Today, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) recognized Ben Bradford, WFAE news reporter, with a national Edward R. Murrow award in the Hard News Reporting category for coverage of the Moral Monday protests in Raleigh. This is WFAE’s fourth national Murrow Award.
“Moral Mondays,” the winning entry for large market radio stations, follows one day’s protest from start to finish, its initial organization at a church, the gathering of 1,200 in front of the state capitol, and the arrests of about 80 for civil disobedience inside.
“This story represents the best qualities of public radio, and that’s striving to get the full picture,” said News Director Greg Collard. “It captured the passion of the protestors, but also the careful orchestration of the event, including coordinating with police about who would be arrested. No other story did that.”
In spring 2013, religious leaders and the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP began protesting decisions made by Governor Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders. More than 900 were arrested for acts of civil disobedience over the course of the legislative session. As the Moral Monday protests grew, the WFAE News Department decided to have its own presence for this story.
“It was a busy day. I drove up to Raleigh that morning, followed the protests, wrote the story at a Denny’s that evening, Greg edited it while I drove back, and we finished production around 8 a.m.,” recalled Bradford. “I’m proud of the work we put in, and I’m thrilled the story was recognized. But, honestly, it’s just another example of the kind of work WFAE produces on a regular basis.”
Bradford joined WFAE in 2012. His coverage at the station has included the coal ash spill on the Dan River, a three-part series on North Carolina and climate change, the arrest of former Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon, and he is a regular contributor to WFAE Talks, a weekly podcast that gives analysis and behind-the-scenes information about topics making the news. This is his first national Murrow Award.
RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievement in electronic journalism with the Murrow Awards since 1971.