Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Associated Press Broadcasters Association has honored WUGA, 91.7/97.9 FM public radio for the Athens area, with the 2008 Pacemaker Award for Outstanding News Operation, the top honor given in the statewide competition. WUGA won in the category for all stations outside of the Atlanta market.
The award was based on the six first place awards that WUGA News Director Mary Kay Mitchell gathered for her coverage of the Athens area.
Mitchell won Best Feature Reporting and Best Use of Sound for a profile of Nature’s Harmony, an organic meat farm near Elberton. The farm is one of only a handful in the state that has pasture-raised livestock that aren’t exposed to any artificial feed or chemicals.
Best General Reporting honors went to Mitchell’s story on a re-enactment of the 1946 mass lynching at the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County. New leads have recently opened in the unsolved civil rights murders of four African-American sharecroppers.
An Athens-Clarke County police training exercise was the center of Mitchell’s award-winning piece for Best Spot News. Mitchell recorded the sounds of the police simulating a situation in which a gunman took hostages on the University of Georgia campus.
A visit to the set of the Somebodies television program resulted in the Best Specialized Reporting award. Mitchell explored the economic impact of filming the series in Athens. The series was the first scripted show for the Black Entertainment Television network.
Mitchell also won Best Series Reporting for a year-long series of stories on Athens as one of the finalist sites for the location of the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense facility, a federal lab designed to research dangerous animal diseases.
WUGA Station Manager Steve Bell says that the Pacemaker Award is the most prestigious honor in Georgia broadcasting. According to Bell, “We are pleased and honored that work by the staff of WUGA-FM was recognized with the top award given by the Associated Press.”
For more information on WUGA, see http://www.wuga.org/.