WGCU wins Regional Murrow Awards

The Radio Television Digital News Association announced winners of its annual Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards competition for broadcast news on Thursday, May 6, 2021. The WGCU news team won two Regional Murrow Awards.WGCU, along with the Naples Daily News and The News-Press, was recognized for Excellence in Innovation for our collaboration, the Coronavirus Town Hall series.  

The virtual town halls included:
100 Days of Coronavirus, June 2020, featured experts discussing health challenges, what’s next for education, the future of the restaurant industry and the impact this pandemic has had on the residents of Southwest Florida.
SWFL Open for Business, July 2020, asked, was it worth it to reopen when we did? We talked with economists, business owners, and local leaders about whether the phased reopening in June paid off.
Back to School, August 2020, examined the reasoning behind scheduling schools to open for face-to-face and/or online education for fall 2020. Masks? Social distancing? Temperature monitoring? What was a school year going to look like?
Under Pressure, December 2020, featured local people experiencing mental health symptoms as well as experts on coping measures and where to get help.  

Moderators for the series were WGCU News Director Julie Glenn and The News-Press/Naples Daily News Southwest Florida Audience Development Director Mark Bickel.

The community was invited to participate by submitting questions in advance of each town hall and watching on WGCU, News-Press and Naples Daily News Facebook pages and websites.  

“In a year when we were wall-to-wall with news, there was no shortage of high-caliber coverage, so to have won two awards this year is quite the accomplishment,” said Glenn of WGCU. “I’m especially proud that our team brought home the ‘Excellence in Innovation’ prize for the second year in a row.  It shows that we are not simply covering the same stories in the same ways, but that we strive to meet and serve our audience where they are, bringing fact-based reporting every day of any year.”  

“What a fantastic collaboration this was for WGCU and The News-Press/Naples Daily News,” said Bickel. “I think we really touched a nerve in the Southwest Florida community with these timely town halls tied to the pandemic. We provided essential information and connected with leaders and experts who helped us navigate through this public health crisis. A true public service and something we should all be proud of.”  

For more information about the town hall series, go to www.wgcu.org/swfl  

WGCU also earned a Regional Murrow award in Feature Reporting, forBlack Cattle Rancher Family to Be Honored in Immokalee,” by Andrea Perdomo, March 12, 2020. The 500-year-old Florida cattle industry long overlooked its Black ranchers. An exhibit at the Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch highlighted Huey P. Howard and his family, who have cattle on about 7,000 acres in Southwest Florida.   

Perdomo was a reporter for WGCU until later in 2020, when she moved on to reporting for public media station WLRN in south Florida.  To read and hear the award-winning story, go to news.wgcu.org/news/2020-03-12/black-cattle-rancher-family-to-be-honored-in-immokalee

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

Author: Dayna Harpster