Michigan Radio Wins Two PMJA Awards for Prison Stories
Michigan Radio was recognized with two awards from the Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA). The station won first place in the documentary category for Life on the Inside and second place in the interview category for “Jackson corrections officer talks about mental health toll of working in a prison.”
In fall, 2019, a dozen Michigan Radio and Stateside reporters and photographers spent the day at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, MI. The team was given unprecedented access to the staff and inmates at the facility. The Life on the Inside documentary, hosted by Lester Graham, and the accompanying multi-media website presented the stories of the men serving life in prison there, and what life on the inside is really like for them.
In a separate prison-related story, Stateside host Cynthia Canty interviewed Cary Johnson, a corrections officer at Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson. In the past two years, the Cotton Correctional Facility has lost four correctional officers to suicide. The interview, “Jackson corrections officer talks about mental health toll of working in a prison,” looked at the stress involved in working in the high-pressure, and sometimes violent, environment of the prison.
Michigan Radio was the only public radio station in Michigan to be recognized with a PMJA Award this year. The station competes in Division AA, which is for the nation’s largest public radio stations, with news staffs of 16 or more.
The Public Media Journalists Association is a non-profit professional association that exists to improve local news and information programming by serving public radio journalists across the United States. Their annual awards honor the best work being done by local public radio stations across the country, with stations competing against others with similar sized newsrooms. The awards were presented at the organization’s first ever Virtual Awards Gala on June 25.