WFSU News wins regional Murrow Awards

WFSU-FM is pleased to announce its news team has won two of broadcast journalism’s highest awards.

Reporter Nick Evans’ regional Murrow came for his dedication to sports reporting. During the fall, Evans decided to step outside the main football event — and take a look at the organizations that contribute to the atmosphere of the big game. His feature on one of those groups, the Florida State University cheerleaders, earned Evans a Best Sports award. His profile on the cheerleaders highlighted the strength and agility and rigorous practice schedule leading up to game day.

“Everyone talked about the physical demands of college sports. But often overlook the sacrifices made by other groups, like cheerleaders, dance teams and school bands. I was hoping to show there’s more to football, than just the team itself,” Evans said.

The news team’s second regional Murrow comes in the recognition of News Director Lynn Hatter’s witty writing style. While reporting about several environmental issues affecting South Florida, Hatter went down to Key West. She quickly found out the islands are home to several invasive species—and not all were of the “exotic variety.” Everywhere she went, there was a chicken—and Key West residents were largely split on their opinions about the bird. Hatter was awoken one morning by a chicken crowing right outside her hotel room, “and that’s when I knew I had to cover this,” she said.

“Out of all the environmental issues facing Florida, from sea level rise, to concerns about pollution and oil drilling, it just so happened the chicken was the issue I found to be the most controversial in the Keys,” Hatter said. “I was struck by how the chicken has blended into the daily life of Keys residents, but they generated heated debate—as heard in my story.”

WFSU’s winning stories will now compete in the national Murrow competition. The WFSU Radio news team has won 10 Murrow awards in the last decade, and two last year for its continuing coverage of the now-shuttered Dozier School for boys which had a history of abuse and neglect, and another for the team’s creative use of audio-based storytelling.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971.

Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalists.

In the past three years alone, the WFSU News Team has taken home more than 16 awards from the Florida Association of Broadcasters, The Society of Professional Journalists-Florida Chapter, and the Edward R. Murrow program. It has been recognized for outstanding local, investigative, general government and feature reporting on issues such as attempts to defraud consumers in Affordable Care Act enrollment, the abrupt resignation of former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, to a series on the Tallahassee called, “How’s It Working?”

“Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of the awards is the impact on the day-to-day operation of our newsroom,” said WFSU-FM Program Director for News Tom Flanigan. “When our reporters know that they are capable of producing journalism at this level of excellence, that level tends to become the standard of achievement. It truly does elevate everything we do.”

Every member of the WFSU News Team is an award-winning reporter and the organization’s coverage to local, state and regional issues has made the team an invaluable community asset.

“Certainly we could not be more proud of our news staff for this outstanding recognition,” said WFSU Radio Manager Caroline Austin. “But we are also proud of the daily recognition we receive from our listeners, many of whom regularly call and write to share how valuable our news coverage is to them.”