ROCKFORD (WREX) — 13 WREX has been awarded three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including the top honor of "Overall Excellence" for the fifth consecutive year.
13 WREX also won for "News Series" and "Excellence in Video," marking the third year in a row the station has received three regional awards.
The awards were announced Tuesday morning by the Radio Television Digital News Association. The Edward R. Murrow Awards recognize outstanding achievement in electronic journalism.
This is the fifth straight year 13 WREX has been honored with the award for "Overall Excellence." This category recognizes a station for the totality of its journalistic efforts, including breaking news, continuing coverage, weather, sports, community service and digital media.
"Winning the award for 'Overall Excellence' for a fifth straight year is a spectacular accomplishment for our news team," said Josh Morgan, station manager at 13 WREX. "We have a team that prides itself on telling stories that matter to the communities we serve, and I couldn't be prouder of the work they've accomplished."
In the "News Series" category, 13 WREX was honored for its month-long series on Scott's Law called Lives on the Line. The 13 News team produced several stories to help viewers understand the dangerous safety implications law enforcement, tow truck drivers, construction workers, etc. face when drivers fail to move over.
The series was created in the aftermath of the death of Illinois State Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, who was hit and killed by a Scott's Law violator on the side of the road on U.S. 20 in Stephenson County.
"Tragedy inspired this series. That's a sobering reminder when we go to celebrate our hard work and the recognition of it," said Audrey Moon, news director at 13 WREX. "We did this series in the name of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, who is a hero. And we did it for our viewers—who deserve good journalism and journalism that will make them safer."
In the "Excellence in Video" category, 13 WREX was recognized for its short documentary on the "CRE8IV" Transformational Art Festival in Rockford in 2019. Over the course of several weeks, eight artists were hired and came to the city to create eight large-scale murals across town.
Several members of the 13 Creative Services team followed the artists from start to finish to show the incredible transformation of these murals. This documentary is told through the voices of the painters and the video of their incredible artwork that brought the murals and the city of Rockford to life.
"We wanted to show the transformative power public art can have on a city but more importantly we wanted to focus on the artists' process," said Kyle Yonkers, creative services director at 13 WREX. "A lot was accomplished in just a month, and we knew the story had to be told from the artists' perspectives."
Of the awards given to journalists, the Murrow Awards are among the most respected journalism honors in the world.
All three of these awards will now advance to the national competition. Winners of that competition will be announced sometime in June.