WORT Wins 8 ‘2021 Excellence in Journalism Awards’
Over the weekend, the WORT News Department won eight awards in audio categories in the 2021 Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism Awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, including three gold awards.
We’re thrilled and honored to be in such good company with news outlets across the state. A full list of award winners is available here.
Here’s a recap:
🥇 Stu Levitan: Best Writing
Feature producer Stu Levitan took home the gold in the Best Writing in an Audio Story category, for an episode of his weekly local history feature, Madison in the Sixties. In this episode, Levitan recounts two seminal moments in boxing— an appearance by the teenage Cassius Clay in the 1959 elimination trials for the Pan American Games, and the tragic death of beloved UW Badger boxer Charlie Mohr after a bout in the 1960 NCAA tournament.”
🥇 Carrie Ann Welsh: Best Long Soft Feature Story
Feature producer Carrie Ann Welsh took hold of the gold in the Best Long Soft Feature Story category, for her story on a pet memorial in Waunakee. It’s the final resting place for many beloved pets, from pet dogs to police K-9s, from birds to bunnies – even horses are buried at the Waunakee Pet Memorial. Welsh visited the local pet cemetery on a full moon for her feature, Desire Lines.
🥇 Jonah Chester & Nate Wegehaupt: Best Coverage of a Single or Ongoing Breaking News Story
Assistant News Director Nate Wegehaupt and former Assistant News Director Jonah Chester took home the gold in the Best Coverage of a Single or Ongoing Breaking News Story category for their reports from the Reindahl Park encampment. Reported more than six months apart, Chester and Wegehaupt spoke to unhoused individuals residing there as the permissibility of the encampment teetered in regulatory limbo. Read more here and here.
🥈 Helena White: Best Pandemic Story in Audio
Contributor Helena White took the silver in the Best Pandemic Story in Audio category, for her profile of her nonagenarian mother living through pandemic lockdown.
🥈 Jonah Chester: Best Long Hard Feature Story
Former Assistant News Director Jonah Chester took home a silver award in the Best Long Hard Feature Story category, for his profile of Madison’s crisis response team as they hit the road. In the summer of 2021, the small team of paramedics and mental health counselors began responding to certain 911 calls downtown, with the goal to reduce reliance on the Madison Police Department for certain non-violent crises. Chester shadowed the team out of their office at the Willy Street fire station a few weeks after the program got off the ground.
🥉 Ryan Wollersheim: Best Long Soft Feature Story
Former reporter Ryan Wollersheim took home the bronze in the Best Long Soft Feature Story category for his profile of the Southside Raiders Youth Football and Cheerleading Program, entitled “Smiles, High Fives, and Juice Boxes.” Ryan took visited the Raiders Program multiple times, as the program started up after being shut down during the pandemic, to speak with coaches, directors, parents, and students.
🥉 Nate Carlin: Best Short Hard Feature Story, Bronze
Reporter Nate Carlin took home the bronze in the Best Short Hard Feature Story category for reporting as part of his local waste series, Wasteland. In this episode, Carlin looked at the food we throw away – that composes about 20% of the Dane County landfill, according to one report – and dove deep into a possible project to install an anaerobic digester facility in Madison.
🥉 Best Coverage of a Single or Ongoing Breaking News Story
Three news reporters took home the bronze for Best Coverage of a Single or Ongoing Breaking News Story category for their follow-up on the use of police use of chemical weapons during summer 2020 racial justice protests in Madison.
Former news producer Jonah Chester and news director Chali Pittman analyzed the Madison Police Department’s use of chemical weapons during those protests within the context of historical trends, and highlighted personal accounts of chemical weapons from protestors and police officers themselves.
News reporter Sam Kodzik capped off our coverage by reporting on the Madison city council’s inaction on the Madison Police Department’s report on their use of tear gas.
🥇 Collegiate Winner: Best News Story Single or Ongoing
In addition to the awards won by the WORT News Department, we’re also honored to regularly air another award winner. Hope Karnopp took home the gold in Best News Story Single or Ongoing (audio) for an episode about students getting scammed over digital football tickets.
Karnopp is the producer of The Cardinal Call, a weekly feature about UW-Madison campus news, produced by The Daily Cardinal and aired on WORT’s local news.