Recently recognized at the national level for its journalism, KUER won six first-place awards last night from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists 2019 Headliners contest, including radio reporter of the year.
Lee Hale earned the judges’ pick as the state’s best radio reporter, marking the third time in the last four years that KUER has earned that top honor. Overall, KUER garnered 15 awards, including other first-place wins for reporting on business, education and government. RadioWest, which is on hiatus this summer, won first place in the Public Affairs/Talk Show category for its episode on Sen. Orrin Hatch and his legacy. Judges ranked the work of local radio journalists across 17 categories.
The Utah honors come on the heels of national awards KUER won Saturday at the annual Public Radio News Director Incorporated contest, which honors the best journalism from local public radio stations around the country.
Nate Hegyi, Utah reporter for the regional collaborative Mountain West News Bureau, won top honors in the soft feature category for “What My Dad And I Learned In Hunting Class,” his personal account of hunting for the first time. Filmmaker Kelsie Moore and Hale won first place for their multi-media presentation with the RadioWest Film, “Will You Be Here Next Year?’: Keeping Teachers On The Navajo Reservation.”
Hale, who is launching a podcast later this year that will focus on faith and religion, won first- and second-place awards for his education coverage for stories on a homeless student and retaining teachers on the Navajo Nation as well as the top spot for best radio newscast for his story on Salt Lake’s Pretty Bird restaurant. He took home two other third-place awards for a series on faith and belief and continuing coverage of the response to sexual abuse in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Nicole Nixon, who covers politics and government for KUER, grabbed a first-place award for her government reporting for her story on Utah’s Love-Hate Relationship With The Caucus-Convention System and second place awards for radio newscast and continuing coverage for her reporting on the 2018 midterm elections.
Veteran environmental reporter Judy Fahys won first and third place awards for business/consumer reporting for her stories on the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline and efforts to conserve water in Utah and how the reduction of national monuments in southern Utah affected local businesses.
KUER also took second- and third-place awards for its reporting on minority issues, with honors going to former KUER editor and reporter Julia Ritchey and immigration and growth reporter Rocio Hernandez. Ritchey also came in second for radio reporter of the year.