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Tyee Wins Edward R. Murrow Award

First Canadian non-broadcaster to win prestigious North American prize.

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Murrow: old-fashioned integrity

The Tyee has received a 2009 National Edward R. Murrow Award, among the most prestigious prizes in journalism.

The Murrow awards recognize excellence in electronic journalism in the United States and Canada. The Tyee won in the category of news website not affiliated with a radio or television broadcaster.

The judges cited The Tyee's "fine in-depth reporting configured in a user-friendly online way, making easy for The Tyee's online news consumers to find and use additional complementary resources. This website offers users a nice variety of content and has broad appeal."

Previous winners in the category have been the news web sites for the Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News and the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C.

The Tyee is the first Canadian online publication to win a national Murrow award.

Community service a top criteria

"We were really looking for a site that was very local, with a lot of local content. One that really served the community," explained Stacey Woelfel, chairman of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), which presides over the Murrow awards.

"We were looking for a site that was its own creation, not canned. And of course one that used as many different media as possible in an effective way," said Woelfel.

While other Murrow awards are given to web sites for radio and television broadcasters, he said, this category was created with the intent: "We should give a prize for the best web site, period."

'An incredible team'

"I'm a bit dazed and of course very proud The Tyee has gained this recognition," said editor David Beers. "We have an incredible team -- creative, dedicated, out to prove that good journalism, rather than fading, is in a time of exciting reinvention.

"Credit for our win goes to every web designer, photographer, illustrator, flash animator, videographer, podcaster, reporter, essayist, editor and advisor who have contributed to the Tyee's flow of offerings since we launched this experiment in November of 2003.

"Huge appreciation, as well, to our business team, our financial backers, and the donors -- including hundreds of readers -- who have given us the resources to do what we love.

"And, all credit, of course, to our readers, who alert us to news we should report, share our stories with others, and reward our efforts with their visits. Without the Tyee community, there's no Tyee."

NBC, CBS big winners

Other Murrow winners this year include NBC News, which earned five, including the award for Overall Excellence. CBS Evening News received the award for network newscast. 60 Minutes was honored in three categories: Hard News Feature, Feature Reporting and Investigative Reporting. 

In network radio, CBS News Radio won five awards, including its third consecutive award for Overall Excellence. The award for newscast went to ABC News Radio. 

In all, 51 news organizations were honored with 79 awards, drawn from a pool of more than 3000 entries from several hundred news organizations.

Edward R. Murrow was an American radio and television broadcaster noted for his integrity, who gained fame for his reporting during the Second World War, and for opposing the political witch hunt McCarthy hearings in the 1950s.

The Edward R. Murrow Awards, in their 39th year, will be given out at a dinner ceremony on October 12 in Washington, D.C.

A year of recognition for Tyee

The Tyee's Murrow award follows a string of other prizes won by the independent news site in the past eight months. They include the Excellence in Journalism Award given by the Canadian Journalism Foundation; the Special Award for External Press: Advocating for the Needs and Rights of Homeless People given by the International Network of Street Newspapers; and three Best of 604 Awards voted on by the online community in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

The Tyee's political news blog The Hook was named a Webby Honoree in the category of Political Blog, sharing that distinction with entries by The Guardian, The BBC, The New Yorker, Salon.com, Time, CNN and several others.

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