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KUNC Newsroom Wins 2 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, 2 Top Of The Rockies Awards

Updated 5/19/2021 at 12:10 p.m.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of broadcast and digital journalism. They are among the most prestigious awards in news.

These are the winning stories from the KUNC newsroom:

Hard News

For work in 2020, KUNC reporters Adam Rayes and Leigh Paterson were recognized in the Hard News category for a story they co-reported on how an outbreak of COVID-19 was impacting the state’s largest prison in Sterling and the community around it. Halfway through the reporting, they decided their stories would be stronger as one because of the link between prison spread and community spread. The broadcast story was edited by news director Brian Larson. Digital editor Jackie Hai edited the digital story.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the state, a rural corner of northeastern Colorado has become home to the highest rate of cases of any…

Investigative Reporting

State Capitol reporter Scott Franz received a Regional Murrow in the Investigative Reporting category for a story on the state paying Texas journalists to travel to Colorado during the pandemic as part of an effort to get positive tourism coverage. As Scott uncovered, the Texas newspapers did not disclose to their readers that the trips were arranged and mostly paid for by Colorado’s state government. The broadcast story was edited by news director Brian Larson and investigative reporter Michael de Yoanna. Digital editor Jackie Hai edited the digital story.

Officials in Colorado have been spending money to bring travel writers to the state. It's a practice that raises questions for one media ethicist and, as an open records request has revealed, some journalists aren't disclosing to their readers where the money came from.

Regional Edward R. Murrow winners advance to the National Murrow Award competition.

Top of the Rockies

KUNC was honored for a collaborative series that was reported and produced by KUNC reporter Luke Runyon, Aspen Journalism's Heather Sackett, KJZZ's Bret Jaspersand the Nevada Independent's Daniel Rothberg.

Cash Flows: How Investors Are Banking On the West’s Water Scarcity, looked at how the tightening water supply has attracted the attention of a new actor in some water-stressed pockets of the West: the private investor. The broadcast stories were edited by Runyon and Larson. Jackie Hai designed and edited the online multimedia presentation.

Read and listen to the stories here:

How Investors Are Banking On the West’s Water Scarcity

Cash Flows received a first place award in the Top of the Rockies contest for Best Multimedia Story and a third place award for Enterprise Reporting. The regional contest includes journalists in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. It’s sponsored by the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this web post announced that the Cash Flows collaborative reporting project won a regional Edward R. Murrow award in the News Series category. Due an error in the submission process, the entry was judged in the incorrect market size. As a result, the RTNDA rescinded the award.

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Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.