Vermont Public Radio stories about immigrants seeking asylum in Canada and the increase in millennial farmers in Vermont, a podcast about the history of Vermont’s whiteness and VPR’s digital news content have won four 2018 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.
The annual awards are sponsored by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. Regional Murrow Awards are presented to small and large radio, television and digital outlets based in 14 geographic regions across the U.S.; VPR resides in Region 10, encompassing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Each month, the podcast Brave Little State answers a question submitted by a listener and voted on by the community. The winning piece took on the question: “Why is Vermont so overwhelmingly white?” The podcast delved into the history of Vermont’s whiteness and stories from people of color about what it’s like to live in Vermont. The episode resulted in thousands of downloads since it was released, and was featured on NPR One and the New England News Collaborative weekly program Next.
FOR MORE — "Why Is Vermont So Overwhelmingly White?”
2017 brought a surge of illegal crossings into Canada. One crossing area — Roxham Road — became so popular among immigrants seeking asylum that taxi drivers in Champlain, New York, all knew it by name. VPR visited the scene and told the story of one woman’s voluntary arrest as she crossed the border into Canada with her infant child and was immediately taken into custody by the Canadian police.
Farming in Vermont is approaching a crossroads: The current generation of American farmers is nearing retirement. But for some young people looking to follow in those footsteps, financial barriers make a future in the field less affordable. VPR spent some time with a couple of young farmers as part of our “A Shifting Landscape” series on the future of Vermont farming.
2017 was VPR's biggest year for total sessions and visitors: totaling over 475,000 sessions and 210,000 average monthly visitors to VPR.net and apps, as well as the biggest year for streaming hours and visitors. The winning content included Nina Keck's reporting and photography from a refugee camp in Jordan, and VPR's Gunshots project on gun deaths in Vermont.
“The recognition of four regional Edward R. Murrow awards helps mark and support VPR's commitment to journalism,” said Sarah Ashworth, who joined VPR as news director in March. “It's a newsroom I'm excited to join and help lead into the coming years. We continue to add beats and think about new ways to share stories and reach a broader audience. That's reflected in particular in the awards for our website and for an episode of our podcast, Brave Little State.”
Regional winners are automatically considered for awards in the National Edward R. Murrow Awards competition, which will be announced later this year.