KBIA Overall Excellence Entry, 2022 Edward R. Murrow Award Competition
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. Some introductions and tags have been deleted from the pieces, but there has been no internal editing. You will hear short beeps to denote the separation between pieces.
We have included links to all of the pieces for the sake of proof of date of publication, but we ask that the judges review the 5 links included in the descriptions of some of the projects in accordance with the rules of the category to provide up to 5 links.
¿Dónde está mi gente? Is a series featuring Latino populations mainly in mid-Missouri and why Missouri has one of the lowest percentages of Latino populations in the Midwest. The series started as reporter Kassidy Arena’s personal journey to explore how her identity fits in Missouri culture. It expanded into focusing on who are the Latino people living in Missouri and what makes us unique in terms of demographics, business, community, education and identity (with one feature-length audio piece devoted to each theme). Many of the people Kassidy spoke with had never been approached by a journalist, thus emphasizing the importance of highlighting a historically underrepresented community. Further, this series initiated a larger understanding of media literacy and earned trust from the community. The pieces were also each translated and published in Spanish on KBIA’s website.
“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.
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.
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 interface that 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. These stories have consistently been among the most viewed and shared at KBIA since the creation of this project. We ask that the judges review the interface at this link: https://www.missourihealthtalks.org/
Missouri on Mic takes a mobile audio booth, and collects Missourian's stories, reflections, and dreams, creating oral histories on the question of, "Who do we think we are, Missouri?" We aim to find the things that connect us during this time in our history, and that take us forward into the next 200 years.
KBIA's innovative, collaborative Missouri on Mic project deployed oral history and archival traditions, audio journalism, and citizen engagement, in order to invite Missourians to reflect on this moment in time and how it has been informed by our history. We wanted to ask: “Who do we think we are, Missouri? What are our goals and dreams as Missourians?” In this time and place, there is nothing more important than listening to each other, and putting a microphone on our stories. This project was yet another example of what our newsroom calls “conversations journalism.” Loosely modeled after the renown project StoryCorps, our previous projects like Missouri Health Talks and You Don’t Say paved the way for this project. Recording sessions are open, and largely guided by the source, and the final product has minimal presence by the journalist.
As mentioned above in regard to Missouri Health Talks, we believe that these gathering methods are more inclusive and equitable to members of our community than “traditional” stories. Meeting our community members face-to-face during “normal” times, where they can set the agenda for our coverage, is a much healthier and productive experience for sources, as opposed to when we only arrive to cover controversy or when tragedy strikes.
This project is part oral history and part public-media series, with a lot of community engagement in the mix, and we believe these forces created a powerful combination. Missouri on Mic took mobile production units and journalists into the streets, spaces and festivals where the community is gathered, inviting them to talk to each other and to their fellow citizens about their lived experience as a Missourian, from whatever background, challenges, struggles and triumphs that informs their experience in our community.
The project was executed through robust partnership. Overall, the project involved about a dozen community organizations, from the State Historical Society of Missouri, the True/False Film Fest, Tiny Attic Productions, Ragtag Cinema, to farmer’s markets in Columbia and Kirksville, the state capitol, Paquin Towers, the Mid Missouri Renaissance festival, the Diwali festival of lights, libraries in Columbia and Poplar Bluff, and many more celebrations, places, and events where people gathered over the past two years. Our multidisciplinary team has involved nine professional journalists and producers, one oral historian, one graphic designer, several professors, and about two dozen student producers.
Most importantly, the project has gathered the stories of 278 people from across the state who have happened upon our microphones at the various locations and been invited to tell their stories. The process of lifting up those voices for broadcast and for oral histories has been transformative for our newsroom, as we’ve learned the power of listening and connecting. The pieces and raw materials gathered by the project will be preserved, shared and archived at the State Historical Society.
We ask the the judges also review the link to this website sharing the methods we used to create the project. We believe that sharing what we’ve learned from this work will be beneficial to the larger journalism industry:
Over the last two years, Brianna Lennon (County Clerk, Boone County, MO) and Eric Fey (Director of Elections, St. Louis County, MO) have created an elections administration-focused podcast called High Turnout Wide Margins. It focuses on single-subject, 30-minute discussions with practitioners and administrators in the election space. KBIA joined as producers of the podcast in 2021. The podcast has really resonated with the elections community due to the fact that local election officials are rarely centered or heard in conversations about election administration. Given the pressures and challenges of running an election today, the lack of local voices is problematic.
Local election officials are consistently seen by voters as the most trustworthy source of information and our project seeks to amplify those officials so that we can improve the trust and confidence in the entire election system. With this podcast, our goal is to curate nonpartisan and administration-focused conversations to provide exposure and education about how elections are currently run and what practical and voter-centric changes can help increase confidence and trust in our democracy.
