Alabama Public Radio Wins National RFK Journalism Award

May 4, 2018

Back row, from left: Steve Hecmanczuk, Christina Turner, Rachel Buzzotta, Allison Mollenkamp, Alex Richey. Front row, from left: Alex AuBuchon, Pat Duggins, Stan Ingold

Alabama Public Radio has been named the winner of the national Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for their yearlong investigation and documentary, “Help Wanted: Alabama’s Rural Health Care Crisis.

Each year, the Washington D.C. based advocacy group, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, selects winners in 13 categories with only one radio news operation chosen. APR is the 2018 winner. Previous radio winners include National Public Radio and the Bob Edwards Show on SiriusXM.

“I am so proud of the APR news team and delighted that their work has been recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for radio,” says Elizabeth Brock, Director of the Center for Public Television and Radio. “Pat, Stan and Alex are dedicated to reporting stories of importance to Alabama’s diverse citizenry—and taking on the state of health care was an important and ambitious endeavor. The support of the University of Alabama and our colleagues at the College of Communication and Information Sciences and the generosity of our listeners and community leaders make it all possible.”

APR’s investigation of rural health care in Alabama takes on a variety of issues, including diabetes, pregnancy and childbirth. Studies often rank Alabama as having the highest infant mortality rate in the nation, and the greatest number of diabetics. Furthermore, seven rural Alabama counties do not have a hospital, and only sixteen counties have a hospital capable of delivering a baby.

“The deeper we dug into the rural health issue in Alabama, the worse it got,” says APR News Director Pat Duggins. “The news team and I can’t describe how flattered we are with this generous award. Hopefully, it will help shine an even brighter light on the challenges rural Alabamians face in obtaining the medical care they need.”

Founded by the reporters who covered Robert F. Kennedy’s historic 1968 presidential campaign, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards honor outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy’s concerns, including human rights, social justice, and the power of individual action in the United States and around the world.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights will present its national Journalism Award to the APR news team at a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. in May.

Alabama Public Radio is a network of public radio stations licensed by The University of Alabama and located in Bryant-Denny Stadium’s Digital Media Center. Its affiliation with the College of Communication and Information Sciences gives students opportunities for practical training in a variety of production activities.