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.

Hoffman Departs WUCF

Julian Wyllie. Current.

Phil Hoffman announced Monday that he is leaving his role as executive director and assistant VP of WUCF in Orlando, Fla.

In an announcement on Facebook, Hoffman cited personal reasons for his departure.

“The past 18 months have changed everyone’s lives, including mine. My wife and I have returned to visit our parents in Ohio 3-4 times per year, but that became unsustainable during the pandemic,” he said. “A 17-hour car ride each way was punishing. Something had to change. And Corona seems to be insistent on overstaying its welcome.”

Hoffman said he will work on national public media initiatives as a consultant, adding that “the time is right for my next public media adventure.”

Hoffman joined WUCF in 2016. During his tenure, he said, the station has more than tripled membership to nearly 26,000 and adopted ATSC 3.0.

Before joining WUCF, Hoffman was director of broadcast services and GM for KMOS in Warrensburg, Mo. He was also GM for ZTV, a student-run station at the University of Akron, and GM for WAPS in Akron, Ohio.

Jennifer Cook was named interim ED for WUCF after Hoffman’s departure. She previously worked as senior director of content and engagement.

Via the Current

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.

WJCT Announced As Member Of National Climate Coverage Collaborative

The Local Media Association has announced 22 news outlets from across the country, including Jacksonville’s own WJCT News 89.9 and WJCT News partner News4Jax, that will be participating in its new Covering Climate Collaborative. WJCT produces ADAPT, a digital magazine focused on how climate change is impacting Northeast Florida and what’s being done about it, and the ADAPT Newsletter. 

This new collaboration will help participating newsrooms focus on covering the local impacts of climate change and how communities are responding to it.

“We’re thrilled to announce this group of newsrooms that are recognized for their commitment to reporting locally on the impacts of climate change,” said Frank Mungeam, chief information officer for the Local Media Association (LMA), one of the largest local media trade associations in North America. “This collaboration brings together newsrooms with diverse platform expertise — from print to digital to audio and video — and represents key regions directly affected by our changing climate.”

The partners are grouped into five regional hubs:

East/Southeast

  • Florida: WJCT Public Media, WJXT-TV, The Miami Herald, WKMG-TV Orlando and Florida International University’s South Florida Media Network
  • North Carolina: The News & Observer
  • South Carolina: The Post & Courier

Gulf Coast

  • Louisiana: The Times Picayune and WWNO/WRKF Radio
  • Texas: KPRC-TV Houston and KSAT-TV San Antonio

Great Lakes

  • Illinois: WBEZ Chicago
  • Michigan: Great Lakes Echoat Michigan State University, Planet Detroitand WDIV-TV

Southwest

  • Arizona: ABC15-TV Phoenix
  • New Mexico: The Paper (Albuquerque) and NMPBS Public Radio

West

  • California: The Sacramento Bee, KGO-TV San Francisco and Southern California Public Radio
  • Washington: Investigate West

Journalists from these news outlets will focus on the major threats climate change poses to their region, collaborating on local coverage and exchanging content with other members, both in their region and from across the country.

For more information, please see WJCT’s website.

South Florida PBS talks to Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about their newest documentary, HEMINGWAY

Miami, Florida – Just in time for Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s April 5th premiere of their newest documentary, HEMINGWAY, join South Florida PBS on Zoom on March 9th for the South Florida PBS installment of Conversations on Hemingway with filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, writer Cristina Garcia and author/journalist Brin-Jonathan Butler. 

The South Florida PBS conversation, in partnership with Books & Books @ the studio Key West, FIU’s Casa Cuba, and The Hemingway House & Museum, will focus on the South Florida connection: Hemingway, the Sea and Cuba. The discussion will be moderated by Ann Bocock, host of South Florida PBS’ book review program, Between the Covers. Hemingway documentary will premiere on South Florida PBS’ WPBT and WXEL on April 5th at 9 PM.

In conjunction with the broadcast of HEMINGWAY on PBS, the author’s publisher, Scribner, will publish The Hemingway Stories, a new collection of the legendary writer’s greatest short stories featured in the documentary series. The Hemingway Stories features an introduction from award-winning writer Tobias Wolff, who is interviewed in the series. 