Ultimately, High Turnout Wide Margins is rooted in civic education and professional development. We’ve given local election officials a platform to share their best practices, identify challenges that currently exist in the system, and provide perspective about how elections are run across the country and around the world. No other podcast approaches elections or civic engagement from the viewpoint of election administrators and we think it has the potential to fill a niche in the public discourse about American democracy.
Following the election in November of 2020, election administrators were thrust into the limelight like never before. Politicians, political parties, and various conspiracy theorists harassed election officials and spread disinformation at an alarming rate. For election administrators the most pressing question was, and still is, how the heck do we deal with this crap? Just about everything we’ve learned in this field has been gleaned, not from classrooms or books, but from talking with fellow practitioners. Luckily a podcast is a great way to amplify this practice and we dedicated the second season to speaking with our colleagues about what they’ve been through lately and how we all can confront these threats head on.
Understanding that in-person conversations are often most impactful, we decided to take High Turnout Wide Margins on the road to talk to folks who’ve been most impacted by the post 2020 hysteria. We were able to take our equipment and producers to the annual Election Center conference and interview election officials with some of the most compelling stories. These officials told stories of threats and harassment, but also of resiliency and how elections were carried out despite these challenges. These dedicated public servants were eager to tell their stories and many conference attendees mentioned how much the podcast meant to them.
Unfortunately, these threats to democracy and elections are not confined to the United States. Democracy is seemingly under strain in all corners of the globe. With the onset of the war in Ukraine in early 2022 there is perhaps no region on Earth where the fragility of democracy is more evident. We decided to take the podcast to Eastern Europe and interview election officials who are literally on the frontline of democracy. Along with one of our producers we spent several days in Moldova speaking with people who are working to make Moldovan democracy and elections more resilient. Following our time in Moldova we attended a regional conference of election officials in Budapest. At this conference we spoke with Eastern European election administrators about the ways in which they are standing up to Russian aggression.
We believe these interviews and trips undertaken during 2022 were impactful for the field of election administration. It is safe to say that an election administration-focused podcast will never have the widest audience appeal, but that has never been our mission. This podcast is not our job, it isn’t something we make any money with, and too much notoriety doesn’t mix well with our profession. We say proudly that this podcast has given election nerds a voice which we hope to continue amplifying given the knowledge we’ve gained over the last year.
The impact of High Turnout Wide Margins has been two-fold. We have heard from local election administrators throughout the country that this podcast has become a regular listen, that it has been helpful as they figure out how to navigate difficult situations, and the podcast has even been used in the training of election staffs throughout the country.
Additionally, another impact of this podcast is that it educates and provides valuable insight into the process of elections for everyday voters. While voters may be aware of the electoral college, Congress, etc., this podcast draws back the curtain so that the day-to-day work of election administration can be understood more thoroughly – and the actual impact of disinformation on those administering elections can be heard.
For the purposes of this contest, we included one small excerpt of one of the 30 minute episodes. We also ask that the judges review the podcast feed of the program, to see the breadth of coverage completed in 2022: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/high-turnout-wide-margins/id1546061812
33:06-37:04Cover Story: Yesterday
Cover Story is a podcast that uncovers the covers — that is, the stories, meanings, significance of the most classic songs that have been performed by two or more artists. Who did it better, and why? How does the song take on a different connotation when a different artist approaches it? Each episode features one classic song, two popular renditions, and a lively conversation about why one resonates more than the other.
On the surface, this is just a show about the music we love. But the conversations uncover intimate stories about personal connections with the songs, how these songs were first encountered, how our preferences are shaped by our own cultural backgrounds and personal idiosyncrasies.
Cover Story reminds us all to reconnect with great music and to reconsider the diverse perspectives and identities of the artists and the fans who subjectively consume the music.
For the purposes of the contest, we have included one small excerpt of one of the 30 minute episodes, and we ask that the judges review the link to the feed of the entire podcast so you can see the breadth of the show: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cover-story-with-stephanie-shonekan/id1614917604
KBIA partnered with the Boone County Health Department and the Boone County Overdose Response Coalition to host an event in October at Douglass High School where the community could learn about Narcan. Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, is a lifesaving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.
Many community members attended the event – including people who wanted to learn more about how they could help, those with personal experiences with substance use and recovery, people working in recovery locally and even members of the Columbia Police Department.
Everyone at the event had questions answered, learned about Narcan and how to use it and went home with two doses.
You will hear a short segment of the panel conversation that occurred at the event in this entry, and we ask the judges to also review this “Preventing Overdose Deaths in our Community” landing page, which accumulates additional materials produced for this event, and additional coverage on this beat: https://www.kbia.org/overdose