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KBIA Overall Excellence Entry, 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards

The audio attached to this post is the submission for this category.

Below you will see time codes to denote where you will hear which stories in the audio, with links to the original stories posted online, and descriptions of the station's work where appropriate. Some of the pieces are segments of the larger stories, in order to provide more examples of our work in this competition. Edits are noted in each description, and there has been no internal editing. You will hear short beeps to denote the separation between pieces.

(0:00 – 4:15) Access and outreach key to addressing Latinx vaccine disparities

(4:16 – 8:13) Missouri OBGYNs are worried about rise in severe complications, stillbirths in COVID-109 positive mothers

(8:14-12:15) Thousands of Missourians in Medicaid expansion limbo

(12:16-17:17) The Check-In: The COVID-19 vaccine rollout

(Note: this is an excerpt from a half hour long program)

Like newsrooms across the country, KBIA sought to serve its audience locally and across the state with vital information about the COVD-19 pandemic as it unfolded in 2020 and 2021. We, of course, had regular daily and in-depth coverage of cases, deaths, public pronouncements by local officials, etc. KBIA has two full-time public health reporters, so was equipped to quickly and effectively cover this story for our community in our traditional reporting on the air and online.

Theis excerpt is from a live, local call-in talk show called “The Check-In,” which we created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We had no active live local talk show prior to launching The Check-In. Originally, our goal was simply to take questions from the community and supply accurate information to help them navigate the pandemic. We quickly brought the show together using borrowed equipment and intern-level support staff. Our Assistant News Director dropped many of her regular duties to host the noontime program. Community members “checking in” have included stakeholders such as SOS Jay Ashcroft; Missouri Department of Corrections Director Ann Precythe, as well as rural doctors, nurses, ER physicians, veterans and elderly community members seeking help, and incarcerated individuals calling from correctional facilities – all sharing a range of unprecedented experiences.

The response was overwhelming. There were more callers than we could fit into each show. We heard from many people, including local health professionals, that they were tuning into the show every day, a remarkable feat for a new program. The show proved to be a connection point for our listening community to find a way through this crisis and learn vital, reliable information. We re-purposed informational content from the show for broadcast throughout the day and the following morning and would re-air the entire show in the evening to order to get accurate information to the widest possible audience. We shared the content with our media partners at KOMU-TV and the Columbia Missourian daily newspaper, who worked the information into their news coverage as well. The show continued into April 2021.

(17:17-21:48) You Don’t Say: ‘Separate but equal: I don’t think you could find that equality if you check the records’

(Note: this is an excerpt from the 8 minute-long piece)

“You Don’t Say” is an oral storytelling series featuring voices, people, and conversations highlighting the personal stories behind Columbia’s Black history, and the universal and historic impact those stories reveal.

The result is intimate, ongoing audio conversations that get behind the public personas of some of our community’s most influential leaders, reflecting together on historic policies such as school segregation, urban renewal, police practices, economic disparities, and institutional racism, bringing these sweeping historic forces to the profundity of personal narrative. It is truly a deep storytelling experience, with the aim of creating a better community, and a better America.

Two aspects of this project are highly innovative, and build from previous work our newsroom has initiated, all conducted from the campus of the Missouri School of Journalism.

First, the project is uniquely collaborative. A team made up of professional KBIA producers, and key collaborators working as “community producers,” came together with an enthusiastic team of Missouri School of Journalism students, to produce these conversations highlighting the Black experience in Columbia, historically, and what the legacy means for our community today. In doing this, the project producers balanced a sharing of the microphone and the conceptualizing of this series, with a maintenance of newsroom independence and transparency throughout the process. This was a challenging, and rewarding, balance!

And the collaboration was deep. Long-time members of Columbia’s African-American community – including pastors, educators, business leaders, and civic leaders, and citizens – provided guidance and expertise with our producers to shape this project at every stage, from choosing the interviewees and the places, to curating the questions and the arc of these conversations. One powerful byproduct of this project has been the relationships that come from us all getting together, in listening sessions – with community members, historians, advocates, citizens and professional producers and journalism students – all gathered in our studios to hear the conversations, choose music to accompany them, and to reflect on the meaning of the content and how best to convey it in audio.