HEMINGWAY paints an intimate picture of the writer—who captured on paper the complexities of the human condition in spare and profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential around the world—while also penetrating the myth of Hemingway the man’s man, to reveal a deeply troubled and ultimately tragic figure. The film also explores Hemingway’s limitations and biases as an artist. 

“Having studied Hemingway throughout my life, I’m overjoyed that PBS has created this new program and excited to learn more about Hemingway’s life and work,” said Dolores Sukhdeo, President and CEO of South Florida PBS. “I’m delighted that South Florida PBS was chosen as 1 of 9 stations across the country to host a special virtual discussion ahead of the premiere and can’t wait to watch both the program and local discussion”. 

In three two-hour episodes, HEMINGWAY tracks the meteoric rise and tragic fall of the author who, in his final years, suffered from chronic alcoholism, traumatic brain injuries and serious mental illness. In 1961, at the age of 61, Hemingway died by suicide, leaving behind an unparalleled body of artistic work and a complicated emotional legacy for those closest to him. 

Narrated by long-time collaborator Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast of actors bringing Hemingway (voiced by Jeff Daniels), his friends and family vividly to life. Through letters to and from his four wives—voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson—the film reveals Hemingway at his most romantic and his most vulnerable, grappling at times with insecurity, anxiety and existential loneliness. 

Hemingway, the Sea and Cuba is part of a nine-part national conversation series that is open to the public and will take place remotely, creating a unique opportunity for people throughout the country to participate. People can register for one or more of the various virtual events at www.pbs.org/hemingwayevents

WMFE’s Erika Pulley-Hayes Honored as a “Woman on the Move” by ONYX Magazine.

For the sixth consecutive year, ONYX Magazine and its sponsors will acknowledge  Florida’s most influential Black women in business, education, government, media, and nonprofit.

Erika Pulley-Hayes. WMFE-FM. Orlando.

We recognize these women for their tireless efforts in their professions and communities and we are honored to name them among a group of phenomenal women.

Women on the Move celebrates trailblazers who have served to make a difference in their communities, and Erika Pulley-Hayes, President and CEO of WMFE-FM in Orlando, has been recognized among this group.

The full list of honorees can be found here.

WJCT-TV is now JAX PBS

The world is constantly changing and reshaping the way we deliver information. The programs that currently air on WJCT-TV are now available on platforms beyond the broadcast television channel, and its new name reflects this new multi-platform environment.

WJCT-TV has rebranded as Jax PBS, as of February 24, 2021.

As WJCT Public Media continues to move toward production and distribution of its services across a wide range of digital technologies, its brands are also evolving to reflect this new media landscape.

For more than 60 years, the WJCT-TV call letters signaled to the Northeast Florida community that we are your trusted source for the very best in education, entertainment and television news programming. Although we’ve got a new name and fresh look, we continue to connect with audiences with the same mission to educate, involve and inspire!

Florida Public Media Launches Series Exploring Impact of COVID-19 on Florida Students

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of life for nearly everyone, but it’s been especially difficult for those who were already at a disadvantage.

In this statewide project – Class of COVID-19 – journalists explore the high costs of the pandemic for children and young adults who faced some of the greatest obstacles to success in school well before COVID-19 upended public education.

The series of stories and interactive multimedia content will appear at CLASSOFCOVID.ORG

The pandemic has been hard on nearly everyone, but it’s worse for those who were already at a disadvantage. Without urgent solutions, COVID-19’s toll could be catastrophic for Florida’s most vulnerable students.

In Tampa, migrant education advocates are worried about nearly 300 students — children of farmworkers — who “haven’t quite surfaced anywhere” in the last year.

In Tallahassee, Brady Wilson’s hard-won ability to speak in complex sentences devolved to two- or three-word phrases after schools closed last spring. The 18-year-old has Potocki-Shaffer syndrome, which causes developmental delays.

In Fort Lauderdale, a Broward County Public Schools social worker knows she has to “hit the pavement … and knock on those doors” to find the nearly 800 kids who haven’t logged on or shown up for in-person schooling in months.

