, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, won four first-place awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia
in a virtual ceremony on September 18. One of the winning entries, a joint project with Vermont Public Radio about Vermont’s state-licensed assisted living and residential care homes, received a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association on October 10.
The AAN Awards recognize the most artful, compelling and courageous journalism produced each year by the alternative newsmedia. AAN member publications from cities like Austin, Chicago, Boston and Burlington compete against each other. This year’s contest included entries submitted by 55 publications in the U.S., Canada and Norway.
AAN awards included:
- A first place in the Health Care category for “Hooked: Stories and Solutions from Vermont’s Opioid Crisis,” written by Kate O’Neill. The judges called it “passionate, intrepid reporting. The personal story of loss blends with the big opioid crisis picture in exactly the right ways.” The series has also received awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association, and from Recovery Vermont. It was made possible in part by underwriting support from the Vermont Community Foundation, UVM Health Network and Pomerleau Real Estate.
- A first place in the Specialty Publication category for What’s Good: The Annual Field Guide to Burlington.
- A first place in the Multimedia Category for the Stuck in Vermont episode, “Lily Stilwell Competes in Gymkhana Ice Time Trials on Malletts Bay,” produced by Eva Sollberger and James Buck. When she was 19 years old, Stilwell was paralyzed from the chest down. Sollberger and Buck filmed her competing in the Sports Car Club of Vermont Ice Time Trials on Lake Champlain in February. Stilwell is the first person to compete in these single-car timed laps using hand controls — she accelerates and brakes using her hands instead of her feet.
- A first place in the Innovation category for “Worse for Care,” a joint investigation by Seven Days and Vermont Public Radio that exposed safety violations in Vermont’s state-regulated eldercare facilities. The series was produced at VPR by Emily Corwin and Mark Davis, and at Seven Days by Derek Brouwer, Matthew Roy, Candace Page, Andrea Suozzo and James Buck. Seven Days data editor Suozzo created a user-friendly searchable database — populated by the project team — that offers access to inspection reports and details their findings.
Find a full list of AAN award recipients here
Less than a month later, the RTDNA recognized “Worse for Care” with a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting. VPR and Seven Days
reporters spent months obtaining five and a half years’ worth of complaints and state inspections, detailed in thousands of pages of documents. The series revealed troubling patterns of inadequate care that led to dozens of injuries and indignities, and at least five deaths.
In a joint press release
from VPR and Seven Days
, the organizations noted that the Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious awards for news, recognizing local and national stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community. Murrow Award-winning work demonstrates the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession. A full list of 2020 Murrow Awards can be found here.