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KUT News Wins Digital Journalism Award for Serial Bombings Coverage

Emergency personnel work the scene of an explosion in Austin's Montopolis neighborhood during a series of bombings in March.

AUSTIN, Texas – Sept. 21, 2018 –KUT News coverage of the Austin serial bombings received an Online Journalism Award at the annual Online News Association conference in Austin Sept. 15.

KUT News won in the breaking news, small newsroom category honoring digital coverage within 36 hours of an unplanned breaking or developing news event. The award recognizes exceptional journalism, quality of writing, use of other media and creative use of digital and mobile platforms under deadline pressure.

Digital news editor Stephanie Federico, web producer Andrew Weber, senior multimedia producer Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, multimedia producers Gabriel C. Pérez and Julia Reihs, and the entire KUT news team, worked around the clock to report on what was initially believed to be an isolated incident and became a string of bombings that set off a three-week manhunt by the Austin Police Department and federal law enforcement.

KUT News published more than 30 stories online – the majority of which were digital-only. The team shared what they knew about the investigation through social media and push alerts, and provided content to NPR’s national audience on The digital team recorded videos of resident reactions and created a map of the bombing locations, as well as an interactive timeline.

Throughout the 21-day stretch, KUT News also covered larger discussions that weren’t on the national radar. While several outlets ran pieces that trivialized the violence and questioned Austin’s “weirdness,” KUT News’ coverage dug into the concern among minority communities that they were being intentionally targeted by the bomber. KUT News wrote thoughtful remembrances of the victims and reached out to community leaders.

After the dust settled, KUT News organized a town hall meeting to discuss how police handled the investigation. The livestream of the event made international news when interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley – criticized for calling the bomber a “troubled young man” – said he should have labeled the bomber a terrorist.

About KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station
KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, delivers in-depth stories by and about people in Austin – for Austin – with the highest journalistic standards from a variety of thoughtful perspectives. A founding member of NPR, KUT News has won more than 250 state, national and international awards for journalistic excellence. KUT’s work is directly supported by a community of sustaining members and local businesses whose investments power the news and conversations that matter to Austin.

Contact: Erin Geisler (512) 475-8071

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