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WKAR News Earns Top Excellence in Journalism Awards for 2020

Hundreds of protesters marched at the capitol
Abigail Censky
Hundreds of protesters marched at the capitol and around Lansing May 31, 2020 protesting the police killing of George Floyd and police brutality.

WKAR wins from Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists include four first place awards

EAST LANSING, MI; Jun. 10, 2021 -- The radio news team at WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University has earned nine Excellence in Journalism awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ Detroit), including four first place awards.

The Society of Professional Journalists is an organization dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.

SPJ Detroit announced the Excellence in Journalism awards on June 8, 2021. The awards honor the outstanding achievers and achievements in 2020 by print, broadcast, photo, digital and other practicing journalists throughout Michigan. This is the first year that the Detroit chapter of the SPJ opened up their contest to all of Michigan.

Similar regional contests typically group competitors by size of the cities they serve. This year’s SPJ Detroit competition gave WKAR an opportunity to compete directly with stations in Detroit -- Michigan’s largest radio market -- and come away with a number of top awards.

"WKAR listeners and donors expect and deserve the same quality of journalism as those living in America’s largest metropolitan areas," said Drew Henderson, WKAR senior director of radio strategy and operations. "The results of this contest demonstrate WKAR’s commitment to keeping mid-Michigan informed with top-quality journalism, and I’m very proud of, and thankful for, the work of the WKAR news team."

"During the coronavirus pandemic, so many facets of the way a newsroom operates were forced to change nearly overnight," said Karel Vega, WKAR news managing editor. "Meetings went virtual, and reporters needed to think of creative ways to tell stories and inform communities while staying safe.
"I am so proud of the way the WKAR news team was able to adapt to the circumstances and create content that our listeners relied on as the world was rapidly changing. These awards are proof that our efforts are worthwhile and that our priority remains crafting high-quality stories that educate, inform, and inspire."


Education Reporting
Lansing Eastern High's 'Flex Academy' Reflects 21st Century Work Models
Kevin Lavery

General News Reporting
Human Trafficking In Michigan: Turning Stigma Into Salvation
Kevin Lavery

Open-Government Reporting
'We Lifted Up Our Voices': The Public Comment After Michigan's Canvassers Voted To Certify
Abigail Censky

Spot or Breaking News Reporting
Hundreds Protest Police Brutality At Capitol After Police Killing Of George Floyd
Abigail Censky, Karel Vega


Environment Reporting
3rd place
As Toxic Algal Blooms Impact Lake Erie, Michigan Sees Agriculture As Main Culprit
Taylor Haelterman

Racial Justice Reporting
3rd place
Protesters Want Big Police Reforms. Michigan Lawmakers Offer Small Changes
WKAR & Bridge Magazine
Abigail Censky, Riley Beggin

Sports reporting
3rd place
Lansing Lugnuts Host First Game Of Their 'Lemonade League' To Sold-Out Crowd Of 100
Sophia Saliby

Feature Reporting
4th place
Local Drag Queens Get Creative In Quarantine
Sophia Saliby

Health Reporting
4th place
Michigan State University COVID Testing And Tracking
Kevin Lavery

The full list of awards can be found at the SPJ Detroit website.


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