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St. Louis Public Radio wins 2022 PMJA Awards

St. Louis Public Radio received two journalism awards from the Public Media Journalists Association. The 2022 awards recognized 101 organizations, representing the best work in public media from across the country for the previous news year.

STLPR received first place in the news feature category, student division, for a piece on Black Missouri farmers by intern Paola Rodriguez who reported on the story for an episode of St. Louis on the Air.

Rodriguez is a multimedia journalist and Mizzou journalism school graduate. She worked for St. Louis Public Radio as a production assistant for St. Louis on the Air in 2021.

“Paola's story on a debt relief program meant to rectify decades of systemic discrimination against Black farmers expertly weaved together family history with current day policy,” said Emily Woodbury, senior producer of St. Louis on the Air.

“I’m grateful that PMJA felt similarly. Paola's passion for this story, and careful consideration of the people featured in it, is worthy of recognition.”

The station received a second place photojournalism award, AA Division, for coverage of the St. Louis high school band regional competition by Brian Munoz.

“Brian has made huge contributions to the quality of St. Louis Public Radio’s visual journalism since he joined the newsroom last year,” said Brian Heffernan, interim executive editor of the STLPR newsroom.

“This marching band story was the very first story he pitched,” Heffernan said. “His impact was immediate. He’s quite a talent.”

Before joining STLPR, Munoz worked at USA TODAY as a visual storyteller and was a multimedia correspondent at The Southern Illinoisan. As a former high school band member, he fondly recalled the camaraderie of competition.

“I can’t emphasize enough the absolute passion and dedication these students have to their craft,” Munoz said.

“There are countless hours, thousands of repetitions and lifelong bonds shared in the marching arts and I’m honored the judges chose to recognize our work around something so many are connected to. A huge thank you to Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds for allowing us to follow the O’Fallon Township Marching Panthers for this story.”

See more of Brian’s work and hear more stories on the people who live, work and create in our region each weekday on St. Louis on the Air.

As the Communications Specialist for St. Louis Public Radio, Fontella gets to showcase the award-winning local reporting, original programming and community engagement that make STLPR a beloved regional institution.

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