WFSU, WLRN, WUFT Win National Murrow Awards

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WFSU, WLRN, WUFT Win National Murrow Awards

The Radio Television Digital News Association today announced the national winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards. These awards recognize more than 100 outlets for outstanding work in digital, radio and television journalism in technical and editorial categories.

WLRN (Miami) was received a national award for Overall Excellence.

WUFT (Gainesville) won national recognition for video reporting in the small market radio and students categories. You can watch the feature story, Beyond the Finish Line.

WFSU (Tallahassee) won a national award for it series, Committed: How and Why Children Became The Fastest Growing Group Under Florida’s Baker Act.

“A core pillar of RTDNA is celebrating the best in journalism, and one of the ways we do that is through the Edward R. Murrow Awards,” said RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley.

“This year especially, we are honored to recognize outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism. The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging in the history of our profession, and these recipients — among thousands of other journalists — clearly fulfilled their obligations to serve the public.”

There were more than 5,200 entries this year. In May, RTDNA recognized more than 750 winners of the Regional Murrow Awards, which automatically advanced to the national competition.

WJCT Wins Major CPB Grant to Address COVID-19 Misinformation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 19, 2021) – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is awarding a total of $275,000 in emergency grants to 14 public media stations across the country to address COVID-19 misinformation in their communities. The grants – up to $20,000 each – are being awarded to public television and radio stations in areas with low vaccination and high infection rates, or in emerging hotspots for coronavirus infection.

“Public media stations, locally operated, work with their communities through partnerships of trust. General managers of stations serving America’s communities that are hard hit by the pandemic are committed to breaking through the cycle of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and are providing information that is saving lives,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “CPB is committed to funding their work as part of our stewardship and mission.”

WJCT Public Media will use digital engagement and texting tools to reach people in targeted areas with high levels of vaccine reluctance. WJCT will develop personalized, branching information trees to provide users accurate, accessible information on vaccine safety; connect users with coverage by their award-winning news team; and incorporate updates from local doctors and pharmacists to provide answers to specific questions.

Public media organizations are using the funding to produce or extend programming about the coronavirus pandemic, to develop multiplatform public service announcement campaigns, and to organize community outreach efforts regarding the pandemic and vaccines. Many stations are working with local partners to reach specific audiences with low vaccination rates, through communication methods ranging from public affairs programming to text messages to viral TikTok videos.

You can read more about the CPB grants here.

President Biden Nominates Liz Sembler for CPB board

Elizabeth Sembler, Member, CPB Board of Directors | CPB

President Joe Biden has nominated three people to serve on CPB’s board of directors.

The nominees are Elizabeth Sembler, Kathy Im and Tom Rothman. They will join the board if confirmed by the U.S. Senate. CPB’s board has four vacant seats.

Sembler, a retired educator and administrator, most recently worked as director of engagement at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Fla. She served on CPB’s board of directors from 2008–2020 and was board chair from 2014–16.

Sembler has also been a board chair for WEDU PBS in Tampa, Fla., where she is still a serving board member, and was a board member for America’s Public Television Stations.

More information about President Biden’s CPB nominees is available from the Current.

Weinstein Named Winner of Public Media Innovation Award

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – July 27, 2021

WFSU’s Tasha Weinstein was named the 2021 winner of the Janyth Righter Innovation Award by the board of Florida Public Media during the group’s July annual meeting. 

The award is given to a staff member at one of the organization’s 24 public radio and television stations for their entrepreneurial and innovative leadership. 

Weinstein is the Public Media Education and Engagement Manager at WFSU-TV/FM in Tallahassee. She was selected for her innovative response to delivering engaging educational content to educators and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Florida Public Media is delighted to honor Tasha Weinstein with this year’s award,”  said Patrick Yack, Executive Director of Florida Public Media. “She brings enthusiasm, passion, and a strong commitment to her job, to WFSU and most importantly – to the parents, students, and teachers of the Big Bend area.” 

Tasha Weinstein – WFSU-FM/TV

“She works tirelessly to tie the ongoing important work of PBS and WFSU to the Tallahassee community. Tasha is a nationally recognized leader in education, and we are fortunate to have her part of our public media family.”

