North State Public Radio Series Wins National Reporting Awards


The stories that North State Public Radio (NSPR) reported on the impacts of the historic camp fire and the global COVID-19 pandemic were recently recognized as national award winners.

The Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA) released the 2021 award list in late June, and two NSPR Newsroom series won awards in the Small Market Radio category.

“Radio saves lives,” that’s what one of our listeners told me the day before we launched our special COVID-19 coverage, ”said Sarah Bohannon, news director at NSPR (Journalism, ‘ 13), who oversaw both projects.

Bohannon and NSPR took those words to heart, airing a host of special episodes with a particular focus on each topic, just as the station did during the Oroville Dam Spillway incident in February 2017 and the camp fire in November 2018.

“At NSPR, our job is to be there when our community needs us,” said Bohannon. “I’m proud to say we were.

NSPR won first place in the Audience Engagement Program category for its series “Hunger in the burn scar. “For survivors of the deadliest fire in California history, the pandemic has been disaster upon disaster. But before the 2018 campfire or COVID-19 hit the region, the food insecurity was already pervasive.

Thanks to a community engagement grant from the Center for Health Journalism at USC Annenberg, the NSPR produced a program on the prevalence of enduring food insecurity in burn scar more than a year after the fire. The program contained five 30-minute episodes, and the reporting included months of engagement efforts, including filing in communities affected by the fire and a food insecurity survey that received over 100 responses and was shared with community agencies that lacked data.

The station also got second place in the Continuous Coverage category for “COVID-19 special coverage. “Three days before the pandemic triggered the shelter-in-place order in California, the NSPR press team created a 30-minute daily program covering COVID-19.

The episodes of the series contained a newsletter on the latest figures on local and national cases and deaths from the virus, reports and interviews with public health officials, law enforcement and politicians, scientists, agencies, nonprofits and community members. NSPR maintained this strong COVID-19 coverage for 90 episodes, which aired from March 16 to July 31, with the team working remotely.

“The NSPR has found a way to educate the region on a huge and rapidly changing history while overcoming technical challenges,” said Andre Byik, NSPR reporter. “I am happy that we have done so much good work in and for the community. “

PMJA presented 203 awards to 88 organizations, recognizing the best journalism work in public media across the country. The stations compete with others with similarly sized newsrooms, and the judges reviewed nearly 1,300 entries in total.

NSPR is a member station and service of California State University’s award-winning National Non-Commercial Public Radio, Chico, offering the best programming from national and international sources, as well as locally produced news, music and information programming. . Partnering with CapRadio since October 2020, NSPR has served communities in Northern California for over 50 years and can be heard on KCHO 91.7 FM Chico, KFPR 88.9 FM Redding and smaller translators in Burney, Chester, Dunsmuir, Mount Shasta, Greenville, Hayfork, Oroville, Weaverville and Westwood. NSPR can be heard online at

NSPR began broadcasting from CSU, Chico in 1969 from a room behind the Laxson Auditorium with a signal that extended to the city limits of Chico. Over the years, it acquired KFPR in Redding and, through broadcast translators, gradually expanded its signal to serve the valley and mountain communities of the Northern State. The station eventually moved to its current home at 35 Main Street, where it currently operates and broadcasts under the management of CapRadio in Sacramento.

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