KBIA-FM and KOMU-TV Win Total of 6 RTDNA Region 5 Edward R. Murrow Awards

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Top Honors Were Received in Sports Reporting, Website, Feature Reporting, Investigative Reporting, Writing and Overall Excellence Categories

By Rebecca Dell

Columbia, Mo. (April 28, 2015) — The Missouri School of Journalism had a strong showing in this year’s Region 5 Edward R. Murrow Awards, given out by the Radio Television Digital News Association. KOMU-TV won one award, and KBIA won five.

Radio-television journalism senior Mihir Bhagat won in the small-market television division for Best Sports Reporting for his story “Love Is Blind,” about a blind man who made a three-point shot during a halftime show.

"Love is Blind"

Missouri journalism senior Mihir Bhagat won a Murrow Award in the small-market television division for Best Sports Reporting. His story, “Love is Blind,” is about a blind man who made a three-point shot during a halftime show.

“This is the culmination of years of work by Mihir,” said KOMU News Director Randy Reeves, who advised Bhagat. “He’s been very focused on improving his skill set and his craft. This shows what a student reporter can do at KOMU 8.”

KBIA won the small-market radio division for Overall Excellence, Best Website, Best Feature Reporting, Best Investigative Reporting and Best Writing.

The Best Website win is KBIA’s third consecutive win in that category – last year, KBIA brought home the national award. That award, along with the Overall Excellence award, is the result of a consistent effort by students and staff alike, said KBIA News Director Ryan Famuliner, who oversaw the development of the entries.

Journalists who contributed to the entries for those categories include Heather Adams, Tom Barclay, Jenn Cooper, A.J. Feather, Brady Finn, Andrew Gibson, Gary Grigsby, Jack Howard, Matt Kalish, Abigail Keel, Hope Kirwan, Casey Morell, Maureen Lewis-Stump, Tony Nochim, Kyle Norris, Madeline O’Leary, Ashley Reese, Katarina Sostaric, Rehman Tungekar, Meredith Turk and George Varney.

Heartland, Missouri

KBIA’s “Heartland, Missouri,” story won awards for Best Investigative Reporting and Best Writing. It is about a Christian community in northeast Missouri run by millionaire Charles Sharpe. Photo: Abigail Keel.

The story “Youth in Ferguson” won for Best Feature Reporting, reported by senior Hope Kirwan and KBIA staff members Austin Federa, Bram Sable-Smith and Katie Hiler.

The story “Heartland, Missouri” won for Best Investigative Reporting and Best Writing. Students who worked on the story with Famuliner include lead reporter Abigail Keel, a senior, and Casey Morell, MA ’14, who developed the story while a master’s student and now works at an NPR-member station in Las Vegas.

“Both of those awards are great examples of the Missouri Method in action,” Famuliner said. “They were working alongside professional reporters at KBIA to produce the stories with a shared byline.”

In addition to the station’s wins, KBIA staff member Kristofor Husted reported one of the stories in Harvest Public Media‘s “Tossed Out,” which won Best News Series in the large-market radio competition.

Winners from Region 5, which includes Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, will compete against winners from other regions. National winners will be announced in June.

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