Vermont Public Radio has won national Edward R. Murrow Awards for a Brave Little State podcast exploring the history of Vermont’s whiteness and a VPR News story about immigrants seeking asylum in Canada.
The Murrow Awards are presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism.
The two national awards follow VPR’s four Regional Edward R. Murrow Award wins earlier this year.
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.
Angela Evancie, the podcast’s host and creator, says the show’s people-powered model, which was pioneered by WBEZ’s Curious City, has opened up a radical new way of reporting:
"This award proves, once again, that taking our cues from our audience is a winning approach. As Brave Little State works each month to make our journalism more inclusive and transparent, our audience takes us places we wouldn't go otherwise — literally and figuratively."
This is Brave Little State’s second National Murrow Award in as many years — and VPR’s third national award for an audience-driven story.
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.
"It's an honor to win in a category like hard news. It shows that the type of journalism that VPR pursues on a daily basis is worth the investment of time and hard work," said VPR News Director Sarah Ashworth. "It's great to have the recognition of an award like a national Murrow for a report that was one of the first in the country to document growing border security issues with Canada. And this story is one that only a Vermont reporter who spent time along the border could find and report on."
The Murrow Awards are the embodiment of the values, principles and standards set forth by Edward R. Murrow, a journalism pioneer who set the standards for the highest quality of broadcast journalism. The Murrow Awards are among the most respected journalism awards in the world.
This year’s Murrow Awards recognize 89 local and network radio, television and digital news organizations for outstanding journalism in 16 categories, from more than 4,400 entries across the country.
You can see the full 2018 results and links to winning pieces here.