Second, we have taken our studio on the road. For this project, KBIA professional producers, engineers and our student producers utilized a mobile studio kit that takes us right to schools, homes, kitchen tables, historic Black churches and into the spaces that bring to life our Black history, to produce studio-quality tape in stereo, from the field.

It’s become tragically apparent that the field of journalism needs to – and our communities we serve need us to - get out into our nation’s neighborhoods, gathering places, and homes, and really listen, producing immersive conversations that arise directly from meaningful listening and engagement. In our newsroom, we have innovated around this need to produce what we call Conversations Journalism.

In the resulting “You Don’t Say” conversations, all interviews/conversations feature African-American voices on both sides of the mic, providing an immersive discussion that recalls and references past and present-day stories of the Black experience in our city from the perspective of those who live and have lived it, sharing together. The project is part oral history and part public-media series, with a lot of community engagement in the mix, and we believe these forces have created a powerful combination, one that we will build from and take into the future.

(21:49 – 26:44) ‘You Don’t Say’ Live: Continuing the Conversation

(Note: this is an excerpt from the 59 minute-long broadcast summary of the event)

On Sept. 2, 2021, the 'You Don't Say' conversationalists, producers, and community members came together for a live forum with music, food, poetry, and dialogue.

We later aired this compilation of the evening's highlights from that event, including an original bicentennial poem commissioned by the City of Columbia and read by Rev. Clyde Ruffin, who was named Columbia's first-ever city Poet Laureate on the evening by Mayor Brian Treece.

(26:45 – 32:47) Show Me The State: The Disappearance of Paw Paw French

(Note: This is just the first segment of the 25 minute long episode of the podcast, edited for time).

“Show Me The State” is our podcast that explores the misunderstood folklore and fables of Missouri’s history. In each episode, we try to figure out what the real story was, what the political and cultural context was at the time and how that has shaped the state today. It is an ambitious show, adopting a narrative structure that is very labor-intensive. Each episode is produced over a 3-6 month period. The show is launched primarily as a podcast, though they also air on our traditional broadcast. You can see the full list of episodes here.

(32:48-36:45) For Transgender Missourians, ‘There’s always a fear of going to a doctor’

“Missouri Health Talks” is an on-going series at KBIA, a local NPR member station in Columbia, Missouri. It strives to assist Missourians from throughout the state in sharing their own experiences about access to health care in their own voices. This is one example of the pieces produced this year.

The project is an example of what we call “conversation-based journalism,” where producer Rebecca Smith finds everyday people from throughout the state, especially in the more rural areas, and has them chose a person in their own life to have a conversation with about access to care. It is, of course, loosely modeled after StoryCorps, but focused on a specific beat and geographic region.

These 45-minute conversations are then edited into four-minute features that air weekly on KBIA. In its first year and a half, the project has covered topics that include organ transplantation, homelessness, domestic and sexual violence, disability and more.

The purpose of the project is to allow sources the room to have conversations about the ways in which access to health care impacts their lives. One of the particular focuses of this project is to make sure that diverse voices are brought to the forefront, be they diverse geographically or in terms of gender, ability or identity. For example, one of the stories in our submission includes a source who is on the autism spectrum, who would rarely be included in our on-air coverage otherwise.

Particularly in this time, when trust in media outlets is at all-time lows, we believe giving our sources the agency to tell their own stories helps us build trust and connection with both our sources and audience.

This content plays well on the air, but when considering how to feature the content online, KBIA decided to create a completely new interfacethat would deliver the stories in the most optimal ways. Each story has a visual component, and is manually sorted and tagged in a way that allows for each navigation and discovery of other stories a user may be interested in based on topic or geographical area. The project also aspires to reach rural areas across the state, so a mapping feature has also been created as a primary element of the presentation. KBIA Digital Content Director Nathan Lawrence designed and built this interface himself. These stories have consistently been among the most viewed and shared since the creation of this project.

(36:45-39:59) Ragtime community comes together to keep the music and its history alive

(Note: this is the beginning portion of the 8 minutes long story, cut for time to meet the time limit of this category)