By Kate Greer
Columbia, Mo. (Dec. 8, 2006) — August Skamenca, a KBIA reporter and senior radio-television journalism major from Denver, Colo., is the first Missouri School of Journalism student to receive a national Unity Award in Media from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. His award-winning story, “Odyssey of Oppression,” is an in-depth look at human smuggling in the central United States.
Considered one of the most prestigious awards for coverage of minority affairs, the Unity Awards recognize continued excellence in coverage of minorities and the disadvantaged. Past recipients of the award include Newsweek, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, National Public Radio and NBC News. One of 19 winners this year, Skamenca is only the second broadcaster in Missouri to win the award in its 53-year history.
“Odyssey of Oppression” also received a first-place award from Public Radio News Directors Inc. earlier this year. Skamenca has won several accolades for his work in radio, including a 2006 national Edward R. Murrow Award he shared with two members of the KBIA staff.
Skamenca said he is honored to receive this award, but his story is just the first on an issue that deserves more coverage.
“It is an honor to have received more than one award for this story,” Skamenca said. “On the other hand, it’s a bittersweet reminder that this shocking type of travel exists in our own country and on a colossal scale. The issue of human smuggling demands more ink and air time.”
KBIA-FM, an NPR affiliate station used as a working lab for radio-television and convergence journalism students, is one of the most successful public radio stations in the United States.