WBUR Honored With RTDNA Murrow Awards

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced the winners of the 2019 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards honoring outstanding achievement in broadcast and digital journalism, technical expertise and adherence to RTDNA’s Code of Ethics. A record 4,600 entries were submitted for the competition and more than 720 regional winners were selected for categories such as continuing coverage, investigative reporting, Overall Excellence and more. WBUR is the proud recipient of 10 regional awards, including the prestigious “Overall Excellence” honor. The awards celebrate WBUR’s diverse, groundbreaking programming and innovation. The full list of honors includes:

Excellence in Innovation: Last Seen, a true-crime podcast about the most valuable — and confounding — art heist in history: the theft of 13 irreplaceable artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Hard News: 'It's A Prison. It's Punishing Addicts': Calls To Reform Civil Commitments Increase

Excellence in Sound: How A Sore Wrist And A Fondness For 'Noise' Forever Changed The Way The Violin Is Played

Feature Reporting: How Writing A Lullaby Helps Struggling Mothers-To-Be Bond With Their Babies

Sports Reporting: Dreaming Big: Champion Wheelchair Racer Mentors Next Generation

Continuing Coverage: Recreational Marijuana

News Documentary: 'Martin Luther King Loved This City': Remembering King's Legacy In Boston

Breaking News: Radio Boston, Merrimack Valley Gas Explosion

Newscast: Merrimack Valley gas explosion

Overall Excellence: 90.9FM, the WBUR Listen App, your smart speaker and online at wbur.org

As a regional award winner, WBUR will advance to the national Edward R. Murrow Awards competition. National winners, including Large and Small Digital News Organizations and Network News Organizations, will be announced in June 2019.

About RTDNA 
RTDNA is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, RTDNA’s mission is to promote and protect responsible journalism. RTDNA defends the First Amendment rights of electronic journalists throughout the country, honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards and provides members with training to encourage ethical standards, newsroom leadership and industry innovation Join our community of courageous news leaders and friends of the First Amendment or support our work – and local journalism across the country – with a gift that makes a difference in democracy.

WBUR Announces Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize Winner

WBUR announced today that Hannah Dreier is the winner of the 2019 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. The winning segment was produced at This American Life in partnership with ProPublica, where Dreier serves as an immigration reporter.

Dreier’s winning entry, “The Runaways,” is an hour-long investigative report that documents how the Suffolk County Police Department in New York failed to investigate a series of gang murders when the victims were immigrant teenagers. Days after the story aired on This American Life, the Suffolk County legislature forced the police department to conduct an internal investigation into how it had handled the MS-13 murder cases. “The Runaways” proves that investigative reporting continues to effect change.

“I am impressed with how many talented young journalists there are in public radio and what ambitious stories they have told,” said Robert Siegel, retired host of NPR’s All Things Considered, who served as the prize’s finalist judge. “Hannah Dreier’s ‘The Runaways’ is solid reporting of the most important kind, reporting that holds public officials to account for their incompetence, indifference and hollow self-serving claims of victory.”

Dreier’s work just received a 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. Prior to serving as an immigration reporter at ProPublica, Dreier served as the Associated Press’ Venezuela correspondent for three years. She moved to Caracas amid a bloody nationwide protest movement and told the story of the country’s unraveling from hospitals, ports and food lines. Her Venezuela reporting won the Overseas Press Club Hal Boyle Award, a Gerald Loeb Award, and the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. Her 2016 “Venezuela Undone” series was recognized by the Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Dreier joined the AP in 2012 as a politics reporter in the Sacramento bureau and later covered the business of gambling from Las Vegas. Earlier, she was a metro reporter for the Bay Area News Group, which includes The Mercury News and East Bay Times. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and is fluent in Spanish.

