The Burlington Free Press has received four regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, including for overall excellence and top website.

The awards recognize outstanding achievements in electronic journalism. This is the third consecutive year the Free Press has received multiple regional Murrow Awards.

“The Free Press team continues to transform itself into a well-rounded digital media organization. We are increasing the production of video and audio content every day in addition to our already excellent written coverage,” said Al Getler, president and publisher of the Burlington Free Press and Free Press Media. “It is an honor to see this approval for our work given by our radio and TV colleagues.”

The Free Press won awards among non-broadcast-affiliated news organizations in a region that encompasses Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont — the most states in any of the competition’s 14 regions.

The Free Press received awards in these categories:
• Video overall excellence, for a package about the 40th anniversary of the iconic Nectar’s restaurant and music venue on Main Street in Burlington.
• Video feature, for a recap of a baseball game played in unusually warm weather on Christmas Eve.
• Video sports reporting, for a largely slow-motion video showing scenes from the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington.
• News organization website, for

Free Press Visuals Coach Ryan Mercer produced the three award-winning videos.

“Special hats off to our visuals editor, Ryan Mercer. He pushes us all hard and makes us a stronger storytelling organization,” Getler said.

One other site in the Gannett-owned USA TODAY NETWORK, The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California, won a regional Murrow Award, for best use of video.

“We are very proud of the exceptional work done by the teams at Burlington and Palm Springs and are impressed by the caliber of the journalism produced by our local newsrooms every single day across the entire USA TODAY NETWORK,” Gannett President and CEO Bob Dickey said in a statement.

View photo here >>
Nolan Simon waits for his turn at bat during a community Christmas-Eve baseball game at Callahan Park in December. Temperatures were climbing over 60 degrees as players took the field, many wearing shorts and T-shirts. (Photo: RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS FILE)

Other Vermont media to win regional Murrow Awards were Vermont Public Radio, which earned five citations including overall excellence in the small market radio category, and WPTZ-TV, which received two awards for coverage of last summer’s prison break from Dannemora, New York.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has honored outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Murrow Awards since 1971. RTDNA said it received more than 4,300 entries during the 2016 awards season, which set a record for the fourth consecutive year.

“Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalism,” the association said.

Murrow carved his reputation with radio coverage of the outbreak of World War II while he was in Europe. After the war, he became a pioneer in television broadcast news whose coverage opened the way to the political downfall of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Regional winners advance to the national Murrow Awards competition, set for judging in May. The national awards will be announced in June.

The Burlington Free Press has won four national Murrow Awards: one in 2014 and three in 2015.

“The best reward we see is the sharp increases our digital analytics, especially in mobile,” Publisher Getler added. “It proves that our audience finds what we do important in their lives.”

Nectar’s takes a look back after 40 years

“I was shocked,” says Nectar’s founder Nectar Rorris when he saw Phish’s album “Picture of Nectar” bearing his image on the cover. The Burlington institution known for being a safe haven for up and coming bands in Vermont turns 40. RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

Christmas Eve baseball in Vermont?

Little league fans in Burlington decided to take advantage of record warm temperatures a day before Christmas with a little baseball at Callahan Park in Burlington. RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS

Slowing down, marathon style

We took some of the best moments we could find from the 2015 People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon & Relay in Burlington and took a moment to slow down and appreciate every second. RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS