The Radio Television Digital News Association’s Edward R. Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious in broadcast and digital news. The association has honored outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Murrow Awards since 1971. Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of broadcast and digital journalism. Murrow Awards are presented to news organizations, not individuals.
This is WBHM’s second National Murrow Award in the past three years. In 2021, WBHM won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence for Small Market Radio.
The 2023 National Murrow Award recognizes WBHM for its podcast “Deliberate Indifference: Inside Alabama’s Prison Crisis.” “Deliberate Indifference” came together over the course of three years, after hundreds of interviews and countless hours of research and editing, the host and journalist behind the podcast, Mary Scott Hodgin, said.
“It required tremendous effort on behalf of a small team including Kate Smith, Matthew Hancock, Meg Martin, Miranda Fulmore and Gigi Douban,” Hodgin said. “But the project was only possible thanks to the many people who trusted us with their stories, the men who called and wrote letters from behind prison walls, the families who recounted losing loved ones inside Alabama’s prisons, and the individuals working to change the system. On behalf of the ‘Deliberate Indifference’ team and WBHM, we are truly honored to receive this recognition and hope it helps to further amplify the voices of those most impacted by the state’s prison crisis.”
The podcast “peels back the layers of the prison crisis that we have become familiar with here in Alabama,” said WBHM Managing Editor Andrew Yeager. “I am excited that those outside the state recognized ‘Deliberate Indifference’ for the valuable piece of journalism it is.”
WBHM Executive Director and General Manager Will Dahlberg said he is thrilled for Hodgin and the entire team to have their hard work honored in such a prestigious manner.
“‘Deliberate Indifference’ exemplifies the type of investigative work and storytelling that public media should be doing and is desperately needed from within our local communities, particularly amplifying voices that are often left out or marginalized,” Dahlberg said. “This podcast was made possible through Mary Scott’s dedication and leadership to see it through, and I am especially grateful to her for that.”
This work was made possible through WBHM’s Local Journalism Innovation Fund, Dahlberg said.
“Those funds are aimed at helping our organization to tell more stories in new and innovative ways and expand our engagement and listenership through new and more diverse audiences,” he said. “We are grateful to our donors and sponsors who have elected to support that incredibly important initiative with WBHM.”
In May, RTDNA announced WBHM and the Gulf States Newsroom had won 12 of 21 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for 2023. WBHM won six of the 11 awards for Small Market Radio, while the Gulf States Newsroom won five of 10 awards and a sixth award as a collaborating partner for Large Market Radio.
Hodgin, who grew up in Birmingham, joined WBHM full time in 2018 as the health and science reporter. In 2021 and 2022, she was recognized as Best Large Market Radio Reporter by the Alabama Broadcasters Association. She is also the recipient of a 2021 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Sound and several Alabama Associated Press Media Editor awards, including Best Specialized Reporter and Best Investigative Reporting.