KOMU Earns Regional Edward R. Murrow Award

“Immigration In-Depth” Wins Best News Series, KOMU’s Fourth in Five Years

Columbia, Mo. (April 23, 2007) — The Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) recently awarded KOMU-TV a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Best News Series, the station’s fourth Murrow in five years. KOMU, an NBC affiliate, is the only university-owned commercial television station in the United States that uses its newsroom as a working lab for students.

Matt Flener and Scott Schaefer
Matt Flener and Scott Schaefer interview a student in the English Language Learners program in Des Moines, Iowa.

The winning series, “Immigration In-Depth,” consisted of 11 reports that delved into issues relating to immigration, such as education and health care. The November 2006 series featured reporting by KOMU anchors Jim Riek, Angie Bailey, Megan Murphy and Matt Flener, who all serve as adjunct instructors for Missouri School of Journalism students. Additionally, Geraldine Cols, a December 2006 graduate, was a student reporter on two of the stories.

“Every one of our anchors brought a unique aspect to ‘Immigration In-Depth,'” KOMU News Director Stacey Woelfel said. “There are so many issues involved with immigration that we wanted to show how often and in how many ways it affects lives.”

Matt Flener and Scott Schaefer
Matt Flener and Scott Schaefer interview a staff member at the Welcome Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Cols, a native of Venezuela, worked with Holly Edgell, KOMU’s executive producer and assistant professor at the School, on a story about adult English classes offered in Columbia. The story included a profile of a local teacher using her own time to help non-English speaking students adapt to their new environment. Cols also conducted an in-depth interview with a local leader of the Latino community. Edgell said Cols showed great initiative by approaching her to work on the series and coming up with the story ideas.

“Not only did Geraldine report her two stories in English, but she also did Spanish versions that we posted on the Web,” Edgell said. “In addition, she worked as an interpreter with reporter and anchor Matt Flener on a couple of his interviews. Geraldine’s contributions to the series were important and her involvement made the series all the richer.”

Scott Schaefer
Scott Schaefer shoots the English Language Learners classroom in Des Moines, Iowa.

Edgell, who is nearly fluent in Spanish, played an integral role in the series. In addition to working with Cols, Edgell was an interpreter and field producer for Flener and videographer Scott Schaefer, who reported on a Des Moines, Iowa, city program for non-English speaking newcomer students. She again served as a field producer for a story by Murphy and videographer Gary Grigsby about MBS Textbook Exchange, a local textbook company that employs a large number of Bosnian immigrants. Additionally, she compiled an extensive background file on immigration issues and statistics for the reporters.

“I’m always proud when our staff is recognized with such a prestigious award,” said KOMU General Manager Marty Siddall. “The Murrow Award helps demonstrate KOMU’s on-going mission to provide our viewers with accurate and informative news.”

The Welcome Center in Des Moines, Iowa
The Welcome Center in Des Moines, Iowa, was the subject of the Murrow Award-winning series “Immigration In-Depth.”

The “Immigration In-Depth” series will now move on to the national Murrow Awards competition.

Since its founding in 1953, KOMU has won numerous awards showcasing its teaching mission, its staff and its top-quality news coverage. KOMU has previously won regional Murrow Awards for its Web site, komu.com, and for “Sarah’s Stories,” a series by anchor and adjunct instructor Sarah Hill. The station won a national Murrow Award in 1994 for overall news excellence.

The Radio-Television News Directors Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971.

Updated: August 26, 2020

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