A signature program for WFSU is the Summer Challenge, a program aimed at preventing summer learning loss in children. Weinstein produced a one-hour broadcast special around the theme of Mountains, Hills & Mounds that took children to various sites in the area to learn about the region’s geology. She linked the content to digital resources and worked with partner organizations to build on this theme. 

Weinstein is also credited with leading an effort to tie the PBS KIDS program Molly of Denali to the Muscogee people of Florida. She and her education team created a “virtual” museum that provided a wealth of resources and information about Native American people, their culture, history, and stories.

Pivoting this project from an in person “pop-up” museum to a virtual one allowed WFSU to reach more people with this project and she developed a workshop model for educators to better understand how to use this resource.

“Tasha is a dynamo who has taken the WFSU Education Program to new heights,” said Kim Kelling, WFSU Director of Content & Community Partners. 

“Everything she approaches is done with the mindset of how we can be more effective in reaching underserved children and families. With a pandemic impacting in person work for the past 16 months, Tasha has been instrumental in rethinking how we do our work and how we can engage the community. She has worked across all of our departments at WFSU to achieve that goal.”

Established in 2017, the award is named in honor of Janyth Righter, the former executive director of Florida Public Media and a pioneer in public broadcasting in Florida. 

Past winners include:

Jeff Huffman – WUFT-TV/FM. Gainesville/Ocala. 2017.

Catherine Hiles – WUCF-TV. Orlando. 2018.

Brent Burton – WSRE-TV. Pensacola. 2019.

Penelope Douglas. WPBT-TV. Miami. 2020.

WFSU TV/FM broadcasts throughout Florida panhandle and south Georgia. Florida Public Media is a professional association made up of the NPR and PBS stations in Florida. 

Hoffman Elected FPM Chair; Puorro At-Large Officer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fl. – July 27, 2021

The association of public media elected Phil Hoffman, Executive Director WUCF-TV/FM (Orlando), as its new chair during the group’s annual board meeting this month.

The board also added Chris Puorro, station manager of WQCS-FM (Ft. Pierce) as its At-Large member of the Executive Committee. 

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve Florida Public Media,” Hoffman said.

Phil Hoffman, Executive Director of WUCF TV/FM in Orlando, takes the helm of Florida Public Media.

“Public media plays a critically important role in bringing our local communities important information…whether it’s educational content for children, thoughtful programs from Ken Burns, Nova and Nature, or highly trusted reporting from some of the country’s best reporters. Public media has always had a mission to serve all people with great content. FPM enables Florida stations to do that well.” 

“I’m thankful to my colleagues across the state for choosing me to be a part of the executive team at Florida Public Media,” Puorro said. 

“We look forward to continuing the public media collaborations that have provided our listeners and viewers with a wide array of content, and helped to keep them safe and informed during challenges.”

The board also elected these others officers:

Chris Puorro, Station Manager, WQCS-FM.

– Vice Chair: David Mullins, General Manager, WUSF-FM/TV (Tallahassee)

– Treasurer: Amy Shumaker, Associate General Manager – Content, WGCU-FM/TV (Ft. Myers/Naples)

– Secretary: Paul Grove, President and CEO, WEDU-TV (Tampa/St. Petersburg) 

– Immediate Past Chair: Randy Wright, Executive Director, WUFT-FM/TV(Gainesville/Ocala)

Florida Public Media (FPM) is the organization of 24 public radio and public television stations in the state. The stations broadcast programming by NPR and PBS, and a wide range of news, public affairs, and music programs. 

TV members provide the main distribution of The Florida Channel, and radio members serve as the backbone of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN). FPREN is headquartered at WUFT on the campus of The University of Florida in Gainesville. 

FPM is the state’s leader in educational programming and emergency communications.

Pulley-Hayes Departs for WAMU.

Tyler Falk
Current

American University named Erika Pulley-Hayes as GM of its public radio station WAMU in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Pulley-Hayes

She comes to WAMU from Orlando, Fla., where she has been CEO of Community Communications Inc., the licensee of WMFE and WMFVsince January 2020. Pulley-Hayes was previously VP of radio at CPB, where she had worked since 2005.

