The Radio Television Digital News Association has awarded Alabama Public Radio (APR) a National Edward R. Murrow Award for best news series in the small market radio category for their series, titled, “Alabama Rural Health Care.”
APR’s winning entry included four stories from their yearlong rural health investigation, covering Alabama’s rural hospital shortage, obstetrical care shortage, the 20th anniversary of President Clinton’s apology for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and a report on the potential of telemedicine to link doctors and patients in rural Alabama.
“It’s always a privilege to bring another national journalism award to the Digital Media Center,” says APR news director Pat Duggins. “But, in the case of rural health care, it’s also gratifying to help shine a light on an issue that impacts so many Alabamians.”
At the time APR recorded their series, seven rural counties in Alabama did not have a hospital; since then, the number has increased to eight. Furthermore, only sixteen Alabama counties have hospitals capable of delivering babies, which does not help the studies which have ranked Alabama as having the highest infant mortality rate in the nation.
APR’s investigation into these facts provide a critical analysis of the problem of health care in rural Alabama, shedding light on just how dark the situation is. In fact, the documentary produced from their news series was recognized by human rights organization, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights with the prestigious, national Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.
The members of the Alabama Public Radio news team are: Pat Duggins, news director, Stan Ingold, assistant news director and Alex AuBuchon, news host and reporter.
The national Edward R. Murrow awards will be presented in New York City in October. They are named for the internationally renowned broadcast journalist whose name they bear. Established by RTDNA in 1971, these annual awards recognize the best electronic journalism produced by radio, television and digital news organizations around the world.
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.