In addition to Siegel, the Schorr Prize judging panel included preliminary judges Christine Chinlund, former Managing Editor for News, The Boston Globe; Katie Colaneri, Assistant News Director, WHYY; Terry Gildea, Executive Director, PRNDI; Sarah Ashworth, Director of News, Vermont Public Radio; Susanna Capelouto, Senior Editor, WABE; Erica Peterson, Director of News and Programming, WFPL.

Dreier will be presented with the prize at the WBUR Gala taking place April 22 at the JFK Library in Boston, Massachusetts. An annual benefit for the public radio station, the gala supports independent news and programming.

The Schorr Prize is named for the late NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr who died in 2010. Schorr was a believer in supporting talented young journalists as they rose through the ranks of public radio. The annual $5,000 Prize — sponsored by WBUR and Boston University, and funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner — salutes a new generation of public radio journalists under the age of 35, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium.

Past Schorr Prize winners include former WLRN reporter Wilson Sayre (2017); former WNYC reporter and now a reporter for NPR’s Planet Money Sarah Gonzalez (2016); WAMU reporter Patrick Madden (2015); WFPL reporter Devin Katayama, now a reporter for KQED, San Francisco (2014); WBEZ producer Becky Vevea (2013); KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); NPR host David Greene (2011); NPR reporter Ailsa Chang (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).

WBUR Proud To Partner With ARTweek

WBUR is proud to be a media sponsor of ArtWeek, a ten-day award-winning spring festival featuring unique and unexpected experiences that are participatory, interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process. Since 2013, ArtWeek has featured nearly 1,000 events involving more than 900 organizations and partners- don't miss your chance to experience it all in 2018 starting on Friday, April 26 and ending Sunday, May 5.

Be sure to visit WBUR's The ARTery website, Boston's home for arts and culture, to keep up with all the latest art news in the community.

Artweek is presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center.

WBUR Launches New Environmental Vertical, Earthwhile

On Earth Day, WBUR has launched Earthwhile, a new vertical dedicated to reporting on local environmental issues with national resonance. Led by award-winning journalist Barbara Moran, Earthwhile will focus on energy, environmental health, ecology and climate change. Earthwhile is funded by The Campaign for WBUR.

“As we continue to see the impact of climate change and environmental policy on our communities, it’s integral to our mission that WBUR inform the public about them,” said WBUR Managing Director of News & Programming Sam Fleming. “The debut of Earthwhile with its full-time reporting staff will enable us to expand our newsroom efforts to cover a wide range of stories related to the environment.”

Senior producing editor Barbara Moran, senior reporter Bruce Gellerman and multi-media reporter Miriam Wasser aim to make environmental issues a larger part of peoples’ conversation, helping listeners connect seemingly disparate issues such as climate change, public health, energy, ecology and infrastructure. The team will kick off with a series of stories discussing nuclear power plants in New England and how they impact the environment as well as the economy. Earthwhile will focus on strong reporting and storytelling, multimedia innovation and public outreach.

“Climate change is the great challenge of our time, and an informed public will be better equipped to make the important decisions that confront us all,” said Moran. “Our job is to reach listeners and readers who might be ‘turned off’ by environmental news, and draw them in with engaging narrative, creative multimedia and stories that haven’t been told before.”

Moran is a science journalist committed to covering issues of public health, environmental justice and the intersection of science and society. She has written for many publications, including the New York Times, New Scientist, Technology Review, Boston Globe Magazine and the Hartford Courant, and has produced television documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel and others. She has twice won the National Association of Science Writer’s highest honor, the Science in Society Award.

Gellerman has received more than 50 journalism awards including the prestigious AAAS Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (twice), Sigma Delta Chi-Society of Professional Journalism award and the American Bar Association award. During his storied career, Gellerman has taught journalism around the world, including in Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Sierre Leone and Uganda. His deep experience includes work in print, television and radio including past roles hosting popular public media programs, Here & Now (in its original one-hour format) and Living On Earth, a weekly environmental news and information program.

Wasser is the newest member of the EarthWhile team. Prior to joining WBUR, she covered energy and the environment as a freelance reporter in Massachusetts and as a staff writer at the Phoenix New Times in Arizona. While in the southwest, she traveled to Fukushima, Japan and Chernobyl Ukraine as part of a six-month project about nuclear power. Wasser has a master’s degree from the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and a bachelor’s in government and international relations from Connecticut College.

The Campaign for WBUR, the organization’s first-ever capital campaign with an unprecedented goal of $40 million, supports three key investment areas: CitySpace, Expanding Journalism for Boston and the Nation, and Ensuring the Future Through Innovation. Specific journalistic endeavors include increased environmental reporting, investigative journalism, arts and culture reporting, education reporting and local newsroom fellowships to hire and train the next generation of public media journalists. The innovation funding supports WBUR’s iLab and BizLab to ensure the sustainability of public radio in today’s ever-evolving media environment. At the heart of the entire Campaign for WBUR is an unrelenting focus on independent journalism.

Find out more about Earthwhile here.

WBUR And BLO Present “The Handmaid’s Aria: How An Iconic Novel Became An Opera”

Author Margaret Atwood and composer Poul Ruders will discuss the opera adaptation of her influential book.

One day before the East Coast premiere of the opera “The Handmaid’s Tale,” WBUR and Boston Lyric Opera bring author Margaret Atwood and composer Poul Ruders to WBUR CitySpace at the Lavine Broadcast Center to discuss the galvanizing 1985 novel, its resurgence in contemporary culture, and its reimagining as a contemporary opera.

“The Handmaid’s Aria: How an Iconic Novel Became an Opera" takes place May 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm at WBUR’s new state-of-the-art multimedia venue at 890 Commonwealth Avenue on the Boston University campus. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 12. Click here to purchase tickets.

Maria Garcia, senior editor of WBUR’s The ARTery, will interview Atwood and Ruders about the connections between her novel and his opera, whose libretto is by Paul Bentley. Recordings of Ruders’ massive, haunting score will be played and discussed, along with piano and vocal selections that underscore the text.

Boston Lyric Opera’s production of "The Handmaid’s Tale" runs May 5-12, 2019. It will be directed by acclaimed theatre and opera director Anne Bogart, and staged at the Lavietes Pavilion, a basketball facility on Harvard’s Allston campus that recalls the “Red Center” of Atwood’s novel. Tickets for "The Handmaid’s Tale" opera are available at blo.org/handmaids or 617-542-6772.

WBUR's Kind World Launches New Season

New podcast episodes drop Tuesdays beginning April 16

Recognizing that the day’s top news stories can leave the audience feeling distraught or stressed, the team behind Kind World seeks to be the antidote. Produced by WBUR Kind World is a podcast and radio series that explores how a single act of kindness can transform a life. New episodes of the award-winning Kind World begin on Tuesday, April 16.

“Kind World is part of WBUR’s commitment to telling stories across the human spectrum,” said WBUR Executive Director for Programming, Podcasts and Special Projects Iris Adler. “These stories reaffirm the belief that there is a lot of good in the world and they reflect the good that takes place throughout our communities.”

Co-hosted by journalists Yasmin Amer and Andrea Asuaje, Kind World brings listeners deeply intimate stories and interviews on-air, online and in your podcast feed. The new season of Kind World will spotlight stories big and small including:

• A Syrian man who becomes stuck at an airport terminal for several months and is finally rescued by a determined stranger.
• A man who says his friends’ kindness prevented him from committing a heinous act of violence
• The mom who volunteers to be a “stand-in mom” at same-sex weddings
• The woman who adopted four children with the same rare genetic disease that she's struggled with all of her life.

The Kind World podcast will drop new episodes every Tuesday for 15 weeks on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. On radio, the stories will air on WBUR’s Morning Edition (5 a.m. – 9 a.m.) in the Boston market on Tuesdays for 8 weeks. Follow the stories on Twitter at @WBURKindWorld.