These are some of Florida’s most vulnerable students, for whom COVID-19 has been not only a profoundly disruptive health crisis but also an educational catastrophe.

In this statewide project, journalists explore the high costs of the pandemic for children and young adults who faced some of the greatest obstacles to success in school well before COVID-19 upended public education.

“This uniquely comprehensive look at how the pandemic has exacerbated educational inequity in Florida comes at a critical time,” said Jessica BakemanWLRN-FM’s education reporter, who edited the project.

Jessica Bakeman – WLRN (Miami)

“Our series will inform the conversation about solutions to some of our state’s most pressing problems during the Legislature’s first law making session since COVID-19 has transformed the lives of Floridians.

“‘Class of COVID-19’ also assesses the educational damage of the pandemic near the one-year anniversary of widespread school closures.”

The radio-side of the project will kick off with a magazine-style narrative radio program, airing statewide.

Later in February, public television stations around the state will carry an hour-long special featuring news reports and conversations with policymakers

Throughout the month, tune into public affairs programs to hear local voices join the conversation. The Florida Roundup a live statewide show hosted by Tom Hudson and Melissa Ross on Friday afternoons, will feature the journalists behind “Class of COVID-19,” allowing listeners to call in with questions of their own.

A nonprofit model is emerging for local news

By David McGowan, President and CEO, WJCT Public Media

The recent round of staff buyouts affecting The Florida Times-Union newsroom provided the latest evidence, if any were needed, that the business model of local newspapers is fundamentally broken.

COVID-19 is playing the role of accelerant on a raging fire initially brought on by changing news consumption habits, an over-reliance on advertising and a reluctance or inability to change. The hedge fund and private equity-driven nature of today’s newspaper ownership groups is also a factor, but the consolidation of declining industries usually attracts a certain ruthlessness.

Despite its staff losses, the Times-Union’s newsroom has shown how valuable courageous, enterprising journalism can be to a community. Under the leadership of Editor Mary Kelli Palka, the T-U, a WJCT News partner, has both broken and doggedly pursued stories that have had real and measurable impact. From JEA to Lot J and lots of other stories, the T-U has engaged us all in the civic life of this region in ways large and small that many readers have come to take for granted. It’s also worth remembering that many of these lines of inquiry were not very popular when investigative reporters began them.

But as papers decline, and evidence continues to mount that the crisis in local journalism is having a wide range of negative effects on American public life, new and innovative solutions are being found as local communities rise to meet the challenge. Nonprofit online news services, often working collaboratively with the for-profit newsrooms in their regions, are emerging at a rapid pace.

The Institute for Non-Profit News reports that there are now more than 250 nonprofit newsrooms across the country, and their growth has been steady. Though these newsrooms now employ only a fraction of the more than 28,000 journalism jobs lost from 2008 to 2018, the sector demonstrates increasing levels of impact and sustainability. Importantly, over 40 percent of revenues to the Institute for Non-Profit News members serving local audiences now come from individual supporters.

The growth in local nonprofit digital news comes as the Pew Research Center found that in 2018, roughly 40 percent of adults preferred to get their local news from online sources, with more than three-quarters (77 percent) saying the internet is important in how they receive local news. This squares with WJCT’s own research in 2018, which found that most locals would prefer new local coverage to be offered online. If trends continue at the current pace, online sources are set to become Americans’ top choice for local news, supplanting local TV news broadcasts, within the next year or two.

At WJCT we have been working hard to ensure that we can drive this exciting nonprofit and digital future for local journalism. Not only are we devoting more radio air time to local news than ever — having recently made WJCT News 89.9 into an all-news and talk station — but we’ve also invested in creating a set of online products like ADAPT (adaptflorida.org) that point in the direction we’re headed.

Now, thanks to significant support from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation (a national foundation with its headquarters in Jacksonville), we’re embarking on an expansion of our newsroom that will enable us to begin to build the kind of reporting resources necessary to cover the region more effectively while meeting audiences in new ways.

