The Edward R. Murrow Award
Today was a great day. Well, actually, Friday was pretty fantastic. My editor called me in a panic asking where I was and to call the Executive Editor immediately. Where’s the fire [literally]? My editor’s panic was actually excitement: I had won the 2014 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. The weekend went smoothly [understatement] from there. Today the news is official and myself and the Burlington Free Press video team, a small but scrappy three-man team, learned we took home five regional Murrow Awards. Incredible. My video, Marathon Curbside Cheer Party, offered an alternative view of the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon as one gregarious family honored a 20-year tradition of cheering for the runners from their front lawn. Characters indeed.
These five Murrow awards mark the first time the Burlington Free Press has entered the prestigious broadcast news competition. I can’t thank my editors enough for their foresight. After all, we’ve been chasing video stories and improving our shooting and editing skills over this past year and to receive a nod from Murrow validated all of that hard work. A small newspaper breaking into broadcast media storytelling…I’ll take it.
It hasn’t been easy but it’s been rewarding to learn and hone a new craft. I spent the first quarter of last year away from home learning and teaching video techniques to this company and came back with a renewed sense of purpose. So much of last year was spent teaching others that I returned feeling a void in my own personal work. I hadn’t shot a photo or video in three months – it felt foreign. When the opportunity presented itself to dig into a long-term video story, I jumped into it. The story that kickstarted my own personal work was called “Waiting for Breath” and followed 50-year-old Tammy Shackett as she anxiously awaits a new pair of lungs. Tammy waits for the phone to ring, everyday, in the hopes she’ll get the call to make the immediate and life-changing drive to the hospital. A few weeks ago I learned I was selected as a finalist in the National Press Photographers Best of Photojournalism competition for that video. Truly honored. I’m incredibly proud of this solo project, so to see my name alongside large broadcast news operations and one other newspaper, The New York Times, was a sweet moment.
So, thank you Tammy, the Sweeney family, Murrow, the NPPA and my crew at the Burlington Free Press for supporting me. Congratulations to my editor Ryan Mercer for his Murrow awards and to the rest of the Vermont media companies recognized today. Thank you!