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KUNC Newsroom Wins 3 Awards From Public Media Journalists Association

The Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA) awards recognize the best work in public media from across the country. Nearly 1,300 entries were received for work done in 2020.

KUNC arts reporter Stacy Nick received a first-place award in the Series category for “Stolen: Stories of Art Taken, Returned and Reborn in Colorado”. In her four-part series, Nick looked at an almost 100-year-old mystery in Fort Collins, the time a lifted cartoon of a flatulent unicorn made headlines, the repatriation of Native American artifacts and how a vandalized artwork in Loveland ended up bringing people together.

Read and listen to the series here:

In the Enterprise reporting category, KUNC investigative reporter Michael de Yoanna and reporter Rae Solomon received a second-place award for their work exposing the widespread use of the powerful sedative ketamine in law enforcement encounters. Enterprise reporting goes deeper than day-to-day reporting. Two of their stories were entered.

Read and listen to them here:

More than 100 agencies across Colorado have approval from the state to allow medics to use ketamine, an anesthetic, on people who show signs of what's often dubbed "excited delirium," a practice that is now drawing national criticism from anesthesiologists and psychiatrists.
A growing number of people want Colorado officials to pause or ban medics from using ketamine on people during escalated confrontations with police. The list includes two men who were given the powerful anesthetic when medics and police decided they showed signs of “excited delirium” or extreme “agitation.”

This initial reporting paved the way for several other stories and helped inspire lawmakers to pass legislation to restrict paramedics' use of ketamine during encounters with police. As a bill sits on Gov. Jared Polis' desk awaiting a signature, Congressman Joe Neguse, of Boulder, cited KUNC's reporting as he introduced a similar bill nationally.

In the News Feature category, KUNC water reporter Luke Runyon received a first-place award for his story, “For the West’s Drinking Water, Wildfire Concerns Linger Long After Smoke Clears.” It was part of a larger series examining where water and fire intersect and what’s in store for the future.

Read and listen to it here:

For many communities in the West, the water that flows out of kitchen faucets and bathroom showerheads starts high up in the mountains, as snowpack tucked under canopies of spruce and pine trees. This summer’s record-breaking wildfires have reduced some of those headwater forests to burnt trees and heaps of ash.

All of the winning radio features were edited by Director of News Brian Larson and the web packages were edited by Digital Editor Jackie Hai.

The PMJA award winners were announced during a virtual ceremony on June 24.

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.
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