A local public radio station was recently honored with a national award for a radio piece about the nature of race relations in an east Texas town.
FM 88.9 KETR, a public station broadcasting from the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce, is the recipient of a national Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. The organization, founded in 1946, “works to protect the rights of broadcast and digital journalists in the courts and legislatures throughout the country, promotes ethical standards in the industry, provides members with training and education and honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards,” according to the organization’s website.
Each year, news organizations from across the country submit their best pieces of work for consideration in several categories. A regional winner is first chosen, with those regional winners then being considered for a national honor, with only one being chosen for each category, this according to KETR General Manager Jerrod Knight.
KETR’s award comes in the News Documentary category for small market stations.
Knight says that while the station has won a regional Murrow award before, this is, to his knowledge, the first time KETR has been given a national-level award from the RTDNA.
“I say with relative certainty that this is our first national Murrow,” Knight said. “The trophy is pretty hard to hide and I haven’t seen one around here before.”
Knight credits the staff of KETR, including News Director Mark Haslett, and Scott Morgan, the author of the piece who no longer works at the station. He said that Haslett had the “experience and gravitas” to properly handle the position and do a lot with a small staff. He commended Morgan’s work and said it was an extension of the station’s philosophy of putting “the focus on telling relevant local stories with the context that public radio provides.”
The awards will be presented at the RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala in New York City on Oct. 14.
The award is so named for Ed Murrow, a 20th-century journalist who rose to prominence for delivering live broadcasts from Europe during World War II, and later hosting several news programs during the dawn of the television age.
The piece from KETR that won the award is titled “For Many Black Texans, Grand Saline Embodies Racism. So Is That Fair?” Knight described the piece as taking “an honest approach to what racism looks like in modern history in rural Texas.”
The story can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/2XvNNsQ