The Radio Television Digital News Association has awarded nine trophies to podcasts as part of its annual Edward R. Murrow Awards competition. The competition honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism has been celebrating radio and television reporting since 1971, and 2020 became the first year that a separate category was created for podcasts. Here’s a look at which shows won –
In the Large Digital News Category, the winner was Detective Trapp, a show produced by Los Angeles Times and Wondery. The five-part podcast followed investigator Julissa Trapp as she embarked on a case that would consume her for years. It is based on a series of women who began disappearing from the streets of Orange County in 2013.
In the Small Digital News category, the winner was The Catch and Kill Podcast, a co-production of Pineapple Street Studios and Glass Cannon. The Ronan Farrow-hosted show told the story of women who were allegedly sexually harassed by producer Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men in Hollywood, Washington and beyond.
In the Network Radio Category, the Murrow award was given to Dolly Parton’s America, a series created by WNYC Studios and Osm Audio. It was a series in which host Jad Abumrad and producer Shima Oliaee explore Parton’s relationship to feminism, her faith and her country roots, as well as the perpetuation of certain myths about Southern identity.
In the Large Market Radio category, WABE Atlanta (90.1) was honored for its podcast Buried Truths. The Hank Klibanoff-hosted show told the story of a black 17-year old, A.C. Hall, who was shot in the back by two white Macon, GA, policemen in 1962 after he was mistakenly accused of stealing a gun. Klibanoff says the story is about the power of racial conditioning, police privilege and community activism.
In the Small Market Radio category, the winner was KBIA Columbia, MO-produced podcast Show Me The State: The Legend of Doc Annie. In each episode of the podcast, host Kristofor Husted focuses on one particular piece of folklore and investigates what really happened, why did it happen, and how has that shaped the state today.
NPR also was awarded the RTDNA’s Excellence in Innovation honor for the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. The two-year old competition opens the world of audio journalism to young people as it invites students to create podcasts and compete against other schools around the country. NPR said more than 2,200 entries from 46 states and Washington, DC participated in 2020 with podcasts about science, sports, siblings and natural wonders, about historical events and books and, in many cases, about the shutdown and the pandemic.
Television news operations have increasingly embraced the audio format and several RTDNA awards were handed out to TV organizations that produce podcasts. In the Television Network News category, the ABC News podcast The Dropout received top honors. It told the story of Silicon Valley executive Elizabeth Holmes and the implosion of her health care technology company Theranos. Hosted by ABC News Chief Business Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, The Dropout earlier took home the coveted Podcast of the Year trophy at the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards last January.
In the Small Market Television category, the judges honored KGET-TV Bakersfield, CA for its podcast The Man With a Thousand Faces. In the podcast, reporter Olivia LaVoice told the story of confessed murderer Jamie Osuna, who tattooed most of his face to look like a comic book villain as he played the role in real life.
In the Large Market Television category the winner was KXAN-TV Austin for the first season of its podcast Catalyst. The show, now in its third season, exposes societal problems in Texas.
“We know that this year has been extraordinarily tough,” RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley told journalists in opening the virtual awards ceremony held Saturday. “2020 has brought about challenges that have tested us at every level of our professionalism and humanity and I couldn’t be more proud that you are always there, covering it all. That you – despite the previously unthinkable professional and personal challenges you’ve faced – are continuing to serve your communities with distinction and dignity and professionalism.”
Read a list of all the 2020 Murrow Award winners HERE.