Her first day at WAMU is Aug. 30. 

You can read more at Current.org.

Florida Public Media Names 2021 Champions

Florida’s association of public broadcasters recognized four members of the legislature for their important roles in supporting public broadcasting this past session. 

WQCS General Manager Chris Puorro, Rep. Randy Fine, WFIT General Manager Terri Wright

Winners of the 2021 Florida Public Media Champion Award include:

  • Senator Doug Broxson (Pensacola)
  • Senator Audrey Gibson (Jacksonville)
  • Representative Randy Fine (Palm Bay)
  • Representative Jay Trumbull (Panama City)

“On behalf of my colleagues in public media across the great state of Florida, I’m proud to congratulate the four recipients of the Florida Public Media Champion Award for 2021,” said Randy Wright, General Manager of WUFT in Gainesville-Ocala and chair of the organization.

“Senators Broxson and Gibson, and Representatives Fine and Trumbull, played significant parts in highlighting the extraordinary public safety and educational roles public media play in Florida.”

“We’re proud to recognize them for their valuable contributions to the communities we all serve,” Wright said.

Florida Public Media represents 24 public radio and television stations throughout the state.

The annual award is given to honor those who have championed support for public broadcasting in the legislature.

It is inscribed with a quote by the legendary Fred Rogers: “Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”

Past winners have included:

  • Senator Rob Bradley (Orange Park)
  • Senator Manny Diaz (Hialeah Gardens)
  • Senator Kathleen Passidomo (Naples)
  • Senator Kelli Stargel (Lakeland)
  • Representative Travis Cummings (Orange Park)
  • Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (Ft. Myers)
  • Representative Jake Raburn (Valrico)
  • Representative Josie Tomkow (Auburndale)
  • Representative Susan Valdes (Tampa) 

Florida Broadcasters Name WUSF News The 2020 Radio Station Of The Year

WUSF News was named radio Station of the Year by the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for its journalism produced during 2020.

The team also collected six other first place awards (General Assignment, General Assignment (Long), Education (Single), Health Reporting (Single), Political, Government, Election Reporting (Single), and Political, Government, Election Reporting (Station) in the contest that includes commercial and public media broadcasters from across Florida.

Other Florida public radio stations won numerous first place awards, including:

WLRN – Miami. Continuing Coverage, Team Coverage, Series (Light), Series (Franchise), Feature Reporting (Cultural & Historical), Investigative Reporting, Individual Achievement (Writing), Individual Achievement and (Digital Journalist).

WGCU – Ft. Myers/Naples. Feature Reporting (Hard), Sports Reporting, and Traffic Reporting.

WMFE – Orlando. Digital Programming, Public Affairs, and Health Reporting (Series).

WFSU – Tallahassee. Environmental Reporting (Series), and Use of Sound.

WUFT – Gainesville/Ocala. Feature Reporting (Light).

Research shows kids benefit from watching PBS Kids’ Molly of Denali

Tallahassee, FL. April 12, 2021 — Education Development Center (EDC) and SRI International (SRI) announce the release of their new research Mahsi’choo for the Info! Molly of Denali Teaches Children about Informational Text.*

Molly of Denali is an award-winning animated series, produced by GBH Boston that airs on PBS stations throughout Florida. It follows the adventures of curious and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska. Recently renewed for a second season, it is the first nationally distributed children’s series to feature a Native American lead character. 

Molly of Denali involves Alaska Native voices in all aspects of the production, both on screen and behind the scenes. Informational text, the underlying literacy curriculum, is integrated into the series’ episodes, games, app, website, and assets for educators, families, and kids. Informational text—oral, written, or visual text designed to inform—is essential to navigating daily life, and it includes activities such as reading a map, critically engaging with websites, and posing questions to an expert.

