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WVPB News Team Earns Four National Public Media Awards

Screen Shot 2021-06-25 at 10.46.09 AM.png
PMJA awards recognize the best work in public media journalism from across the country. WVPB just won four of them.

Members of the West Virginia Public Broadcasting news team have earned first- and second-place awards from the Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA) for stories done in 2020.

PMJA awards recognize the best work in public media journalism from across the country. The organization presented 203 awards to 88 stations nationwide during its 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony. WVPB earned four of those in Division A (8-15 reporters). Stations compete against others with similar-sized newsrooms. Overall, judges reviewed nearly 1,300 entries.

Chuck Roberts, WVPB's executive director, said that when you consider what the winning stories were about — 'Country Roads,' Upper Big Branch, Bluefield City Police and the state's opioid grandfamily crisis — it's not surprising the PMJA judges recognized the value of our stories to the public.

"Once again, our news team, which works hard to tell the stories of our state, has been recognized by a national organization for its good work," Roberts said. "Congratulations to those reporters who won, and to all the others who continue to dig in and tell stories important to the Mountain State and Appalachia, thank you.

"Very little happens in a vacuum at WVPB. We pull together — from production to editing, grants and underwriting to marketing and digital, programming to membership and development — to serve West Virginians. Even our education team takes interesting news content and transforms it to classroom content. Thanks to all of our employees and our generous supporters as well," Roberts added.

Andrea Billups, WVPB’s news director, is proud of the news team. "After a tough year and many challenges, these awards highlight the commitment to excellence of our news staff. Our work here is mission-driven, and our reporters have embraced that ethic, aspiring to the highest standards of journalism.

"We are grateful for these honors, but we hope everyone knows that the reporting we do is always in service to the people who live in this unique state. We gratefully appreciate their enduring support of our efforts," Billups said.

Winning entries include:

john denver sings country roads
Bill Danoff
Taffy Nivert and John Denver play “Country Roads” at the Cellar Door in Washington D.C., in December 1970. It was one of the first times the song was performed in public. This story has won a first-place award from Public Media Journalists Association.

Feature, First Place, "Did West Virginia Inspire 'Country Roads?’ 50 Years Later, Here's What We Know," Inside Appalachia, Roxy Todd, producer

A photo of Robert Ellison, who sued the city of Bluefield in 1999 prompting city leaders to create one of the state's only groups for civilian oversight of local police.
Lynn Ellison
Robert Ellison sued the city of Bluefield in 1999 prompting city leaders to create one of the state's only groups for civilian oversight of local police. WVPB's story on this situation has won a national Public Media Journalists Association Award.

Short Documentary, First Place, "In Bluefield, City Leaders Address Broken Promise To Hold Police Accountable," Emily Allen, reporter

A graphic for the story The Legacy Of The Upper Big Branch Disaster
Lalena Price
Us & Them host Trey Kay's story "The Legacy Of The Upper Big Branch Disaster" has won a second-place award from the Public Media Journalists Association.

Arts Feature, Second Place, "The Legacy Of The Upper Big Branch Disaster," Us & Them, Trey Kay, host

grandfamilies
Lalena Price
Us & Them host Trey Kay has won a second-place award from the Public Media Journalists Association for his story, "Grandfamilies Of The Opioid Crisis."

Long Documentary, Second Place, "Grandfamilies Of The Opioid Crisis," Us & Them, Trey Kay, host.


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