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WKAR Investigative Reporting Receives Prestigious Regional Edward R. Murrow Award

Krystal Nurse
WKAR Politics and Civics Reporter Sarah Lehr

EAST LANSING, MI; May 19, 2022 – WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University has been honored with a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigative report on ballot measures ahead of the November 2021 elections in Michigan. Since 1971, RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) has been honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Group is Backing a String of Marijuana Proposals in Michigan, But Its Donors Are a Mystery, by WKAR Politics and Civics Reporter Sarah Lehr, won the award for Investigative Reporting in the Small Market Radio division. The story examined the unclear origins of various funding sources responsible for the 2021 ballot measures that would allow the presence of marijuana businesses in certain Michigan counties and cities.

“The story was a product of weeks of reporting involving court records, campaign finance reports and dozens of phone calls,” said Lehr. “I’m thankful to WKAR for giving me the time necessary to investigate the paper trail. Thank you especially to Karel Vega and Sophia Saliby for their help with editing.”

Recipients of the Regional Edward R. Murrow Award must embody the values, principles and standards set forth by Edward R. Murrow, a journalism pioneer who set the standards for the highest quality of broadcast journalism.

“As Sarah pointed out, investigative reporting requires a lot of time and effort,” said Drew Henderson, WKAR’s senior director of broadcast operations. “I'd like to also recognize our donors and thank them for supporting award-winning local journalism in mid-Michigan.”

Murrow Award-winning stories like Lehr’s put public interest above all else, provide a catalyst for public discussion, and adhere to the RTDNA Code of Ethics. Lehr’s investigative report exemplifies this focus, ensuring voters have the knowledge of what sources may be influencing their vote as they try to make informed decisions.

As a regional winner, this report is automatically entered for consideration for a National Murrow Award, which will be announced later this year.

A full list of all winners can be found here at the RTDNA website.

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