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Kansas City NPR Reporter Passes Away After Being Shot

Okeson-Haberman was on life support for several days before she passed away. KCPD said they are now investigating the case as a homicide.

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Photo: Brandon Parigo

A 24-year-old NPR reporter that was shot while sitting inside of her apartment in Kansas City, Missouri last week has died, police said. Aviva Okeson-Haberman was reportedly struck by a bullet that pierced one of the windows of her first-floor apartment in the Santa Fe neighborhood.

Okeson-Haberman was on life support for several days before she passed away. KCPD said they are now investigating the case as a homicide.

She joined KCUR in June 2019 as the Missouri politics and government reporter, having interned at the station a year earlier. Okeson-Haberman was transitioning into her new role at the station covering social issues and criminal justice.

“She was just relentless in the pursuit of the truth,” said news director Lisa Rodriguez. “She was going to change people’s lives in this beat.”

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver expressed shock and sadness on Twitter Monday.

“Her passion for justice and truth-seeking was palpable; her commitment to the community was inspiring; and her journalistic ability at such a young age was impressive,” he wrote. “I’m heartbroken I won’t get another phone call with her on the other end.”

Aviva graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in 2019. While there, she garnered fistfuls of awards, including the Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative reporting for her investigation of Missouri’s elder abuse hotline.

“I’m heartbroken that I won’t have another opportunity to make her a pizza while we sat in my backyard talking about life,” Rodriguez said. “I’m heartbroken I won’t hear another story pitch or work through another hours-long edit. I will miss her so much.”

Aviva is survived by her mother and father, her two younger sisters and her maternal grandparents.

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Minnesota Public Radio Cancels Award-Winning Podcast

APM Reports investigative podcast “In the Dark” cancellation might come as a surprise, considering it received several accolades, including a pair of Peabody Awards, and was even profiled on “60 Minutes” last year.

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Minnesota Public Radio has decided to cancel a series whose three-year investigation and 20 podcast episodes assisted in overturning a conviction of a Mississippi man on death row. 

APM Reports investigative podcast “In the Dark” cancellation might come as a surprise, considering it received several accolades, including a pair of Peabody Awards, and was even profiled on “60 Minutes” last year.

“As a trusted public media service, Minnesota Public Radio is committed to providing high-quality journalism, programming, and experiences for our audiences and communities,” MPR said in a statement, per Inside Radio

“In keeping with this commitment, advancement of our strategic priorities, and our responsibility as financial stewards of MPR’s resources, we have made a difficult decision regarding the future of APM Reports. We are dissolving APM Reports as a separate business unit and incorporating select programming elements into MPR News. Unfortunately, this change means that colleagues, who’ve invested their energy, skills, and passion with us, will be leaving our organization.” 

The radio station informed the APM Reports team of the decision on Thursday, and it’s uncertain how many of the 18-staffers will face layoffs. The decision to pull the plug on the podcast comes two months after Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media converged into a lone entity under CEO Jean Taylor.

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WTOP Receives Three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

WTOP advances to the national round of the competition, competing against regional winners from across the country.

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WTOP is one of the marquee news-talk stations in the United States and was recently honored with three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards this week by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). 

For the New Series category, WTOP saw their National Security correspondent JJ Green’s COVID Conspiracy series was recognized for its coverage of a secret ploy by Russia to distribute lies and disinformation regarding COVID-19 and vaccines. 

“The journalists in our newsroom are dedicated, passionate individuals who want to make a difference in their communities,” Julia Ziegler, WTOP’s Director of News and Programming said in a press release obtained by Barrett News Media. “We are so honored to be recognized with three regional Edward R. Murrow awards.”

Meanwhile, in the Digital category, WTOP.com received a regional award for coverage of news events throughout 2021, including coronavirus, cicadas, and the scandal at D.C.’s crime lab. 

Finally, WTOP also received an honor in the Newscast category for coverage of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. As a result, the radio station advances to the national round of the competition, competing against regional winners from across the country.

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WSIU Airing Korean War Documentary for Memorial Day

The documentary will air on Sunday, May 29 at 2 pm and on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30 at 9 pm.

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It’s Memorial Day weekend, and WSIU is marking the occasion with a documentary centered around the Korean War. The radio station announced that “Shrapnel Down: My Korean War Story” will be broadcast on the WSIU stations.

The documentary will air on Sunday, May 29 at 2 pm and on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30 at 9 pm. The film plans to feature never-before-seen war footage caught by Iowa native and veteran Bill Rector during his tour of duty during the Korean War. 

“There are so many impactful stories WSIU proudly shares, and those of our brave U.S. veterans certainly deserve special attention,” film producer/director Mark St. George said. 

“In Shrapnel Down, I hope viewers will discover a personal story that lurks behind the great veil of war; of the humanity that was ever-present beyond the shots fired. Shrapnel Down is a documentary about war – true – but told through the camera lens of one extraordinary sailor who shares his story, documenting his experiences of war, friendship, and loss.”

Rector used an 8mm camera to document his war experiences, capturing this never-before-seen footage. In addition, the film contains an in-depth interview with Rector where he recounts vital moments such as the battles during the Blockade of Wonsan, the most prolonged battle in modern naval history, and the Court of Neptune ritual.

“The film is a time capsule that we are opening with viewers for the very first time,” St. George said. “The documentary features original, 8mm war footage that has, until now, been locked away. Shrapnel Down breaks the seal on this time capsule, and we’re happy to share it with viewers.”

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