Devin Katayama of NPR member station WFPL, Louisville Selected Winner
(Boston) Jan. 13, 2015 — Boston’s NPR news station, 90.9 WBUR, has announced producer Devin Katayama of NPR member station, WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky, as the winner of the annual Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Now in its 13th year, the prize is named for the respected NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr, who died in 2010.
The $5,000 Schorr Prize, funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner, salutes a new generation of public radio journalists 35 years old and under, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium. Original work completed by June 30, 2014, was eligible for the 2014 Schorr Prize competition.
Katayama’s winning entry, “At Risk,” is a memorable hour-long exploration of the fragile prospects for children in Louisville living amid poverty, drug use, depression, anger and dysfunction – and the local and state social services professionals who struggle to help them find pathways to achievement through a labyrinth of support systems. The series was the capstone of “Next Louisville,” a project focusing on education issues in the city of Louisville.
“It was unlike anything WFPL had ever produced before,” Katayama said. “The community response was overwhelming…‘At Risk’ isn’t over. The children still face these challenges. The school system – like most large urban areas – is still trying to solve some of these puzzles. And we are continuing to follow their progress.”
Kevin Klose, the former president of NPR and former Washington Post correspondent in Moscow, served as the finalist judge for this year’s award.
“In my long experience in news, this is surely the most impressive group of finalists for a competitive journalism prize I have ever encountered,” said Klose. “Each has unique strengths of conception and production; all are to be commended for their superb work.”
Katayama will be presented with the award at the WBUR Gala taking place Monday, May 18, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. An annual benefit for the public radio station, the gala is expected to raise more than $500,000 in support for independent news and programming.
Prior to joining WFPL, Katayama was a Follet Fellow at Columbia College in Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism. He won the Studs Terkel Community Media Workshop Scholarship award for his story on Chicago’s homeless and street youth. Katayama has worked with WBEZ Chicago Public Media’s “Worldview” program and with Northern California KQED’s “California Report.”
Since 2002, WBUR and Boston University have honored legendary journalist Daniel Schorr by awarding the Schorr Prize to a rising reporter age 35 or younger, whose accomplishments in public radio contribute to Schorr’s legacy. Recent past recipients include WBEZ producer Becky Vevea (2013); KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); NPR host David Greene (2011); Ailsa Chang, now a reporter for NPR (2010); reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, who covers global economics for NPR’s multimedia project “Planet Money” (2009); former NPR defense correspondent Guy Raz, now the host of the “TED Radio Hour” (2008); and NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).
Public radio journalists from around the world competed for this prestigious recognition. Schorr often said he was honored to have this prize bear his name, as he believed strongly in supporting talented journalists as they rose through the ranks of the broadcast industry, and particularly those who found a calling in public radio.
In addition to Klose, this year’s distinguished panel of Schorr Prize judges included:
- Mary Louise Kelly, NPR guest host
- Ellin O’Leary, president and chief content officer of Youth Radio
- BJ Roche, senior lecturer in journalism at UMass-Amherst
- JJ Yore, general manager of WAMU
Listen to Katayama’s award-winning entry, “At Risk,” online here: http://atrisk.wfpl.org/