STLPR and NPR’s Midwest Newsroom named finalists by IRE Awards
Journalism award season is underway and St. Louis Public Radio has received its first recognition of the season. Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. (IRE) recognized the station for in-depth coverage of Springfield’s groundwater contamination.
The investigative work was the product of The Midwest Newsroom, a partnership between NPR and member stations to provide investigative journalism and in-depth reporting in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
STLPR’s economic development reporter Eric Schmid and The Midwest Newsroom’s investigative editor Steve Vockrodt earned finalist recognition in the “Audio Small” category.
“This story took more than a year to develop and I'm incredibly thankful Steve and the other editors on this project believed in it, even when we didn't have much in the way of concrete evidence for months,” Schmid said. “It's a testament to the power of slow, steady and consistent reporting, and I'm proud that others in the journalism industry recognize that too.”
The year’s IRE winners were selected from more than 400 entries. The awards recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of 2022 in 10 categories, across a range of media platforms.
“The winners of the 2022 IRE Awards reflect the undeniable tenacity of journalists working day in and day out to hold powerful people and systems accountable,” said Barbara Rodriguez, chair of the IRE Awards contest committee. “Through a combination of narrative storytelling, data and compelling visuals, many of the entries this year put a spotlight on the lives of everyday people and showed the public the high stakes of policy choices on those lives."
The STLPR newsroom was honored to have a piece among the powerful stories recognized in this year's awards.
“The reporting Eric and his colleagues at the Midwest Newsroom produced is an example of the kind of journalism I love to see and want STLPR to continue — data-driven, service journalism that highlights the experiences of people in our region and holds authorities accountable,” said Ashley Lisenby, STLPR’s news director.
The Midwest Newsroom’s KCUR cohort was also named Winner of the IRE, Audio Small, for their “Overlooked” podcast, a compelling true crime story of a white Kansas City, Kansas, police detective who spent decades terrorizing Black residents.
STLPR and NPR's The Midwest Newsroom IRE Finalist Story | Audio Small