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St. Lawrence News

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North Country Public Radio (NCPR) has been honored with five 2008 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence from the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA). NCPR's five awards represent the most wins in its region.

The association received 3,459 entries from regions across the country. Judges gave awards in 14 categories, including overall excellence, spot news, continuing coverage and investigative reporting, among others. The stories honored represent the broad reach of NCPR's regional news department: hard news, human interest, newscast and use of sound.

The station's awards:

- Best Continuing Coverage for Assistant News Director and Reporter David Sommerstein's year-long series, "Immigration in the North Country." Sommerstein's reports followed immigration issues closely, especially on area farms.

- Best Hard News Feature for "Hydropower Comes at a Cost for the Cree." Adirondack Bureau Chief Brian Mann traveled to far northern Quebec, where the province's power company, Hydro-Quebec, is moving forward with the latest in a series of monumental hydroelectric projects, one that will uproot and re-channel the Rupert River, which is sacred to the Cree who live nearby.

- Best Newscast for "All Before Five," NCPR's newest news program. Every weekday at 4:45 p.m. reporter and host Jonathan Brown brings the region up to date on the day's news and NCPR's most interesting stories; the award-winning show, aired August 21, 2007, featured Sommerstein reporting on villagers' opposition to Wal-Mart's request for village sewage lines for a new supercenter and Jonathan Brown's nighttime encounter with bats during a study at Fort Drum.

- Best News Series for "Farm to Farm, Family to Family." In January of 2007, Sommerstein traveled with a group of northern New York dairy farmers to a mountain town in Mexico called Malacatepec. The three-part series examined this complex issue from the perspectives of the farmers, the workers and a North Country town being introduced to its first migrant workers.

- Best Use of Sound for "Winter Dash to Avalanche Lake." In the High Peaks last winter, snow covered the trails and temperatures plunged to double-digits below zero. Mann and his friend Bob Martin, from Saranac Lake, skied the trail to Avalanche Pass and sent an "audio postcard" that skillfully used the sounds of the day to put listeners right on the trail.

Regional winners automatically become eligible for the national awards competition, which will be judged in early June. NCPR, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has won numerous regional awards in past years, and two National Edward R. Murrow awards. All of the winning news stories can be heard on the Web, at ncpr.org

Posted: April 24, 2008

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