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WNPR News Wins Nine Awards
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WNPR News has been honored once again by the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards.  The "Mark Twain Award" for overall excellence in news coverage in 2008 is the station's eighth in the last decade. 
 
WNPR reporters were big winners at the annual CAPBA awards banquet, held at the Crowne Plaza in Cromwell.  The awards were judged by AP colleagues in Nebraska, and contest organizers said there were a record number of entries in competition. 
 
For "Spot News" coverage, the kind found in our newscasts, Lucy Nalpathanchil won an honorable mention for her reporting on the first gay marriages in Connecticut.  First place in that category went to Anna Sale, for her story about the debate over the constitutional convention.  These awards are the result of our commitment to daily news, and show how well we compete with other outlets who make coverage of breaking events their main priority. 
 
The "Feature News" category is for stories that are light and colorful, and we swept that category as well.  Marie Kuhn won honorable mention for "Waste Hauler Goes Green," a story about a new movement to recycle food waste.  Marie's work is made possible by our ongoing Environmental Reporting Initiative.  First place went to Diane Orson for a story she reported for NPR about Connecticut's new law to protect us against "Olive Oil Fraud." (right) This story featured funny writing and expressive voices - and Diane still gets comments from around the world from those who've heard it.
 
"Enterprise Reporting" is what WNPR does best - in-depth reporting on important issues in our communities.  Here, Anna Sale won an honorable mention for "School Lunch Budgets," a story reported for NPR about the growing cost to schools of free and reduced price lunches.  Anna's reporting is made possible by our Capitol Region Reporting Initiative.  First place went to Lucy Nalpathanchil for her reporting on shelters for domestic violence victims.  These havens are important for women and their children escaping abuse, but many aren't staffed around the clock - instead, those who face violence are "locked down" for the night.  Both of these stories - and all of the enterprise reporting done by WNPR - are evidence of our commitment to the highest-quality journalism.
 
While "Enterprise Reporting" may be WNPR's strong suit, we're not often thought of for our sports reporting.  But, we swept the "Sports Story" category with two very entertaining profiles of amazing teams.  Catie Talarski won honorable mention for the fast-moving "Foreign Students Add Flavor to US Squash." (left) This story was produced for the BBC/PRI show The World, and profiles the Trinity men's squash team, the most successful sports team in collegiate sports.  First place went to Diane Orson, for a story about the "BCA Skirts"- a team of Orthodox Jewish girls who play basketball in long, traditional skirts and sleeves - and win games!  These stories are inspirational looks inside the spirit of young athletes in our state. 
 
Finally, the "Mark Twain Award" is a proud achievement, an hour-and-a-half long compilation of the best moments, voices, questions, answers, sounds and subjects presented by WNPR News in newscasts, features, special programs and Where We Live in 2008.  I want to give special thanks to Catie Talarski for helping me compile and present this mammoth project.  It was worth it, and the judges said it was a very close call for the award between our station and WTIC-AM
 
I also want to pay tribute to all the other people whose work was featured in our winning entry:  Morning Edition Host Ray Hardman, All Things Considered Host John Nowacki, Business Editor Harriet Jones, Environmental Editor Nancy Cohen, Where We Live Producers Libby Conn, George Goodrich and Melissa Blanksteen, Operations Coordinator Eugene Amatruda, Lori Mack, Cam Henning, Faith Middleton, NPR Kroc Fellow Shomial Ahmad, NPR's Northeast Regional Editor Andrea DeLeon, The World's Margo Melnicove, Web Master Derrick Ellis, On The Record Producer Paul Pfeffer, Front & Center Producer Jane Moreno and Director Ed Gonsalves, Commentators Paul Janensch and Bill Curry, Dave Grazynski and the staff of WVOF, Photojournalist Chion Wolf and Vice President Kim Grehn.  I also have to thank the dozen or so interns and volunteers who generously gave their time and energy, and the rest of CPBN for supporting these efforts. 
 
In our business, awards aren't everything - but they are a good barometer of how others in our business view our work.  So, these accomplishments make me very proud to be part of the best news operation in Connecticut. 
 
My thanks to you all.
 
Please click the above links to hear some of our award-winning stories.