WNIJ News received an award in the annual Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) competition for 2016. The award was presented Friday, June 23, at the PRNDI gathering in Miami, FL. PRNDI awarded WNIJ News second-place in best news series for “Great Lakes Basin Railroad: Down the Line.”
The Great Lakes Basin Railroad (GLBR) was conceived in 2009 as a way to alleviate rail freight congestion through the Chicago rail yards and to provide other benefits to manufacturers and freight companies, as well as to their customers. The WNIJ newsroom covered the controversy in many areas along the originally proposed route and its subsequent variations as affected residents and others protested what they saw as negative aspects of GLBR. This five-part series, which began Monday, December 12, 2016, looked at the following aspects of the GLBR project:
- Part One: What is the Great Lakes Basin Railroad? WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley and Susan Stephens discuss the project and its plans.
- Part Two: What does the GLBR project mean for the environment? WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley explores the possible environmental impact of the proposed route.
- Part Three: How will the GLBR acquire land for the proposed route? WNIJ’s Chase Cavanaugh explains the options available to the railroad for getting the property it will need.
- Part Four: How do affected landowners feel about the GLBR project? WNIJ’s Susan Stephens talks with property owners who would be affected along the proposed route.
- Part Five: What could the GLBR project mean for local economies? WNIJ’s Guy Stephens talked with an enthusiastic Rochelle official and Chase Cavanaugh found more ambivalence from economic planners in Rockford about the potential value of the railroad.
Staci Hoste, director and general manager of the station, congratulates the WNIJ newsroom: “We celebrate the quality and integrity of journalism informing our listeners every day. It is outstanding to be recognized by a national organization for the work we do to keep our listeners well-informed. Congratulations to Jenna, Susan, Chase and Guy, and the entire team of WNIJ reporters.”