By PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, Wash. (July 7, 2015)—KPLU, an NPR-affiliated news and jazz station owned by Pacific Lutheran University, announced today that it earned four national and three regional news awards for work produced in 2014:
2015 PRNDI Awards (Public Radio News Directors, Inc.)
The PRNDI Awards recognize the best of local public-radio news in a wide array of categories. KPLU collected four awards amid stiff competition, with more than 1,100 entries submitted by public radio newsrooms across the country. This year, 130 awards were handed out to public radio newsrooms on June 27 at PRNDI’s annual conference in Salt Lake City. KPLU competes in Division A, against the largest and most established stations in the system.
- In the Spot News category, KPLU Law & Justice reporter Paula Wissel won first place for “At Makeshift Memorial, School Shooter Remembered Alongside Victims,” about the outpouring of condolences left at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the wake of the deadly shooting there in October 2014.
- Second place went to KPLU Education reporter Kyle Stokes for his story about a survivor of the March 2014 Oso landslide: “Slide Survivor Haunted By Memories Of ‘Horrible, Rumbling, Wet’ Sound, Guilt.” (After Stokes won second place and just prior to announcing Wissel’s first-place win, emcee Robert Smith of NPR’s Planet Money team quipped that the only station good enough to beat KPLU in this category was … KPLU.)
- First place in the Newscast category went to KPLU Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick and then-producer Ed Ronco (now KPLU’s All Things Considered host). Before playing an excerpt, Smith told the assembled public radio glitterati, “Listen to how it’s done.” That newscast included stories from Stokes and KPLU Business & Labor reporter Ashley Gross.
- Gabriel Spitzer—KPLU Assistant News Director; Health & Science reporter; and host of KPLU’s Saturday-morning news and culture program, Sound Effect—won second place in the Nationally Edited Soft Feature category for “For Those Unable To Talk, A Machine That Speaks Their Voice.” The February 2014 story profiled a Kent, Washington, man with Lou Gehrig’s disease who’s recording his own voice to use later when he can no longer talk on his own.
2014 SPJ NORTHWEST EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM CONTEST (Society of Professional Journalists)
The annual contest honors the very best in journalism in SPJ’s Region 10, which includes Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. KPLU won three awards:
- In the Daily Print and Online Newspapers-Small, Staff of 15 or Less division/Arts & Lifestyles category, first place was awarded to Wissel, KPLU Director of Digital Media and Technology Justin Steyer and former KPLU Online Managing Editor Martha Kang for their April 2014 story, “How Meditation is Changing Monroe’s Maximum Security Inmates.” The story about a meditation class at the Monroe Correctional Complex also garnered Kang a third-place win in the Long Feature Story category.
- In the Radio division, KPLU Environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp took second place in the General News Reporting category for her February 2014 story, “With Second Dam Nearly Gone, New Era Blossoming on the Elwha River,” about how the demolition of two hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River is radically changing the landscape near Port Angeles.
Earlier this year, Spitzer won a 2015 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) for excellence in electronic journalism for his May 2014 story, “How One Woman Learned to Face Cancer from Her 3-Year-Old Hospital Roommate.”