Winner: Third Coast Award for Best News Feature

IMG_4607I’m beyond thrilled to announce that my colleagues and I were awarded a 2015 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Best News Feature. This is like a Sundance Award for audio and it’s something I’ve been working towards for a long time – the fulfillment of a major career goal. Here’s my speech, given at the ChiArts High School on Oct 26 in front of a room full of radio makers whom I greatly admire:

First I want to thank Axel Kronholm, the reporter for this story. He can’t be here because he’s back in Burma, reporting on the upcoming election there. He wrote this short note:

If I could have been there, I would have taken the opportunity to encourage the other journalists and editors in the room to do more stories about the Rohingya. I think it’s a topic we really need to cling on to. Because it’s a dark and slippery slope if we start accepting this discrimination as a state of normalcy that “just is”. It’s not acceptable.

The election I’m about to cover in Burma on November 8th is organized under the slogan “free and fair”. The Rohingya, however, are not allowed to take part and vote or run as candidates. That’s nothing other than an apartheid system.

Axel is amazing. And so deserving of this honor. I’m grateful to the whole team at America Abroad for giving us an opportunity to share important stories like this one, and especially to my colleague, Rob Sachs, for his endless patience, calm, and good humor.

And finally, just on a personal note, I came to my first Third Coast in 2003, just a couple years out of journalism school, and I was so impressed and excitedabout everything that went on there (even though I had an audio Doctor session with Ira Glass and he ripped my story to shreds) But above all, I felt like I had found my people. And I sat at the awards ceremony, completely awed by the brilliant work and amazing talent in that room – I decided – I want to do that – I want to make that – I want to win that.

So 12 years later – I’m honored and humbled and so freakin’ excited to have my name on this amazing award. Thank you!

And here’s the story for which we won the award. Tough stuff to hear.

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