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Side Effects Public Media Reporters Win Indiana Pro SPJ Awards

Since the pandemic began, Shepherd Community Center has added a weekly food distribution to help families who live in nearby food deserts.
Shepherd Community Center
Submitted photo
Former Side Effects Public Media reporter Hilary Powell won an award from SPJ for her work covering the pandemic and health equity in Indiana. Once the pandemic started, Shepherd Community Center added a weekly food distribution to help families who live in nearby food deserts.

Side Effects Public Media journalists received six awards Tuesday from the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Their work highlighted health equity, racial disparities in healthcare and problems within Indiana's prison system.

Out-of-state judges selected by SPJ named award-winners for their work in radio, television, digital and social media during 2020. Winners from Side Effects were:

First place:

Third place:

WFYI Public Media in Indianapolis, the lead station for the Side Effects collaboration, won seven additional awards, mainly for its coverage of anti-racism protests. It included work done in partnership with the Recorder, a weekly newspaper focused on Indianapolis' Black community. Winners were:

First place:

  • Kyle Travers: Television Coverage of Minority, Diversity & Inclusion for “Move To Include - Katrina Kelly
  • Bryan Boyd and Gabrielle Steenberger: Television Coverage of Social Justice Issues for “A Difficult Task”
  • Lauren Chapman, Doug Jaggers, Jill Sheridan and Eric Weddle: Best Use of Social Media for “Indianapolis Social Justice Protests”
  • Kyle Long: Best Podcast for “Cultural Manifesto

Second place:

Third place:

  • WFYI Staff: Print & Digital Breaking News Reporting for “Indianapolis Social Justice Protests”
  • Michael Husain and Jeremy Tatara: Television Criminal Justice Reporting for “No Harm - The Battle To Save IV Drug Users”

In addition, two new WFYI Public Media employees earned awards for work they completed before joining the organization. Dylan Peers McCoy earned first place for her education reporting at Chalkbeat Indiana. Digital Editor Lindsey Erdody earned first- and second-place honors for her work at the Indianapolis Business Journal.

The awards program, shown online, featured a tribute to WFYI reporter Jill Ditmire, who died in January at age 56.

Watch the entire awards program on YouTube.

Holly Edgell is project manager for Side Effects Public Media. She can be reached at