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KAZU News Wins Two Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

KAZU News has won two Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for its work in 2020. The Radio Television Digital News Association honors outstanding achievements in electronic journalism annually through these awards.



Winning entries will advance to the National Murrow Award competition.


Here are the categories KAZU won in:


Breaking News Coverage - UC Santa Cruz Grad Students Take Strike To Next Level

KAZU’s News Director Erika Mahoney reported on the UC Santa Cruz Students And Workers Strike For Higher Pay. She continued her coverage of the story with breaking news of graduate students walking off their jobs — UC Santa Cruz Grad Students Take Strike To Next Level. NPR later picked up several of her stories, including UC Santa Cruz Fires Over 70 Striking Graduate Teaching Assistants and University Of California, Santa Cruz, Rehires Student Assistants Fired In Spring.


Continuing Coverage - Four Major Wildfires Engulf California’s Central Coast


When four major wildfires engulfed the Monterey Bay region in the summer of 2020, the KAZU news team worked to keep listeners and readers informed. Thanks to assistance from the California Newsroom, freelancers were brought in to help with the coverage, which included on air features, a regularly updated blog and breaking news announcements by KAZU Morning Edition and All Things Considered hosts. Here are the stories that contributed to our coverage and to the award:


KAZU’s Erika Mahoney covered the evacuation of animals in Horses, Alpacas And Emus Evacuated As River Fire Burns Near Salinas. She also covered how local farm workers were Harvesting Under Smoky Skies. This story later aired nationally


KAZU’s Michelle Loxton looked into Days And Days Of Bad Air Quality Anticipated For Monterey Bay Region and What Wildfire Response Looks Like On The Central Coast During COVID-19. She later produced this story: To Flee Or Not To Flee: The Stories Of Central Coast Wildfire Evacuees. When most of the fires were contained, Loxton looked at Long-Term Impacts Of Wildfire On The Central Coast’s Environmental Jewels. And when the fires were out and the rainy season approached, she looked at how Debris Flows Are A Significant Risk For The Monterey Bay Region This Winter


KAZU’s Doug McKnight reported on Looting In Evacuated Areas In Santa Cruz County Leads to Arrests


NPR’s KROC 2019-2020 Fellow Hannah Hagemann brought us the story: Fire Refugees Overwhelm Santa Cruz County. Hagemann also reported on Firefighters Continue Attack On CZU Lightning Complex Even After Flames Recede and In Bonny Doon, Residents Who Stayed Behind Wonder What’s Next. Hagemann looked into post wildfire effects too in Santa Cruz County Drinking Water Takes A Hit After Wildfire


Doug McKnight and Hannah Hagemann collaborated on Between The Wildfire And The Pandemic, Santa Cruz Residents Are Anxious And Tired


Freelance reporter Caitlin Thompson brought us this story: For Carmel Valley Fire Survivors, A Complicated And Emotional Road Lies Ahead. Thompson also managed the newsroom’s digital and social media coverage of the wildfires, which included a blog for each of the four fires. 


With these honors, KAZU News has won a total of 29 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and two National Edward R. Murrow Awards since 2007. KAZU competes in Region 2 Small Market Radio. Region 2 covers California, Hawaii and Nevada. 

Erika joined KAZU in 2016. Her roots in radio began at an early age working for the independent community radio station in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. After graduating from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 2012, Erika spent four years working as a television reporter. She’s very happy to be back in public radio and loves living in the Monterey Bay Area.
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