Kind World has won multiple awards, including a Sigma Delta Chi and a national Edward R. Murrow Award for feature reporting. The series was founded in 2013 as a Tumblr by WBUR’s then digital producer Nate Goldman, who proposed the idea to explore people’s experiences with acts of kindness to WBUR’s iLab, the station’s incubator for new projects.

Endless Thread Podcast Launches New Season With Four-Part Series On Vaccines – And Anti-Vaxxers

WBUR announced today a special four-part series on vaccine innovation, hysteria and the spread of disinformation to kick off the third season of its Endless Thread podcast in collaboration with Reddit. For “Infectious: The Strange Past and Surprising Present of Vaccines — and Anti-Vaxxers,” hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, will explore the weird, winding story of scientific innovation, medical disasters and online virality that radicalized new parents and created a movement that threatens to send us back to the disease-ridden dark ages.

Infectious features on the ground reporting in Clark County, Washington, where Gov. Jay Inslee recently declared a state of emergency in response to a measles outbreak, as well as conversations with Joan Donovan, Director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, and Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Infectious seeks to disentangle fact from fiction around one of the most hotly debated topics in our nation’s history.

“Our series takes a deep dive into the controversy, looking at everything from the early discovery of vaccines and the first anti-vaxxers, to the way the digital age has created new platforms to amplify the opposing voices,” said Iris Adler, Executive Director for Programming, Podcasts and Special Projects at WBUR. “Endless Thread takes podcast listeners way beyond the headlines and reductionist arguments to understand how these opposing forces came to be. This series underscores Endless Thread's unique and powerful storytelling; every episode is its own surprising documentary about everything that's weird, wonderful and disconcerting about the Internet.”

Launching Friday, May 3, the series will include the following episodes:

Episode 1: “Scabs, Pus and Puritans” (Friday, May 3)

The problem with being healthy is you completely forget about what it feels like to be sick. In 2019 many people assume that the history of vaccination is recent history--maybe a few centuries of innovation starting in the late 1700s. The truth is much more convoluted: centuries of ancient customs developing slowly into a cycle of extremes--scientific innovation followed by fear, rejection, and sometimes, violence. In the first episode of our series, we explore this recurring cycle and how it echoes still in the fact-challenged year of 2019.

Episode 2: “The Flintstone Dilemma” (Friday, May 3)

There was a time when the measles were common enough to be a source of comedy on TV shows like The Flintstones. So how did we go from joking about the measles to scary reports on the news about a growing international measles emergency? Anti-vaxxers say it’s a scam, while scientists say it’s the anti-vaxxers. In the second episode of our series, we embark on a search for truth, aided by renowned pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit and prominent anti-vaccine activist Del Bigtree. Along the way, we look at how vaccines actually work, fallout from the swine flu pandemic, and the highly controversial suspected link between vaccines and autism.

Episode 3: “First World Facebook Problems”

You can’t tell the story of today’s anti-vax--or “vaccine hesitant”--movement without telling a story of technology and social media. There have always been members of populations who distrust medicine, but the word-of-mouth spread of that distrust has been brought to a fever pitch by the internet. Online, these communities have only become more insular, self-sustaining, and potent. But here’s a question: even if vaccines have saved millions around the world, can we really blame people whose families have suffered great loss for seeing causation instead of correlation? In the third episode of our series we look at the impact the internet has had on vaccine -hesitant communities, and hear from some of the community’s most well-known voices as well as the people who study the galvanizing power of the internet.

Episode 4: "Anatomy of an Outbreak”

Even considering the winding road of scientific advancement and the new expressway that is the internet, what the heck happened in Clark County? With reporting from the ground in Washington and Oregon, we take our fourth episode of the series to trace the societal pathogens, identify the symptoms, and try to prescribe a solution to what some are calling a “canary in the coal mine” for a near future of eroding herd immunity and increasing threats of outbreak for all kinds of diseases in the U.S.

