WPR WINS PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARD FOR DIVERSITY COVERAGE
Hmong Features Earn Recognition from Radio-Telvision News Directors Association (RTNDA) and UNITY Organization for Minority Journalists
Wisconsin Public Radio won the annual UNITY Award for Large Market Radio this year, for six features examining the Hmong-American community in the state.
As part of the winning submission, acting news director Brian Bull presented WPR's news philosophy on multiculturalism. His statement is as follows:
“Covering Diversity” is not a feel-good catch-phrase – it’s an obligation. An obligation to provide accurate, in-depth coverage of our community in every aspect. As many of our listeners regard us as their primary source of news and information, it’s vital that we present genuine, authentic voices of diverse groups, as the “darkening” of America continues. Our mission is to dispel stereotypes and erroneous assumptions; allow people to celebrate both similarities and differences among racial and ethnic populations; and foster a better understanding of multiculturalism in our own newsroom as well as community.
"This year was particularly important for fulfilling this mission, as roughly 3600 Hmong refugees arrived in Wisconsin. These new arrivals hail from the mountainous terrain of Laos, and have long practiced an agrarian, animistic culture.
"In our numerous reports on the Hmong, we strived to highlight their unique traditions (“Hmong Graduation Ceremony”), and how they’ve become influenced by mainstream American values (“Asian Summer Festival”). In many cases, the transition has been beneficial (“Hmong and Bi-lingual Education”), though in other cases, the changing of societal roles has sparked conflict in many Hmong-American households which has warranted special services (“Tsim Txom: Domestic Violence in Hmong Society”).
|"It was our goal to recognize the challenges and accomplishments of the newly-arrived Hmong settlers, which in turn has created some great relationships between our news department and community leaders."
The winning entry was comprised of the following reports, produced by Bull, Gil Halsted, and then-WPR intern Julia Monczunski:
Hmong Graduation Ceremony (aired 7/18/05)
Hmong and Bilingual Education (aired 7/22/05)
Kajsiab House (aired 8/2/05)
Asian Summer Festival (aired 8/29/05)
Hmong Fund (aired 11/22/05)
Tsim Txom - Domestic Violence in Hmong Society (aired 12/30/05)
All entries can be heard by clicking on their title, on computers with RealMedia player.
Bull (front row, center) accepted the UNITY Award on behalf of Wisconsin Public Radio at the annual RTNDA Awards Dinner on October 16th, 2006 in New York City. Previous winners of the UNITY Award include NPR, WNYC-New York, ABC News, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Latino USA, South Dakota Public
Radio, and BBC Spanish.