The 2018 PRNDI Conference ended on a very high note, with an awards ceremony recognizing and celebrating the work of reporting, editing, anchoring and producing at local public media radio stations across the U.S. Covering the outstanding efforts of 2017, more than 190 awards were presented for categories including Breaking News, Call-in Programs, Documentaries, Interviews, and News Features.
The first award of the night went to Carol Smith from KUOW in Seattle, Washington for Editor of the Year. The Editor of the Year Award is nomination-based, recognizing excellence in editorial work in the public radio system. She was presented with an audio message from her fellow colleagues at KUOW congratulating her on the achievement.
PRNDI presented the “Leo C. Lee Award” to Keith Woods, Vice President of Newsroom Training and Diversity at NPR. The Leo C. Lee Award recognizes lasting commitment to public radio journalism. Woods gave a powerful acceptance speech about the importance of creating more diverse newsrooms.
“Our diversity in public radio has a lot of good intention and some serious backsliding,” said Woods.
But, he said, there is a simple solution that can be broken down into four words: hire more diverse talent. He added diverse newsrooms can provide new life experiences, language skills, perspective, and the talent needed in public radio to win awards like the ones presented this year.
Woods said creating more diverse newsrooms is like training for a marathon -- it requires sacrifice and taking the time to explain to your colleagues the difference between “Hiring for diversity and making a diversity hire.”
Just like a marathon, Woods said we as journalists are in a “grueling, unforgiving race for relevance” and we need to take more action in creating diversity, rather than just talking about it.
And instead of just talking about training for his big race on October 6th, Woods said he will stop making excuses and letting distractions get in his way.
“I will be in the best shape of my life by October 6th. Hold me accountable. What are you going to do? Hire somebody? Add some beats? Train staff? Tell me what you did,” he said.
“We’ll learn and grow together. The training will have new meaning and we in public radio will be in the best shape of our lives.”
PRNDI awards is the only national contest recognizing outstanding public radio news reporting at local stations.
We’ll see you next year in Washington, D.C.!
The entire list of awards is available HERE.