Monday, April 27, 2015

KJZZ Reporters Win Pair of Edward R. Murrow Regional Awards

Senior Field Correspondent
Kristena Hansen
Senior Field Correspondent
Jude Joffe-Block
 KJZZ won two 2015 Edward R. Murrow Region 3 Awards, as announced by The Radio Television Digital News Association on Thursday.

KJZZ picked up top honors in two of the most challenging Large Market Radio categories: Hard News and Investigative Reporting.

From KJZZ's Fronteras: The Changing America Desk, Senior Field Correspondent Jude Joffe-Block won the Hard News category for her story "Facing Risk Of Rape, Migrant Women Prepare With Birth Control."

As the share of women crossing the U.S.-Mexico border grows, rape is one of the most widely known risks for women migrants on their journey, and women are preparing for the grim possibility.

Joffe-Block's reporting took her from a pharmacy in Altar, Sonora, Mexico, to a site in the Arizona desert where a 14-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted.

As her story explains, when a rape does occur along the border, justice is almost always elusive.

"This was a difficult story to tell, but I'm glad to be able to raise awareness about this reality," Joffe-Block said.

KJZZ's Senior Field Correspondent For Business, Kristena Hansen, won the Investigative Reporting category for"Scottsdale Police Organization Gives Telemarketer Two-Thirds Of Donations Made For Needy Kids."

Acting on a tip from a resident, Hansen dug through tax records to show the police labor association gave two-thirds of the millions it raised for charitable programs to a telemarketing service it shared an office with.

Hansen said her biggest challenge was in her communications with POSA. Its president, Jim Hill, initially refuted some of the information in the tax records, but he refused to look through old paperwork to set the record straight and declined requests to speak with POSA's treasurer. Eventually, Hill stopped responding to Hansen entirely.

"The story began taking a life of its own after other local media outlets began covering it as well," Hansen said. "Since my story first published in early December, Hill and his wife, Cindy Hill, have stepped down from POSA and its charitable 501(c)3. Today, the POSA board is in the process of reconsidering its business relationship with the telemarketer."

Region 3 covers all radio and television stations in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Fronteras Desk partner Marfa Public Radio also had a strong showing. In Region 6 (Texas, Oklahoma) Small Market Radio the station won eight awards. Three of those awards went to stories by Reporter Lorne Matalon and broadcast on KJZZ: "US Ban On Ivory Spawns Dilemma In Music Industry," "Drug Smuggling Twist: Innocent Mexicans Allegedly Duped By Mennonite Suspect," and "Mexico Marks Día De La Revolución: Patriotism, Protest And Revulsion."

Winners from the 14 regions automatically advance to the national Edward R. Murrow Awards competition, which will be judged in May. RTDNA said it received more than 4,200 entries during the 2015 awards season.