WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – WECT has won a 2019 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) in the category of Excellence in Innovation.
RTDNA recognized WECT’s work over the past year with innovative ways of reaching the audience. The entry for this year included two outreach products launched by WECT News over the last several months – a digital studio and a community Facebook page to share concerns and interact more closely with viewers and citizens.
With potential staffing challenges and breaking news often happening outside normal business hours, WECT staffers set out to create ways to get critical information into the hands of our customers faster and more efficiently.
That brought the creation of our digital studio, which is a one-person operation, where a journalist can call up live video from several sources, conduct interviews in the studio or on location through Skype, FaceTime or other options, while speaking directly to viewers over broadcast, digital and social platforms.
The studio took on added significance during Hurricane Florence, when WECT journalists shared pictures, live feeds and gathered information over 87 hours of continuous coverage in September 2018.
The WECT Community Voice Facebook page launched last summer as a way for people to share thoughts, concerns, story ideas and interact with journalists about those stories in a membership setting. During the hurricane, our membership increased by the thousands, with lifesaving information being shared among citizens looking for assistance. Now over 17,000 members strong, the page continues to be a source of information on various topics.
“It is an honor and extremely rewarding for our newsroom to be recognized by the RTDNA for these advancements in how we strive to better serve the viewers in the Cape Fear region,” Mark Mendenhall, WECT Vice-President and General Manager said. “Both the Digital Studio and WECT Community Voice Facebook group are examples of giving the public a direct link to our newsroom to better serve them. These innovations are a great product of ingenuity and teamwork from the entire station, and this award is the culmination of that teamwork.”
Since 1971, RTDNA has handed out the prestigious honors in several categories related to electronic journalism. Of awards given to journalists, the Murrow awards are considered among the most respected journalism awards worldwide.
WECT is celebrating 65 years as a television operation in southeastern North Carolina this year.