KUNR wins National Murrow Award for excellence in innovation

The public radio station is recognized for bilingual programming produced in partnership with the Reynolds School.

Karina Gonzalez, a spring 2019 Reynolds School graduate, was one of the bilingual student reporters who produced English/Spanish content for the local Latinx community.

Student speaks into an audio microphone indoors.

KUNR Public Radio earned a national Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation in the small market radio category this month for its English/Spanish bilingual programming, produced in collaboration with Noticiero Móvil, a bilingual multimedia news outlet run by the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Murrow Awards are selected by the Radio Television Digital News Association. They honor outstanding achievements in electronic journalism, awarding news stations, networks, syndication services, program services and digital news organizations. The awards are named for the legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow.

"This partnership allows KUNR to provide more inclusive storytelling that better represents Northern Nevada. Having bilingual reporters at the editorial table and out in the field is crucial for capturing stories that matter," KUNR News Director Michelle Billman said. "We hope this award illustrates what’s possible for newsrooms eager to connect with previously unserved communities."

The award-winning partnership between Noticiero Móvil and KUNR began about two years ago. Through the partnership, Noticiero Móvil provides mentorship for bilingual student reporters who pitch stories about the Latinx community. The student-run news outlet also offers professional translation services, so reporters can create Spanish versions of their stories with web and audio assets. KUNR supervises the student reporters in their newsroom and mentors them on radio reporting and production in the NPR style. The student reporters create audio stories in English that air on KUNR; they also produce web and audio stories that are shared digitally on KUNR’s website in English and Spanish.

Billman and Noticiero Móvil Editor Vanessa Vancour serve as co-mentors for the bilingual student reporters.

Two women pose on stage holding plaques.

Vancour (left) and Billman (right) accepted the first-place award for best collaborative effort during the Public Media Journalists Association 2019 conference.

"Our local newsrooms should reflect the communities in which we live, and this includes the people who are reporting and the coverage that is being created. This was a key component when we founded Noticiero Móvil," Vancour said. "KUNR exemplifies this practice by ensuring that stories about the Latinx community are part of the station’s existing coverage."

This month, the partnership also won a first-place award for best collaborative effort from the Public Media Journalists Association (previously known as PRNDI). Last year, the first bilingual reporter from the partnership, Stephanie Serrano, earned a National Murrow Award for best sports reporting for her work covering Reno’s local soccer team. The Online News Association also honored the Reynolds School’s bilingual media initiatives with the Grand Prize for Innovation in Journalism Education in August 2018.

Noticiero Móvil is generously supported by grants from The Hearst Foundations and The John Ben Snow Foundation & Memorial Trust.

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