We approach this task with both determination and humility, and with the knowledge that no single local news organization can give this community all of the quality journalism it deserves. But as the region’s leading user-supported nonprofit news provider, we embrace the moment and all that it requires of us.

Originally published by the Florida Times-Union

NEW PODCAST LOOKS AT MASSIVE PLAN TO SAVE THE EVERGLADES, 20 YEARS & $17 BILLION LATER

WMFE REPORTER AMY GREEN’S ‘DRAINED’ PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FLORIDA CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

ORLANDO — In 2000, President Bill Clinton quietly signed into law a plan to restore the Everglades. Twenty years and $17 billion later, the grandiose vision of reversing decades of environmental damage remains stuck in the swamp. 

In DRAINED, a new four-part podcast out Dec. 8 from WMFE and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, host Amy Green wades into the controversy around one of the most ambitious environmental restoration efforts ever undertaken. 

From rivers of toxic slime to a mind-boggling plan to inject a giant bubble of freshwater a thousand feet underground, DRAINED examines the massive plan to restore the river of grass and poses the big question about the future of this natural wonder: Can it be saved?

WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green

“The plan to save the Everglades is enormous and enormously complicated, but it’s so important to Florida’s future,” Green said. “I have dedicated much of the last 10 years of my career to telling this story, one that embodies humankind’s relationship — and conquest — of nature and all the consequences associated with that. In many ways the story is personal for me, having grown up in Florida and now that I am raising my 6-year-old daughter here. I thank WMFE and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting for their continued support of my work and for providing a platform for this important story.”  

WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green

Trevor Aaronson, executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, said the Everglades deserves our attention.

“For Florida, the Everglades are iconic. But I suspect that few Floridians realize how badly we’ve messed up the wetlands that have come to symbolize our state — and how our efforts to restore the Everglades, now going on 20 years, have been both enormously ambitious and jaw-droppingly harebrained,” Aaronson said. “In this four-episode podcast, Amy Green masterfully explains our destructive relationship with the Everglades. As a nonprofit journalism organization, FCIR is proud to partner with Amy and WMFE for this in-depth reporting and storytelling.”

Episodes

Episode 1: A River Runs Dry

Episode 2: Toxic Water

Episode 3: Define Clean

Episode 4: Neverending Restoration

DRAINED is now available at wmfe.orgfcir.org and on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more at https://www.wmfe.org/category/drained.

This is the third partnership for WMFE and FCIR. In 2018, WMFE and FCIR partnered on an investigative series about climate change and state government inaction. Green’s reporting for the series won awards from the SPJ Sunshine State Awards and the Florida Associated Press Professional Broadcasters Contest. In 2012, WMFE and FCIR partnered on a print and radio package about Big Sugar and government subsidies. Green’s reporting for that partnership won honors from the Green Eyeshade Awards, a journalism competition throughout the Southeast.

“WMFE is proud to partner with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting to shine a light on another important but often overlooked environmental issue in our state,” said Erika Pulley-Hayes, president and CEO of WMFE. “Amy’s immersive reporting and the voices and natural sounds bring this story to life for the listener and make the pressing issues of the River of Grass hard to ignore.”

DRAINED is reported and hosted by Amy Green, and edited by FCIR Executive Director Trevor Aaronson and WMFE News Director Matthew Peddie. Mix and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Mac Dula, Jenny Babcock and Ryan Ellison provided additional production help. Cliff Tumetel also contributed. Special thanks to Johns Hopkins University Press.

About Amy Green

Amy Green covers the environment for WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist whose work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She began her career at The Associated Press. Her book on the Everglades will be published in March 2021 by Johns Hopkins University Press. Green was raised in Florida and lives in Orlando with her 6-year-old daughter. Learn more and read her latest stories at wmfe.org/author/agreen

About FCIR

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit news organization supported by foundations and individual contributions. Founded in 2010, FCIR produces award-winning public-service journalism in partnership with traditional and ethnic news media in Florida and across the nation. For more information, visit fcir.org.

About WMFE

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.orgfor more information.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact Communications & Marketing Specialist Jenny Babcock at jbabcock@nullwmfe.org or 407-273-2300 ext. 112.

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