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KUNC honored by Colorado Broadcasters Association and Colorado SPJ awards

Award plaques laid out on a table at the 2021 Colorado Broadcasters Association awards ceremony held April 9, 2021. The plaques feature gold "Awards of Excellence" plates on a black backing. Below the plate is a label detailing the award winners.
Courtesy of the Colorado Broadcasters Association
Steve Hostetler
Award plaques laid out on a table at the 2021 Colorado Broadcasters Association awards ceremony held April 9, 2021.

This month KUNC reporters and editors were honored for their work at two awards ceremonies: the Colorado Broadcasters Association awards and Colorado SPJ’s Top of the Rockies.

The CBA received over 900 entries for their awards, and KUNC was honored with Awards of Excellence and Certificates of Merit.

In the case of Best Public Affairs Program, Colorado Edition swept the category. The Award of Excellence was given for their episode covering the creation of a new congressional district, looking at the COVID-19 vaccine one year later, and preparing Coloradans for STEM jobs.

Colorado Edition's Certificate of Merit was for their program featuring the last story in the Sundown Town series, which focused on the history of racism in Northern Colorado.

Colorado is getting a new congressional seat for the first time in years. We also speak with one of Northern Colorado’s leading public health officials about the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine. Finally, we get a look at a new state effort to prepare more Coloradans for STEM jobs.
We learn about the rollout of COVID-19 booster shots in Colorado. We also wrap up our series on sundown towns in the Mountain West with a look at discrimination in Loveland and a conversation with some of the journalists who worked on the project.

In the Best News Feature, Report, or Series category, KUNC reporter Alex Hager’s story on how beavers are responsible for forest recovery in the Cameron Peak burn scar took home the win.

KUNC capitol reporter Scott Franz won a Certificate of Merit for his story onhow the booming vacation rental industry has impacted local neighborhoods in Steamboat Springs.

Deep in the Cameron Peak burn scar, nestled among charred hills, there’s an oasis of green — an idyllic patch of trickling streams that wind through a lush grass field. Apart from a few scorched branches on the periphery, it’s hard to tell that this particular spot was in the middle of Colorado's largest-ever wildfire just a year ago. This wetland was spared thanks to the work of beavers.
A recent survey of 4,600 mountain town residents in Colorado found that record housing prices, rising rents and a dwindling supply is making it harder for many people to afford to live where they work.

Also held on April 9, Colorado’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists announced their winners in the Top of the Rockies award ceremony. Over 75 media outlets and even more freelancers submitted over 1,500 entries.

KUNC won first place in the Mental Health: Feature category with reporter Leigh Paterson’s reporting on how the Summit County Sheriff’s Office is building teams of deputies and clinicians to report to emergency calls relating to suicide, mental illness, and wellness checks.

After The Sun Goes Down, a series focused on the history of racism in Northern Colorado, took home the second place prize in the Multimedia Story category. A collaborative project between KUNC and the Mountain West News Bureau, the prize highlights the work of senior digital editor Jackie Hai and reporters Adam Rayes, Stephanie Daniel, and Robyn Vincent.

Police officers often respond to mental health-related calls, but don't always have the skills or time to fully deal with these issues. That’s where co-responder teams — consisting of an officer and a mental health clinician — come in.
The Mountain West News Bureau explores how an untold history of exclusion and racism in Western sundown towns haunts the region and affects residents of color today.

"I am incredibly proud of the work our KUNC journalists have done to continue to provide fact-based, trusted news, connection with and between community members, and highlighting solutions for the betterment of the people of Northern Colorado," said Tammy Terwelp, the CEO and president of KUNC. "The team is incredibly hard-working and dedicated, and we are honored to be acknowledged by our peers."

KUNC's sister station, The Colorado Sound, recently received a mighty honor: Margot Chobanian, the program director, was named Best Radio DJ by Westword.

"Margot is amazingly talented and has a very high dedication to our listeners," said Terwelp. "I am so glad she is an integral part of the Colorado Sound."