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Vermont Public Radio 2022 Murrow Awards Submission — Overall Excellence

Audio Rundown

The Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol touches Vermont:

As the world watched the events of the Jan. 6 unfold, Vermont Rep. Peter Welch was among the lawmakers evacuated from the U.S. Congress' House Chamber after pro-Trump extremists breached the Capitol building. He joined VPR's Henry Epp live from a secure location where he was being held with other lawmakers to talk about what he witnessed.
The following day, VPR wanted to make space for our audience to process the events of Jan. 6. Vermont's congressional delegation joined VPR's Mitch Wertlieb as he took calls from listeners across the state.

A bridge, remembered:

While many eyes were looking toward Washington in 2021 for news about infrastructure, in the small town of Troy, in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, a 111-year-old covered bridge burned down. It was the only covered bridge in town, and its loss resonated deeply with residents.
Pandemic workforce shortages:

Many businesses struggling to find staff during the pandemic offered incentives, such as signing bonuses and higher wages, to entice workers. But one general store in Vermont's Upper Valley tried an entirely different strategy. It wasn't about money at all.
COVID-19 death project:

To mark the first year of the pandemic, VPR's Liam Elder-Connors led a project in the newsroom to collect stories about Vermonters who died during from COVID-19.
Reporters combed through more than 200 death certificates, called dozens of people and spent hours on the phone listening to people's stories about their loved ones.

Interview with George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd:

Vermont Edition's Connor Cyrus hosted a conversation with Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother. They reflected on George Floyd’s life, who he was, and what the Floyd family wants his legacy to be.

Slate Ridge investigation:

In southern Vermont, the owner of an unpermitted military training facility, called Slate Ridge, had been terrorizing neighbors. Records obtained by VPR's Peter Hirschfeld and Nina Keck show that state officials believe Slate Ridge, may be violating Vermont environmental laws. Yet authorities have dropped any attempt to enforce them.
VPR spoke with neighbors who live nearby who said that’s been incredibly frustrating and documented an encounter with the owner himself.

Pensions, explained:

Brave Little State is a people-powered podcast from VPR. Twice a month, our journalists answer a listener-submitted question about Vermont. In May 2021, the team set out to answer this question: "What’s going on with state employee and teacher retirement funds in Vermont? Is a career in public service smart for young Vermonters?”

This question became a fast-moving news story, as protests erupted at the Statehouse and lawmakers weighed potential solutions to cover Vermont's multi-billion dollar pension deficit.

Phish for the masses:

To celebrate its 100th episode, Brave Little State took on one of the most quintessential of Vermont things: Phish. The band has deep roots in Vermont, an ice cream flavor, and evokes extremely strong feelings. But in this episode, the team wanted to make the fandom accessible, by answering the question: "Why do people like Phish? And how did they become such a big part of Vermont music culture?"

Local restaurant closure leaves hole in community:

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit 19 months ago, restaurants around the state have pivoted, changed hands, or shut down entirely. And in a small town, the loss of places like these can acutely impact the community.
Such was the case in Northfield, when the decades-old Rustic Restaurant closed its doors. VPR's Anna Van Dine spent time with patrons on one of its last days in business.

Immigration investigation:

Body camera footage of a traffic stop in Newport intensified calls for stronger protections for migrant farmworkers and shed light on what activists characterized as loopholes in the Vermont's current Fair and Impartial Policing policy. VPR also produced a Spanish version of the traffic stop video in the story.
Vermont landlord investigation:

In Vermont's housing landscape, a landlord like Rick Bove should fill an important role. Most of his apartment buildings are newer, built in the last 40 years. They're not fancy, but they're designed to be functional and affordable.
Bove, whose family is better known for their pasta sauce business, is one of the bigger landlords in Vermont. He has more than 400 units across multiple towns. But a joint investigation by VPR and weekly newspaper Seven Days found that Bove frequently neglects routine maintenance, including serious health and safety issues — leaving tenants in substandard housing.

The news organizations also found that regulators have failed to consistently enforce housing standards while Bove continues to receive public subsidies.

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