KOSU podcast collaboration named finalist for national journalism award
“Blindspot: Tulsa Burning,” a collaborative podcast between KOSU, Focus: Black Oklahoma, WNYC Studios and The History Channel, has been chosen as a finalist for the 2022 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards.
The honor is considered one of the most prestigious awards in journalism. Roughly a dozen news investigations, podcasts and documentary films are honored annually by the duPont-Columbia University Awards for the strength of their reporting, storytelling and impact in the public interest.
The six-episode podcast explores the racial terror that destroyed the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, 100 years ago. Through conversations with descendants, historians and local activists, the series considers how the traumatic two-day attack continues to take a toll.
The jury had this to say about “Blindspot: Tulsa Burning”: “This immersive, deeply reported series depicting the biggest race massacre since the Civil War placed powerful eyewitness voices at the heart of a century-old narrative, and posed an urgent question: What would it take for history to stop repeating itself?”
The season began as an idea conceived by Focus: Black Oklahoma executive producer Quraysh Ali Lansana for broadcast on KOSU. However, in early discussions, Lansana and KOSU Executive Director Rachel Hubbard decided that the story needed more.
“We were happy to collaborate with WNYC Studios and The History Channel because the whole world should know what happened in Tulsa in 1921,” said Lansana, who is also a Tulsa Artist Fellow and the director of the Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation at OSU-Tulsa.
Oklahomans have guided the telling of this story for a national platform.
“This is an example of how public radio should work,” said Hubbard. “We bring our local expertise and sources to the table, and this unique collaboration with The History Channel and WNYC Studios allows the story to have the best production values and be told expertly.”
“It’s been wonderful to collaborate with KOSU in Oklahoma on Tulsa Burning,” said Emily Botein, vice president of original content for WNYC. “Public radio is at its best when it combines local expertise and community knowledge with national resources. We are so proud to partner with KOSU to help bring this critical story to all Americans.”
Out of hundreds of entries, judges selected 30 finalists, including work by The New York Times, Frontline on PBS, NPR and more. “Blindspot: Tulsa Burning” is one of just seven podcasts on the finalist list.
“These duPont finalists rose to the occasion with work that was powerful, moving and in the finest tradition of reporting in the public interest,” said Mark Whitaker, duPont jury chair, author and former CNN and Newsweek executive.
The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony in February.
Focus: Black Oklahoma continues to tell the story of Black Wall Street and issues facing Tulsa's Greenwood District today in the three-part series "Battle for Greenwood."
This article was originally published by KOSU, a public radio service of Oklahoma State University and a member station of National Public Radio.
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