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KERA Collects 7 National Awards From Public Media Journalists Association & Report For America

Paul Ratje for KERA
The KERA News series "The Asylum Trap" has earned honors from the Public Media Journalists Association awards, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award and a First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists/Fort Worth. Here, an asylum seeker named Carlo and his two daughters face the mountains from the El Buen Samaritano Migrant Shelter in Juárez on Sept. 26, 2020.

KERA News staffers earned seven national awards last week. Four were from the Public Media Journalists Association, among the top honors in public radio. And three were from the Report For America project, which places emerging journalists in newsrooms across the country.

The station's PMJA plaques were among 10 earned by stations in The Texas Newsroom, a statewide public radio collaboration that also includes KUT in Austin, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio, Houston Public Media and a number of other stations across the state. Three of those awards went to the statewide public radio newsmagazine Texas Standard.

Report For America Local News Awards

The Report For America honors were the organization's first-ever Local News Awards. Here's the full list of winners. And here are KERA's honors:

Public Media Journalists Association Awards

Here's the complete list of PMJA winners. And here are KERA's awards:

That makes 18 awards for the KERA Newsroom so far this year. Here are the others:

Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

KERA earned six regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, including Overall Excellence. That's the second-most Murrows in KERA history; the station won eight in 2017. And it's the station's third Overall Excellence honor.

Among the winners was The Asylum Trap, reporter Mallory Falk's in-depth series about thousands of asylum seekers forced to remain in Mexico. The station also won for Aléjandra Martinez's ongoing coverage of Shingle Mountain, a monstrous 100-foot-tall pile of waste dumped in a community of color. And Christopher Connelly earned a Murrow for sports reporting for his inside look at the medical toll on rodeo athletes.

Other story forms were recognized, including Keren Carrión's video on a quinceañera during the pandemic and Vice President of News Rick Holter's personal essay on grieving long distance for his father, who died from COVID-19.

Three of KERA's winners — Carrión, Falk and Martinez — are Report for America corps members.

Stations that are part of The Texas Newsroom collected 15 of the 17 regional Murrows in the large-market radio division. In the small-market radio division, Marfa Public Radio won eight of the nine regional awards; KTEP in El Paso took the other one.

This RTDNA region covers Texas and Oklahoma. Winners in the 12 regions automatically qualify for the national Murrow competition this fall.

Here's the full list of regional Murrow winners. And here are KERA's awards:

First Amendment Awards

KERA collected five First Amendment Awards from the Society Of Professional Journalists Fort Worth (SPJFW).

The awards "honor work that defends the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution; further the people’s right to know how governments and businesses affect their lives; and champion the powerless and disadvantaged."

In the Defending the Disadvantaged category, KERA's Christopher Connelly won first place for his story on how the pandemic has left many domestic violence survivors trapped.

KERA's Bret Jaspers took second place in the same category for teaming up with NPR's investigative team to highlight an alarming health disparity in North Texas: Testing sites are disproportionately more likely to be located in white neighborhoods.

In the General News category, KERA's Stella M. Chávez won first place for her story about how Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to deny refugee resettlement was at odds with the agricultural industry and faith groups.

KERA's five-part series The Asylum Trap by Mallory Falk won first place in the investigative category. The series highlights stories from asylum seekers stuck at the border, under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, awaiting their day in U.S. immigration court.

The station also earned second place in that category for "Gun Play" by Hady Mawajdeh and Jerome Weeks. The five-episode, nonfiction podcast features a group of teen actors who traveled the country to create an original play about America’s divisions over Second Amendment rights, mass shootings, background checks and automatic weapons.

TPR, a partner in The Texas Newsroom, won three awards.

Here's the full list of SPJFW First Amendment Award winners. And here are KERA's awards:

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