Episode 5: “The Conversation”

At the end of the day, our species only survives if we can communicate. In our fifth and final episode of the series, we follow a group whose radically simple solution for the current controversy has already started to pay dividends. We also tell the stories of people whose lives have been irrevocably altered by the vaccination controversy, and why some of them are still sticking to their guns.

Following Endless Thread’s Infectious series, the 2019 Webby-nominated podcast will return with new episodes every other Friday through December 2019. The new season will feature stories that surprise, delight and confound listeners – like the story of a large, mysterious pile of plates that turned up in the woods of Pennsylvania or a woman who turned to a widowers community on Reddit after her fiancé died. What she found... wasn’t what she expected. Additionally, we’ll be taking a closer look at Hillsong, the Australian megachurch that’s been called a “money-making machine” and whose finances, views on the LGBT community and celebrity followers have been called into question. Episodes are all told with an insider’s eye on Reddit and the trademark warmth, wit and journalistic integrity that Endless Thread fans have come to expect from the podcast.

“We are thrilled to be partnering on a third season of Endless Thread with WBUR, a news source that continues to provide quality and innovative storytelling to the local Boston community and beyond," says Alexandra Riccomini, Senior Director of Business Development & Media Partnerships at Reddit. “Reddit is a place for passion no matter what your interests are, so we look forward to bringing more of our communities and conversations to life through the podcast."

Endless Thread is a Webby Nominee in the category of Podcasts: Technology and a Webby Honoree for Best Mini Series for “Screamtime: Scary Stories From Reddit.” As a Webby Nominee, Endless Thread has been singled out as one of the five best in the world in these categories.

Click here to learn more about the Endless Thread podcast.

Enter NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest And You Might Get Picked As Our Fave Massachusetts Entry

From WBUR's The ARTery:
When it comes to career-altering gigs, it doesn’t get much bigger than a Tiny Desk Concert. The series, hosted by Bob Boilen of NPR Music, unfolds at the host’s cluttered desk in Washington, D.C. The desk has attracted plenty of celebrities, from Adele to T-Pain to Yo-Yo Ma, but it is best known for boosting emerging acts.
Likewise, the Tiny Desk Contest, which debuted in 2015, seeks to highlight undiscovered talent from across the nation. Any unsigned artist with an original song and a video camera can enter. The winner gets to perform in the Tiny Desk Concert series — a major coup for an independent musician.
Last year, 158 artists from Massachusetts entered NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest. In recognition of all that homegrown talent, we decided to convene our own judging panel to choose our favorite Massachusetts entry. Our judges were musicians, journalists and educators with close ties to the Boston music scene and a diverse set of tastes. (I was also on the panel.) We weighed artists' performance, technical excellence and originality, but most importantly we considered the strength of their songwriting. In the end, we chose "1978" by Anjimile, a Boston-based singer-songwriter with an exquisite sense of melody and an intimate style.
This year, we’ll be doing the same.
Every Massachusetts entry to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest will be eligible to be chosen as our panel’s favorite. The national contest is open through Sunday, April 14, so make sure to submit your video before then! (Here's the link to submit.) Even if it doesn’t win the Tiny Desk Contest, your song could grab the attention of our panel of judges. We’ll be featuring some of the standout entries on The ARTery, and the panel’s favorite will be profiled as part of our Up Next series on emerging local musicians.
So, if you’re thinking of throwing your hat in the ring, do it. We know you’ll do Massachusetts proud.

The ARTery 25

The ARTery 25, a celebration of millennials of color in the Boston arts and culture scene hit CitySpace last night.

The event was the culmination of a weeklong online and on-air editorial series that highlighted the stories of 25 artists, programmers, curators and arts administrators shaping the creative and cultural landscape in Boston.

Guests met and mingled with the honorees over dinner and cocktails, enjoyed live musical performances from Billy Dean Thomas and Anjimile and got down to the tunes of DJ Rilla Force.