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Aspen Public Radio news team wins two PMJA awards

Halle Zander in studio
Breeze Richardson / Aspen Public Radio
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The Aspen Public Radio news team has been recognized with two national awards from the Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA), with "All Things Considered" anchor and reporter Halle Zander, earning second place in the “Best Sports Feature” category for her story, “New skier with ALS tackles Snowmass, proving the disease can’t hold her back,” and second place for her contribution to the station's series, "In the Woods" on trees and climate change.

The Aspen Public Radio news team has been recognized with two national awards for reporting. The awards, honoring exemplary work done in the 2021 calendar year, were announced at the 2022 conference for the Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA) in Seattle over the weekend.

Representing PMJA Division B, Aspen Public Radio took home a second place award for “Best Series” for the station’s 2021 In the Woods series on climate change and trees in the Roaring Fork Valley. The three-part series engaged local sources to report on the growing threat of beetle-kill pines; the history of the Heritage Fruit Tree Project, how sustainable permaculture technology is being applied to local tree farming practices; and the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed aspen management plan for more than 375,000 acres in the nearby White River National Forest. Support for In the Woods was generously provided by The Longview Foundation of Minnesota.

Additionally, reporter Halle Zander won second place for “Best Sports Feature” for her story, “New skier with ALS tackles Snowmass, proving the disease can’t hold her back,” which highlighted the story of Asia Jami, who has ALS and wanted to learn how to ski. Jami’s visit to the Valley was made possible by Aspen Skiing Company, Team Gleason, and local organization Challenge Aspen. Challenge Aspen CEO Lindsay Cagley says, "we loved Halle’s piece on Asia’s story. We all feel it is so important to elevate stories of what is possible for those with disabilities. True excellence!”

Aspen Public Radio executive director Breeze Richardson says, “I’m so proud of our news team for winning these awards. It really demonstrates our commitment to being a resource for quality broadcast journalism in our community, and advances Aspen Public Radio’s national reputation as a leader in reporting on engaging, locally relevant news.”

Overall, PMJA gave out 221 awards to over 100 organizations, out of more than 1,500 entries. The awards recognize the best work in public media journalism from across the country, and stations compete against others with similar-sized newsrooms. PMJA Division B represents stations with four to seven full-time news team members. To learn more about all the 2022 winners, visit https://pmja.org/pmja-announces-2022-award-winners/.