She won the award for her story “Rick’s Picks: Cheap Trick guitarist’s life on display in Rockford,” a feature which aired Aug. 13, 2012, during Morning Edition.
The story chronicled the Burpee Museum of Natural History exhibition of guitars and other memorabilia from the collection of Rick Nielsen, founder of the Rockford-based rock band Cheap Trick, and interviews with Nielsen and his son, Miles.
Stephens competed against public radio news departments and reporters in Division B from across the country in winning this award.
Earlier this year, Stephens also was named “Best Newswriter” in the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association competition. She also won first-place AP awards for Best Light Feature for her story “Fifty Years of Old-School Country at WLUV” and Best Use of Sound for her story “Maple Sugaring in Illinois.”
Stephens currently serves as vice president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.
Formerly WNIJ’s news director, she asked to return to the role of full-time reporter/anchor in 2010. She says her goal is “to tell the most compelling stories in the fewest words possible … all the better if a little humor can be thrown into the mix.”