By Denise Perreault
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – The Associated Press honored seven Rhode Island broadcasters in its annual Massachusetts/Rhode Island contest this year, including WPRI-TV CBS 12, which was named News Station of the Year for the Providence market the seventh consecutive year.
“I’m most proud of the ‘Station of the Year’ award because it shows a real team effort,” said Joe Abouzeid, news director at WPRI and sister station WNAC-TV Fox 64. “Winning this award for an unprecedented seven straight years is really special, and we are thankful.”
The News Station of the Year award is presented each year to the top TV or radio station among the AP’s members in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Stations are judged on quality and consistent contributions to AP news reports.
In addition to Station of the Year, WPRI won four other awards: Best Newscast, for Eyewitness News at 11; Best Continuing Coverage for “Government Waste,” a Target 12 series; and Best Feature Reporting and Best Feature Videography for “Street Stories – Bocce.”
Winning five AP awards for the first time in its history was Rhode Island public radio station WRNI-AM 1290, the state’s National Public Radio affiliate. As recently as four years ago, the station had no reporters at all, and now it has five, said Joe O’Connor, WRNI’s general manager.
“This reflects the investment we have made in covering local news with the same standard that National Public Radio employs for its national and international coverage,” he said. “The awards “reflect the rebuilding of our newsroom. … It is great to have The Associated Press recognize the work we have done.”
WRNI won Best Continuing Coverage for “Health Care Reform”; Best Hard News Feature, “Newport’s Homeless Students”; Best Feature Reporting, “A Different Kind of Ballet Class”; Best Use of Sound, “Foster Parrots”; and Best Public Affairs Reporting for its Political Roundtable segment on Friday mornings.
“I am proud of our reporters,” said Anthony Brooks, WRNI’s news director. “I have been in this business 30 years, many of those years with National Public Radio, and I’ve never worked with reporters who are this good.”
The awards were presented in April but the full list was not available until now. Other local winners were:
WPRO-AM 630 for Best Breaking News, “Boat yard fire”; Investigative Reporting, “R.I.’s Dirty Little Secret”; and Best Newscast.
WLNE-TV ABC 6 for Investigative Reporting, “Dream Makers,” and Best Hard News Feature, “Made in Rhode Island Kettlebells.”
WJAR-TV NBC 10 for Best Website for turnto10.com.
WHJJ-AM 920 for Best Talk Show, “The Helen Glover Show.”
In the college division, WBRU-FM 95.5 took home four awards: Best Continuing Coverage, “Closing R.I. Prostitution Loophole” ; Best Website, wbru.com; Best Sports Feature, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” ; and Best Sports Program, “The Sports Rundown.”