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SPJ announces recipients of the 2007 New America Award

For Immediate Release:

Heather Porter, Programs Coordinator, 317-927-8000 ext. 204
Ginny Frizzi, Awards and Honors Committee, 412-392-3987

Indianapolis — The Society of Professional Journalists announced today the recipients of its New America Award. First-place recipients are Karen Frillmann from WNYC, New York Public Radio and Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska of the Polish Daily News for the series, “Polish Immigrants in a Changing City.” No other places were awarded in the contest.

This is the fourth year for the award, which honors public service journalism collaborations that include ethnic media in order to explore and expose an issue of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities in the United States. The award will be presented at the society’s annual Sigma Delta Chi Awards banquet July 11 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The winning work was a two-part series about New York’s Polish immigrant community produced for WNYC, New York Public Radio by Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, a reporter for the Polish Daily News. The first part of the series, “Feet in Two Worlds: Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” examined the impact of gentrification on the residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood that is the hub of New York’s Polish Community. Through the piece, broadcast on May 23, 2007, Kern-Jedrychowska was able to bring a fresh perspective on the story of old-age neighborhood transformation to public radio listeners.

The second part in the series, “Asbestos Workers Who Toiled Near Ground Zero Sick 6 Years Later,” focused on Polish immigrants living and working in New York. For the report, Kern-Jedrychowska teamed up with WNYC reporter Fred Mogul, who often reports on health issues. They told the story of unionized Polish asbestos workers who were assigned to clean up duties near Ground Zero. The piece was broadcast on September 11, 2007 during WNYC’s commemoration of the terrorist attacks.

About her work on the project, Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska said, “As an ethnic press reporter I get tremendous benefit from this collaboration. Not only are stories from my community being told to the broader audience, but I’m also able to obtain certain information from government agencies and hospitals whose representative are not very responsive to phone calls from ethnic press journalists. They do however respond to phone calls from mainstream media.”

Both of the pieces that made up the winning entry were edited and mixed at WNYC. They were both produced under the auspices of Feet in Two Worlds, a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School that brings the work of ethic media journalists to public radio. For more information on the Feet in Two Worlds project, please visit www.feetin2worlds.org.

One judge said, “Kern-Jedrychowska skillfully used her insight and connection with the Polish community to illuminate important stories that need to be told. In the asbestos story, specifically, she helped put a human face to a startling tragedy. Ethnic-mainstream collaborations like these are important not only to ensure these stories get done, but also to ensure they reach a wide audience.”

For complete details on the New America Award, please visit www.spj.org or contact Programs Coordinator, Heather Porter at 317-927-8000 ext. 204.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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