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KNKX wins awards for breaking news, inclusive coverage and a multi-part news series

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced the regional winners of this year's Edward R. Murrow Awards on Tuesday. KNKX won three awards in the large market radio division.

KNKX's region includes news organizations from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Regional winners advance to the National Murrow Award competition, the winners of which will be announced this summer.

"I'm incredibly proud of the work our newsroom produces day in and day out," said KNKX News Director Florangela Davila.

"We don't do the work to win awards. But it feels good to be acknowledged for a range of work that reflects our commitment to serving the region."

KNKX won the regional award in the following categories:

Breaking News Coverage: Three Tacoma Officers Charged with Felonies in the Killing of Manuel Ellis

KNKX reporters Will James, Kari Plog and Lilly Ana Fowler quickly worked together to cover the news that Washington State's attorney general charged three Tacoma police officers in the March 2020 killing of Manuel Ellis.

They provided detailed background on the case, tracked numerous statements in reaction to the charges and captured audio along the way. Kate DeWeese supported the team, publishing their reporting on KNKX's website.

James joined All Things Considered host Ed Ronco on air to keep listeners informed. Plog also spoke with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Aberdeen Councilwoman Believed to be First Transgender Elected Official in Washington

Added in 2021, this category recognizes outstanding advocacy journalism on the topic of diversity, racial injustice or inequality.

In the wake of a national story about then-City Councilwoman Tiesa Meskis' confrontation with a local business owner about a transphobic sign, KNKX Morning Edition Producer Vivian McCall saw a more nuanced, overlooked story.

Visiting Aberdeen, Wash., McCall shared the understated election of one of Washington's only transgender government officials.

News Series: The Merkle Hotel

In this three-part series, KNKX Special Projects reporter Will James tracked down former residents of the Merkle Hotel in Tacoma which had closed three years earlier. One of the last residential hotels in Western Washington, the Merkle Hotel catered to some of Tacoma's poorest people because of extremely cheap rent.

James reporting created a picture of the forces driving homelessness in the region and their effect on people’s lives. He found former residents spent time homeless, were pushed out of Tacoma's housing market and a number of them died.

PART ONE: A developer forced them out of their building. Three years later, nearly half are dead.

PART TWO: Extra time, money weren’t enough in a city that left Merkle tenants behind

PART THREE: In the loss of the Merkle Hotel, echoes of the history of residential hotels — and the rise of homelessness

PLUS: Will James on telling the story of Tacoma's Merkle Hotel, its final residents