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KBIA Student Reporters Win National Edward R. Murrow, Hearst and Mark of Excellence Awards


Student reporters working at KBIA as part of their coursework at the Missouri School of Journalism have won numerous national awards in the last month.

National Student Edward R. Murrow Awards

Today the Radio Television Digital News Association announced the winners of the National Student Edward R. Murrow Competition, and 2016 MU graduate Emerald O’Brien won for a story she produced for KBIA in May 2016. "Putting Columbia’s Payphone Mystery to Rest" was an whimsically investigative piece looking into a small piece of Columbia folklore. The Murrow judges said:

“The story grabbed their attention from the start and kept it until the end. They called it a fascinating human interest story, well-told and produced, adding it must have taken a lot of work, and that it felt like an episode of This American Life. They said the reporter had a very conversational approach that kept the story moving and was entertaining.”

The Student Edward R. Murrow Awards are part of RTDNA’s larger annual Murrow awards competition. KBIA won 10 regional Murrow Awards in the professional competition this year, the most of any small market radio station in the country. Those entries are now competing for the national Murrow Awards, which will be announced later this month.

Hearst National Championship

Meantime, last week KBIA student reporter and anchor Carter Woodiel took second place in the National Hearst Awards Championship in San Francisco. Woodiel competed against four other students from schools across the country. Each student produced a story while in San Francisco, with winners selected by judges from across the radio industry. Woodiel’s second place finish earned him a $4,000 scholarship. The Hearst Awards are an annual competition that are often referred to as the “Pulitzer Awards for college journalism.”

Woodiel qualified for the championship by taking fourth place in the annual radio broadcast features and news competition. His entry consisted of stories produced at KBIA. May 2016 graduate Ryan Levi took second place in that competition with an entry consisting of his work at KBIA, but was not eligible to compete in the championship in San Francisco last week because contest rules do not allow graduates from the previous year to participate. Both Woodiel and Levi won scholarships in that competition as well.

The University of Missouri took first place in the Intercollegiate Broadcast Competition in 2017. That win was determined by calculating points earned in the radio and television competitions. Reporters working at KOMU as part of their work at the MU School of Journalism also fared well in their competitions, taking first place in one competition, and sixth and 12th in the other competition.

Mark of Excellence Awards

Levi and Woodiel also took high honors in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Competition, which honors the best in student journalism. Woodiel took first place in the national competition in the radio feature category for his story “A Local Town’s Special Claim to Fame: Winston Churchill.” Levi’s story “Uncertain Future for Missourians Losing Food Stamps after Waiver Changes,” was named one of two finalists in the radio news reporting category.

The two stories qualified for the national competition by also winning first place in the regional competition. Numerous other KBIA student reporters also placed in that competition.