WBUR announced today that Nate Hegyi is the winner of the 2020 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. The winning podcast was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a consortium of NPR member stations covering the region where he serves as a reporter.
The Schorr Prize is named for the late NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr. Schorr believed 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 aged 35 or younger, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium.
The winning entry, Across The Great Divide: A Reporter, A Bicycle & 800 Miles Listening To Small Town America, explores the ever-changing face of the Mountain West. Hegyi rode his bike — spandex included — all over Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado during the summer of 2020 to examine the West's strong culture, political and otherwise. The Mountain West is home to a quarter of the nation’s news deserts and, like much of the country in 2020, was enduring high unemployment, a surge in COVID–19 cases, and reckoning with a history of racism and police violence. The series occurred in the middle of the presidential campaign, and understanding loyalty to Donald Trump, who won most western states by wide margins, was a critical starting point. Across the Great Divide evolved to examine the changes that come with new populations moving into the mountain west, often from each coast, bringing different cultures and ways of life.
There were so many impressive entries to the Schorr Prize this year with subjects spanning the recent history of Fukushima, police brutality in America, political power grabs and those affected by development in a major U.S. city (Pittsburgh).Sam Fleming, former WBUR Managing Director of News and Programming
"There were so many impressive entries to the Schorr Prize this year with subjects spanning the recent history of Fukushima, police brutality in America, political power grabs and those affected by development in a major U.S. city (Pittsburgh)," said Sam Fleming, former WBUR Managing Director of News and Programming, who served as the Prize’s finalist judge. “All the entries had through lines about changing cultures seen through the lives of the characters portrayed. Nate’s entry exemplified this. He offered wonderful and varied scenes – juxtaposing different cultures in conflict with smart analysis and context. The series felt naturally authentic and nuanced while documenting the profound changes occurring out west. Nate made listeners feel like they were with him for his adventure.”
Hegyi is the rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, which includes KUNC, KUNR, Wyoming Public Media, KBSX (Boise State Public Radio) and KUNM. He covers small towns and rural communities, reservations and public land management agencies throughout the region. Before joining the Mountain West News Bureau, Hegyi worked at Yellowstone Public Radio, Montana Public Radio, and was an intern with NPR’s Morning Edition. He received a master’s in journalism from the University of Montana.
WBUR received 61 entries from 24 states plus the District of Columbia. In addition to Fleming, the Schorr Prize judging panel included preliminary judges Gigi Douban, News Director, Public Radio WBHM (Birmingham, AL); Elizabeth Arnold, Professor of Journalism, University of Alaska and former Correspondent, NPR; Terence Shepherd, News Director WLRN (Miami, FL); Blake Farmer, Senior Healthcare Reporter, WPLN (Nashville, TN); Annette John-Hall, Producer, WHYY (Philadelphia, PA); Sarah Gonzalez, Host and Reporter, Planet Money; Adrian Ma, Reporter, WBUR; and Maria Garcia, Managing Editor, WBUR.
Hegyi will be presented with the prize at WBUR’s annual gala on April 27, 2021. To listen to the series, click here.
Past Schorr Prize winners include former Montana Public Radio Host, Producer and Reporter Nora Saks (2019); Washington Post Reporter and former ProPublica Reporter Hannah Dreier (2018); Capitol Broadcasting Company Podcast Network Executive Producer and former WLRN Reporter Wilson Sayre (2017); Host and Reporter of NPR’s Planet Money and former WNYC Reporter Sarah Gonzalez (2016); WWNO Regional News Director and former WAMU Reporter Patrick Madden (2015); KQED Reporter and former WFPL Reporter Devin Katayama (2014); WBEZ Producer Becky Vevea (2013); CPR Reporter and former KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); former NPR host David Greene (2011); NPR’s All Things Considered Host and former NPR Reporter Ailsa Chang (2010); former NPR Planet Money Reporter Chana Joffe-Walt (2009); How I Built This host and former NPR Defense Correspondent Guy Raz (2008); and NPR Investigative Correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).