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KVPR wins 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Award for investigation into student attendance and engagement in pandemic

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Soreath Hok
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KVPR
Just a few seniors attended in-person instruction at this economics class at Madera South High School in spring 2021.

KVPR's investigation into the gap between student attendance data and actual student engagement, amid distance learning in the pandemic, won a 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Award.

The Radio Television Digital News Association today honored KVPR with a National Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the highest honors in broadcast journalism. It is the first National Murrow Award in the station’s 44-year history.

The award honored a 2021 KVPR news report by Soreath Hok, who investigated the gap between official school attendance records and actual student engagement during distance-learning in the pandemic. The award came in the category of investigative reporting in the small market radio division. The report was produced by KVPR in collaboration with NPR’s California Newsroom.

A new California law required school districts to keep detailed attendance and engagement records to make sure students online didn’t fall behind. But a KVPR investigation found students were counted present when they did little more than log in, and attendance numbers didn’t reflect the frustrating reality of the school year.

“This story was one of the most challenging and rewarding pieces I've ever worked on. I'm proud that this story went beyond the data to tell a moving narrative about real people and the challenges they faced during the pandemic,” said Hok. “This is truly a career highlight and such an incredible honor to be recognized with this award. I'm so grateful and humbled to be a part of KVPR's amazing news team.”

Soreath Hok
Tomas Ovalle for KVPR
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KVPR reporter Soreath Hok

“We’re incredibly proud of Soreath’s reporting on this critically important topic,” said KVPR President and General Manager Joe Moore. "Soreath’s investigation helped highlight the shortcomings of distance learning in local schools during the pandemic, and how it ultimately shortchanged students. The National Murrow Awards are a great honor for the station and our newsroom, we are so grateful for the recognition, alongside some of the finest broadcast journalists and newsrooms in the nation."

A complete list of the 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Honorees is available here.

National Edward R. Murrow Award
RTDNA
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Edward R. Murrow Awards
The 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Award

“The Edward R. Murrow Awards are among the most prestigious in journalism,” said RTDNA President and CEO Dan Shelley in a press release. “More than 750 Regional Murrow winners advanced to the national competition, and over the past few months, an expert panel of journalists has meticulously reviewed and deliberated over every entry. That’s why I’m confident in saying today’s winners represent the absolute best of the best. So let me be the first to say congratulations to our newest National Edward R. Murrow Award winners.”

According to the RTDNA, there were more than 5,200 entries this year. In May, RTDNA recognized winners of the Regional Murrow Awards, which automatically advanced to the national competition. KVPR won three Regional Murrow Awards this year.

“Thank you to every journalist who played a role in the pieces that were submitted,” said RTDNA Chair Allison McGinley in a press release. “Not everyone can be a Murrow Award winner, but all of you make a difference in your communities. Thank you for the work you do.”

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