Two separate rigorous studies found that children from low-income households who were given Molly of Denali videos, digital games, and activities were better able to solve problems using informational text. Most children have access to stories and other narrative texts but little to no access to informational text. Yet informational text is a fundamental part of literacy. Comprehending informational text paves the way for future learning, particularly in social studies and the sciences, and success in life. 

“In a year where children have been forced to learn through screen time, there has been a great deal of debate on what is good programming and bad programming,” said Tasha Weinstein, education and engagement manager at WFSU in Tallahassee. 

“Knowing what is quality content is really important and we now know that screen time can work when you have effective programming.”

WFSU has organized “Molly of Denali”-inspired workshops in its viewing area and collaborated with the Muskogee Tribe to create a virtual museum that links the Muskogee with the native Americans of Alaska. 

Ten families were selected, and each week included a different area of study, including maps, traditions, biographies and animals. Kelling said she was thrilled to take the proven content of the TV program and put it to use in the community through the virtual museums. 

To see the virtual museums visit, https://wfsu.org/education/molly-of-denali-virtual-museum/. For more information on the study, visit edc.org/infotext. For more information about WFSU visit, https://wfsu.org/television/

Key Findings

Two nine-week studies included 263 first-grade children from low-income households across the country. The study team randomly assigned each child to receive either a tablet loaded with Molly of Denali resources (treatment condition) or a tablet that blocked access to Molly of Denali resources (control condition).

  • Problem-solving: Access to Molly of Denali digital resources improved first-grade children’s ability to use informational text to solve problems, for example, choosing the right book or website to answer a question or using an index to find a topic in the book.
  • High return for minimal time investment: Children benefited from the Molly of Denali resources after using them for only about one hour per week, on average, over nine weeks—similar to the time that children might access educational media at home. Many educational programs require more time or engagement before learning benefits are seen. 
  • More screen time = more learning: Children who used Molly of Denali resources for longer periods showed greater learning benefits. Findings demonstrate that more exposure to high-quality educational content results in greater learning gains.
  • The power of replication: The second study was a replication of the first study, adding further evidence of the impact of the Molly of Denali resources. Although replication is a critical part of the scientific process, few findings in education research are confirmed by conducting the same study a second time.

Molly of Denali has received much critical acclaim, including a Peabody Award, a Television Critics Award and a Kidscreen Award, and has a television reach of over 42 million peopleand over 450K users on PBS KIDS digital platforms each month.2 Now Molly of Denali also has the backing of two studies that demonstrate children’s learning.

The studies were commissioned as part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The Ready To Learn Initiative brings educational television and digital media resources to children ages 2–8 and aims to promote early science and literacy learning. 

The studies, conducted during the pandemic, pioneered innovations in remote data collection with families across the nation, providing evidence that research remains possible when in-person visits are not an option. The Molly of Denali content also provided a free resource to help develop children’s literacy skills to families experiencing pandemic-related disruptions in schooling.

“Never before has there been a study of children’s media supporting young children’s use of informational text to solve problems,” said Shelley Pasnik, EDC senior vice president and principal investigator of the joint EDC-SRI research team. “That we were able to see positive results not once but twice during a year of great educational turmoil makes the case for providing all families with quality early learning opportunities.”

“This research shows the power of well-designed educational media,” said Joy Lorenzo Kennedy, EDC’s lead author. “Not only does Molly of Denali have an engaging storyline and compelling cast of characters, it also embeds informational text in ways that improves children’s learning outcomes.”

Claire Christensen, lead author for SRI, added, “This research comes at a critical time when parents and educators are searching for guidance about how best to support children’s learning when they can’t be in the classroom.”

This study is one of a series of Ready To Learn Initiative studies demonstrating the impact of educational media on children’s learning. The full report is available online at edc.org/infotext

About EDC
Education Development Center (EDC) is a global nonprofit that advances lasting solutions to improve education, promote health, and expand economic opportunity. Since 1958, it has been a leader in designing, implementing, and evaluating powerful and innovative programs in more than 80 countries around the world. 

About SRI International
SRI International is an independent, nonprofit research center that works with clients to take the most advanced R&D from the laboratory to the marketplace. For more than 70 years, SRI has led the discovery and design of groundbreaking products, technologies, and industries—from Siri and online banking to medical ultrasound, cancer treatments, and much more.

