Columbia, Mo. (Aug. 31, 2006) — KBIA reporter August Skamenca won the first place award in the news feature category in the 2006 Public Radio News Director, Inc. awards competition, the only national contest recognizing outstanding public radio news reporting at local stations.
His winning entry, “Odyssey of Oppression,” examined human smuggling and travel by undocumented workers across the border and through the Midwest. The need for the investigation surfaced after a van packed with smuggled immigrants crashed in Columbia, killing five.
“What we found was astounding and maybe a little serendipitous,” he said. “Seconds after meeting one of our newsmakers, a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper, he informed us that fellow troopers had just stopped a vehicle carrying four undocumented workers.”
Skamenca credits the win to the newsroom’s overall commitment to generating stories of immense magnitude. “While KBIA News works hard to bring our audience stories of the day, it is highly committed to getting beyond surface stories for in-depth quality reports.” Skamenca was on hand to accept his award in Los Angeles in July, having also won an essay competition among student winners that allowed him to receive an all-expense paid trip to attend PRNDI’s conference. A total of 90 awards were presented to 44 stations at the awards banquet.
A radio-television major from Denver, Colo., Skamenca received his first PRNDI award for spot news in 2004. The story, “Brazito Tornado,” centered on a law enforcement officer’s efforts to ensure the safety of the public while endangering his own life. Among other awards, Skamenca was part of a team that won a 2006 national Edward R. Murrow Award in the small-radio market news documentary category from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.
KBIA, one of the most successful public radio stations in the nation, uses its newsroom as a working lab for radio-television and convergence journalism students.
Public Radio News Directors, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the professional development of public radio journalists.
Updated: April 10, 2020