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WFSU Wins 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Award For News Series and 4 Regional Murrow Awards

A sketch of a man in a blue circle sits next to the words: "Edward R. Murrow Awards 2021".
Radio Television Digital News Association

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.   

"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. WFSU won four Regional Murrow Awards for Small Market Radio including Continuing Coverage, Excellence in Video, Hard News, and News Series. WFSU’s entry for news series, Committed: How and Why Children Became The Fastest Growing Group Under Florida's Baker Act went on to win the National Murrow Award.

 “I am so proud of our team for this well-deserved recognition for Lynn, Trisha, Taylor, and WFSU,” states General Manager David Mullins. “The Committed series was a huge project and is another example of how the talents and teamwork of this group of professionals can result in a multi-platform project that is so relevant and deep in content.“

committed screenshot

The series, spearheaded by WFSU News Director Lynn Hatter, examines the alarming rate at which children have become the largest group to be "Baker Acted," or committed to mental institutions, in the State of Florida. Parents, law enforcement, child advocates, and even schools say something has to give, as the Baker Act was not designed with kids in mind. The concept was conceived and produced as a project for the Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being, a program of the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s 2020 National Fellowship, in which Hatter participated. The project's website was designed and created by WFSU's Director of Digital, Patricia (Trisha) Moynihan.

"JacqueLynn Hatter’s incisive reporting on the growing use of the Baker Act on children – in partnership with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism – sparked an essential conversation in Florida that contributed to legislative reform,” said Michelle Levander, director of the Annenberg Center. “Her series focused on the practice of using involuntary psychiatric holds on children, often including those with developmental delays, as a means of discipline or control. We applaud her vision and her contributions to public and policy understanding about the growing use of the practice by Florida’s school districts.”

Among the most prestigious awards in news, the Murrow Awards recognize local and national news stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community. Murrow Award-winning work demonstrates the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.

 “Our mission at WFSU Public Media is to inform and educate the community. And sometimes good journalism also influences policy. WFSU’s News Director, Lynn Hatter, and the news series Committed: How and Why Children Became the Fastest Growing Group Under Florida’s Baker Act, did just that. It has impacted legislation and has law enforcement, parents, and child advocates re-examining Florida's Baker Act. To win a 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Award for this series validates the investment that our community has made in WFSU to support quality journalism. All of us at WFSU are proud of this tremendous achievement” stated WFSU’s Kim Kelling, Director of Content and Community Partnerships.

RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with these awards since 1971.

WFSU's 2021 Award Rundown

RTDNA Murrow Awards

  • Hard News (Tony McDade)
  • News Series (Committed)
  • Continuing Coverage (PC Attorney Voter Fraud)
  • Video (Coastal Erosion)

Florida Assoc. Broadcasters

  • Environment (Age of Nature)
  • Politics & Gov (Panama City Sunshine Law Firings)
  • Sound (Murder in Your Ear)

Sunshine State Awards/SPJ

  • 3rd place General: The Fight To Vote
  • 3rd place, Environment: Age of Nature
  • 1st place, Arts: Murder in Your Ear
  • 1st place, Govt. and Policy: Sunshine Laws and PC Govt. Violations
  • 1st place Investigative Reporting: Committed

About WFSU
WFSU Public Media enriches lives and cultivates diverse perspectives by connecting our community through media content and services that inform, educate, and entertain. WFSU provides quality public broadcasting services to the north Florida and south Georgia areas. WFSU is both an NPR and PBS member station near Innovation Park in Tallahassee, Florida. In Panama City, WFSU Public Media is known as WFSG-TV and WFSW-FM.

WFSU Public Media also provides community engagement and educational services. Examples include Ready To Learn Community Collaboratives for Early Learning & Media, the American Graduate Project, and children's projects associated with PBS KIDS.

About RTDNA
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. RTDNA defends the First Amendment rights of electronic journalists throughout the country, honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards, and provides members with training to encourage ethical standards, newsroom leadership, and industry innovation.