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New England Public Media wins four awards for journalist work

NEPM reporter Dusty Christensen won a PMJA award for his investigative piece,"Records obtained under new Mass. law show Holyoke police dismiss nearly all civilian complaints."

June 11, 2024, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — New England Public Media (NEPM) celebrates the achievements of its journalists as they receive awards for their excellence in storytelling. These accolades highlight NEPM's commitment to providing in-depth reporting that resonates with audiences.

At the recent Health Journalism Conference hosted by The Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) in New York City, NEPM reporter Karen Brown was honored with second place in the Public Health Category for her compelling three-part series, "Safe Bet: Is Mass. fulfilling its problem-gambling mandate?" Karen Brown is also the host and producer of NEPM’s new podcast, “The Secrets We Keep.”

In addition to AHCJ's recognition, the NEPM newsroom received accolades from the Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA). The PMJA awards recognize the best in public media journalism produced in one year from across the country. Stations competed against others with similar-sized newsrooms; NEPM competed in Division A representing stations with 8–15 full-time staff.

NEPM reporters Dusty Christensen and Nirvani Williams both won PMJA awards. Christensen's investigative piece, "Records obtained under new Mass. law show Holyoke police dismiss nearly all civilian complaints," secured second place in the Digital Writing category, while Williams' feature, "New law takes effect, but still not easy for undocumented immigrants to get Mass. driver’s licenses," earned a first place distinction in the Government and Democracy Feature category.

“This year, we had over 1,450 entries from 144 different organizations in our awards contest,” said PMJA Executive Director Christine Paige Diers. “We’re proud to be able to recognize the great journalism across the country through this contest.”

Reporter Nancy Eve Cohen's outstanding work on clergy sexual abuse was recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award in the Hard News category. Her story, “I don't know who is stopping this': Advocates urge Mass. AG to issue report on clergy sexual abuse,” on the apparent delay in an attorney general report on what had occurred at the Springfield, Worcester and Fall River dioceses, was honored. Cohen followed her award-winning work with “ ‘Another level of coverup': How a Mass. law prevents clergy abuse survivors from getting justice” and “Western Mass. actor depicts clergy abuse survivor who rejects church settlement — like he did.

The regional Murrow Award winners are chosen from all stories in a designated region, in this case Region 10, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Cohen will now advance to the national RTDNA Murrow Awards competition, winners of which will be announced in August.

“All four of these award-winning stories are great examples of enterprise reporting: reporters talking to sources, examining documents and digging for more information," said NEPM News Director Sam Hudzik.

Hudzik said he is grateful to NEPM's staff and listeners for their support, emphasizing the importance of sustaining in-depth reporting in western Massachusetts.

NEPM's is committed to journalistic excellence and its pivotal role in informing and engaging communities across western Massachusetts.

ABOUT NEW ENGLAND PUBLIC MEDIA

New England Public Media (NEPM) enriches people’s lives in western Massachusetts and beyond by nurturing curiosity, inspiring community engagement, and reflecting the unique joys of living here. NEPM is the region’s source for PBS and NPR programs and for locally produced news, video, and music content. For more information, visit nepm.org or follow NEPM on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION OF HEALTH CARE JOURNALISTS

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With about 1,500 members across the U.S. and around the globe, its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its sister organization, the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism provide training, resources and support for journalists, including health journalism fellowships, webinars, networking and conferences.

ABOUT THE PUBLIC MEDIA JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION

The Public Media Journalists Association is a professional association for public media journalists in the United States. Membership includes over 130 local public radio newsrooms across the country. PMJA programs provide professional development, career support and networking opportunities to the over 1,800 journalists working at its member stations.

ABOUT THE RADIO TELEVISION DIGITAL NEWS ASSOCIATION (RTDNA)

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, RTDNA’s mission is to promote and protect responsible journalism.

MEDIA CONTACT

Vanessa Cerillo
Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
New England Public Media
413-735-6605
vanessa_cerillo@nepm.org