RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards — the most of any media organization in Pennsylvania. In the last six years alone, WITF has garnered 37 of those 49 Regional Murrows — a number that is among the top stations in the country in Markets 51 and smaller.
About WITF
WITF is an award-winning, trusted and valued supplier of programs and services that both satisfy and stimulate curiosity for residents and audiences in 19 counties in Central Pennsylvania. With a mission to strengthen our communities by connecting us to each other and to create opportunities for life-long learning, we strive every day to find ways to uniquely engage minds and enrich lives. These programs and services are delivered via WITF TV, WITF 89.5 & 93.3, the Radio PA Network, witf.org, WITF Educational Services, TFM Advertising, Media Solutions and regional magazine Central PA (published in association with The Patriot-News).