About MOLLY OF DENALI 

Molly of Denali is co-produced by GBH and its animation partner, Atomic Cartoons, in association with CBC Kids. Funding for Molly of Denali™ is provided by a Ready To Learn Grant from the U.S. Department of Education; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People; and by public television viewers. Additional funding made possible with the participation of the Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit. Corporate funding provided by the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan and Target. Alaska Native collaborators: Adeline P. Raboff, Dewey Kk’ołeyo Hoffman, Luke Titus, Princess Daazhraii Johnson  and Rochelle Adams. Language Advisors: Adeline P. Raboff, Lance X’unei Twitchell, Lorraine David, Marie Meade and Marjorie Tahbone. Informational text advisor: Nell K. Duke, University of Michigan.

About the Ready To Learn Initiative
The Ready To Learn initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching children living in low-income households. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.

###

Contact:
Patrick Yack. pyack@nullfloridapublicmedia.org

1Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 7/15/2019–7/12/2020, 50% unif, 1+ mins., P2+, K2-11
2Google Analytics, January 2020–December 2020

The contents of Molly of Denali were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A150003, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


* Mahsi’choo (Mah-see-cho): “Thank You” in Gwich’in.

WMFE PRESIDENT ELECTED TO NPR BOARD OF DIRECTORS ERIKA PULLEY-HAYES FILLS THE POSITION OF MEMBER DIRECTOR

ORLANDO — Erika Pulley-Hayes, president and CEO of WMFE/WMFV in Orlando, has been elected to the NPR Board of Directors.

Pulley-Hayes joined WMFE/WMFV in January after a long tenure at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, where she served as radio vice president.

Erika Pulley-Hayes

“I’m excited to serve on the NPR board at this moment in time,” Pulley-Hayes said. “Journalism is essential to our democracy, and I am committed to ensuring the news and information NPR provides to our country remains strong.”

Pulley-Hayes was elected Sept. 11 to fill an unexpired term vacancy on the board due to the departure of Wonya Lucas, former CEO of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, according to Current. The board’s Governance Committee nominated Pulley-Hayes to a three-year term beginning in November, subject to election by the network’s membership in a ballot that opens next month.

The NPR Board of Directors sets the policies and overall direction for NPR management, monitors the performance of NPR, and provides financial oversight. NPR’s 23-member Board of Directors is comprised of 12 Member Directors who are managers of NPR Member stations and are elected to the Board by their fellow Member stations, 9 Public Directors, the NPR Foundation Chair, and the NPR President & CEO.

About Pulley-Hayes:

Erika Pulley-Hayes joined WMFE/WMFV in January 2020 as president and CEO after a long tenure at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) where she served as radio vice president. In this capacity, she provided strategic leadership to the public radio system by developing initiatives designed to drive innovation and advance public media service. She has worked to enhance local service and sustainability by identifying new business opportunities and operating models that engage audiences across platforms and increase organizational capacity. She was instrumental in the development of journalism collaborations among public media organizations in local regions. She was also responsible for developing the policies that govern CPB’s Community Service Grant program which, as public media’s largest funding source, supports over 400 organizations operating public radio stations nationwide.

Erika began her career at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company, where she worked under the general counsel and corporate secretary. In this role, she worked closely with the board of directors, negotiated corporate agreements for commercial transactions, and ensured political and regulatory compliance. Erika later managed legal operations of a small clinical research organization overseeing risk management, corporate housekeeping and commercial contracts generating approximately $40 million annually. Erika serves on the board of directors of 826 National, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students improve their expository and creative writing skills in nine cities across the United States. She is also a member of the Alliance of Women in Media. Erika holds an MBA and an MS in Nonprofit Management.

About Community Communications Inc.:

Community Communications Inc. is a locally owned, and operated, non-profit public media organization that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Ocala and surrounding counties. Listener-supported Community Communications has been serving the community since 1980 with trusted news and programming from a local, national and international perspective. Visit wmfe.org and wmfv.org for more information.

About NPR:

NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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