CHICO, Calif.— The North State Public Radio (NSPR) news team has achieved one of the highest honors in broadcast journalism—a National Edward R. Murrow Award—for After Paradise, a locally produced weekly program covering recovery from the Camp Fire—the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.
The show was produced by news director Sarah Bohannon and reporter Marc Albert, from late November until the six-month anniversary of the fire. Veteran journalist Tess Vigeland, who volunteered at NSPR during the early days of the Camp Fire, created the show and anchored it for its first three weeks when it aired daily. It was honored in the Small Market Radio category.
The national recognition for the program comes in the wake of NSPR winning a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, which qualified After Paradise for further award consideration. Murrow Awards demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made standard for the broadcast news profession and are given out annually by the Radio TV Digital News Association (RTDNA).
"Our community turned to us and put their trust in us during this disaster," Bohannon said. "To be recognized nationally with such a prestigious award is truly an honor."
Albert spent days in the field reporting the Camp Fire’s horrific impact on the people and the landscape.
“Putting into words the indescribable, conveying the crushing horror and devastating loss that ripped through our region has been among the toughest challenges of my career,” Albert said. “I am honored to have served as part of a team that rose when tragedy struck and proud to have helped chronicle the Camp Fire and aided our community in both understanding its scale and processing monumental catastrophe. I am truly honored to have my name associated with Mr. Murrow.”
Vigeland came to NSPR after a call for volunteer reporters and editors was sent to journalism organizations. She has a long history of hosting and producing NPR news shows, and created the mission and format of the show.
“Murrow Award-winning stories put public interest above all else, and that is what we sought to accomplish day in and day out on After Paradise,” Vigeland said. “This program was for and about fire victims, and the communities surrounding Paradise, Magalia, and Concow. Our sole mission was to provide information and service to people in their time of greatest need, and we are honored to be recognized for that. We also keep fire victims in our thoughts as they continue to navigate the aftermath of this calamity.”
The awards will be handed out that RTDNA Gala in New York City on Oct. 14. To listen to the series, click here.
NSPR can be heard across Northern California on the following frequencies: KCHO 91.7 FM Chico, KFPR 88.9 FM Redding, 91.9 FM Burney, 89.7 FM Chester, 92.3 FM Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta, 100.9 FM Greenville, 99.7 FM Hayfork, 92.3 FM Oroville, 89.5 FM Weaverville and 98.3 FM Westwood. NSPR broadcasts online at mynspr.org.