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VPM News 2019 Murrow Award Entry - Overall Excellence

VPM News serves approximately 150,000 listeners with our FM service in Central Virginia, the Northern Neck and Chase City with comprehensive coverage of state and local government, education, the courts and criminal justice, housing, education, history, arts and culture.

In 2019, VPM reporters and interns produced nearly 200 in-depth feature length stories and approximately 1500 different daily newscast pieces. Additionally, our digital news presence includes videos, slideshows, infographics and special content created for social media platforms. Our coverage spans from hard news and investigations to features and special series.

VPM News Audio Rundown 2019: 

0:00 - 4:05 Virginia Leadership Crisis

Just a few weeks into the always hectic General Assembly, VPM reporters faced a slew of breaking news in the course of 48 hours involving the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. Over the next month, the team filed more than 50 stories on the response to racist photos, wearing blackface and allegations of sexual assault as well as continuing to produce features and newscast coverage on the regular GA session. This entry includes the first feature filed after the scandal broke.

4:08-16:16 Evictions: One Year Later

A year after the New York Times reported that five Virginia cities were in the top ten for evicting residents, VPM reporters developed a multi-part series, crunching the data on the number of eviction filings since the story broke; examining new measures meant to reduce evictions; and profiling a family who couldn’t escape living in hotels following their evictions. The series had an impact. After our coverage, several people reached out to help the family we featured. It took several months, but before the end of the year, they finally moved into their own home. 

16:17-20:16 VPM Coverage Forces Changes At Times Dispatch

One of VPM’s most impactful stories of 2019, VCU President's Pro-Coliseum Op-Ed Ghostwritten By Developer, was reported by Ben Paviour and Roberto Roldan. The investigation broke news, prompted other news outlets to cover the topic, and led Richmond’s daily newspaper to make changes to its op-ed policies as well as publish stories of its own examining ethics and transparency.

20:16-27:01 Richmond Private School Reporting The Highest Number of Seclusions Announces Planned Changes To Staff Following VPM Investigation

Following the broadcast and publication of a series about the use of seclusion and restraint in private day schools serving students with disabilities, a Richmond-based private school told staff they planned changes to address some of their concerns. VPM News interviewed more than a dozen people with experience working in Faison classrooms during this investigation, the majority of whom told VPM News that they’re sometimes instructed not to report a seclusion if the door to the seclusion room isn’t completely closed but is just cracked slightly, or if a foot or a desk is wedged in the door. They requested anonymity because they said they feared retaliation.This entry includes the original investigation.   

27:01-31:35 VPM Adds Multimedia To Broadcast Coverage

VPM has expanded our broadcast coverage with multimedia content that allows us to examine different layers of a story and reach new audiences. In one of those stories, Amid Gentrification, Little-Known Tax Relief Program Could Help More Richmond Seniors Age In Place, we took both a data and human-interest approach. With a large part of the story focusing on the numbers behind a property tax relief program, we knew sharing the story of a long-time homeowner in the audio wasn’t enough. We also produced a narrative video exploring some of the nuances of her experiences that we weren’t able to address in the audio story. Additionally, we produced infographics to better visualize the data received through public records requests. 

31:35-36:21 VPM News Arts & Culture

VPM News also explores arts, culture and human stories. This year we produced a series called Virginia’s Country Music Roots, taking a trip to explore the lesser known side of the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention and meeting a Japanese Musician who built a temporary home as an artist and scholar in Appalachia; we profiled Tony Jackson and Bluegrass Star Sammy Shelor. Included in this entry is another feature from that series, a sound rich story tracing the influences of Rockabilly musician Janis Martin to R&B Queen Ruth Brown, discovering the two played a show together in their final years. 

36:25-38:51 VPM Newscast 5:30 PM, February 5, 2019

VPM's newscast for February 5, 2019 covers fallout and reaction to the leadership crisis in Virginia's capital including the response of Eastern Virginia Medical School to racist photos appearing on Gov. Ralph Northam's yearbook page and Virginia democrats reluctance to comment on allegations of sexual assault against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax.