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WVIK News honored with multiple awards

May  06, 2013

The news department of WVIK Augustana Public Radio was recognized this year with eight awards for journalistic excellence; three from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association and five more from the Iowa Broadcast News Association.

News editor and morning news anchor Michelle O’Neill was involved in all eight awards, sharing one with WVIK News Director Herb Trix for political coverage.

Michelle O'Neill and Herb Trix

“I am especially proud of the awards for our investigative and political reporting,” said WVIK General Manager Jay Pearce, adding that political coverage is one of the best examples of how a strong news department can have a direct impact on the democratic process.

O’Neill submitted four stories to the news competition. All four won awards, with three recognized by both the Illinois and Iowa news associations. “This is what I really like to do; work on features, original reporting stories,” she said. “I’m just a curious person.”

During the school year, WVIK also employs a cadre of students from Augustana College to work in the newsroom as radio reporters. One of the student reporters, Lynn Reinacher, a senior, said she has worked with both Trix and O’Neill, and learned a lot from both.

“I think one thing I have learned is to take big stories and then make them relevant to the people of the Quad Cities,” she said. “It’s easy to report on big issues, but it’s much more difficult and at the same time much more important to localize those issues and to tell the stories of local people that were affected or impacted.”

O’Neill happens to be working on one of those stories right now about climate change. “If ocean levels are rising,” she asked, “how will that affect us in the Midwest, the farmers and navigation on the Mississippi?” All eight awards for WVIK were in recognition of work done in 2012.

The Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association announced winners in its Journalism Excellence Contest March 11 at its convention in Urbana. The Iowa Broadcast News Association announced its awards April 20 at its convention in Johnston, Iowa.

O"Neill's story "New Challenges for Food Banks" won first place for "use of actuality" in the Iowa contenst.

Her story "Arts Mean Business" won second place for use of actuality in Iowa and second place for use of sound in Illinois

"Cameras and Microphones in the Courtroom — A Look Back", also by O'Neill, won second place for in-depth feature in Iowa and first-place investigative report in Illinois.

Her feature "Kone Tour" about the new Kone building in downtown Moline took third place for feature in Iowa and second place for light feature in Illinois.

O'Neill and Trix won second place in Iowa for their political coverage in 2012.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833