Radio show earns highest industry accolades
Reveal and Coda Story have won a prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for their collaborative radio episode “Russia’s New Scapegoats,” which addresses the rise of anti-gay sentiment in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Reveal is produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, and Coda Story is a new media venture for in-depth crisis reporting.
The duPonts annually honor about a dozen outlets for excellence in broadcast and digital journalism in the public service. Reveal and Coda Story were awarded this year alongside “60 Minutes,” FRONTLINE and “This American Life.”
In its news release, Columbia lauded Reveal and Coda Story for “a courageous radio documentary … (that) shed new light on the dangers of Russia’s anti-gay movement and exposed its cynical motives.”
The episode begins in St. Petersburg, Russia, after a gay journalist is killed in a suspected hate crime. Coda Story’s Amy Mackinnon introduces listeners to homophobic demagogues and vigilantes – and their victims. In the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Natalia Antelava meets the American sympathizers of this movement and discovers that Russia’s homophobic crackdown has resonated far beyond its borders.
“It’s incredibly humbling to receive this award, especially since it comes in the very first year of Coda’s existence,” said Antelava, editor in chief and co-founder of Coda Story. “We put a team of journalists on one crisis at a time and mine it from different angles, illuminating trends and larger issues. We hoped not only to expose the horrors of being gay in Russia, but to explain why the Kremlin has chosen LGBTQ people as their enemy and how this decision and their plight relates to all of us in our increasingly polarized world.”
“We were so lucky to have Reveal as a partner, helping us to get this extremely important story to listeners across the United States,” she added.
“Russia’s New Scapegoats” provides not only rich on-the-scene reporting, but trenchant analysis of the political motives behind this anti-gay sentiment. It traces the origins of the rising homophobia in Russia all the way to the door of the Kremlin, revealing how homophobia was deployed as a political tool, a scapegoat at home and a conduit for soft power abroad.
“This story turned out to be more important than we originally realized,” said Kevin Sullivan, Reveal’s executive producer. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin “was using the LGBT community as a scapegoat within Russia. But the show also exposed that the Kremlin had used the same strategy to spread hateful rhetoric internationally, as a way to turn people against the West. What we see in this story is the leading edge of the Kremlin’s strategy of using propaganda to affect events outside its own borders, including the U.S. presidential election.”
This year’s duPont award winners will be honored Jan. 16, 2018, at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library.
About Coda Story
Coda Story is a new media venture for in-depth crisis reporting. Launched in January 2016, Coda Story puts a team of journalists on one crisis at a time and stays with it, providing unique depth and continuity of the crises that shape our world. For the past year, they have used this approach to track the influence of Russian disinformation in Europe and Eurasia.
Reveal, heard on more than 440 public radio stations weekly and as a podcast, is produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. Founded in 1977, CIR is the nation’s first nonprofit investigative newsroom.
PRX is shaping the future of media content, talent and technology. PRX creates, distributes and connects audio producers with their most engaged, supportive audiences across broadcast, digital and mobile platforms, reaching millions of weekly listeners worldwide. A fierce champion of new voices, innovative technology and new business models, PRX advocates for the entrepreneurial producer. For over a dozen years, PRX has operated public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of shows, including “This American Life,” “The Moth Radio Hour” and Reveal.
For further information, contact:
Natalia Antelava, editor in chief and co-founder of Coda Story
Amy Pyle, editor in chief of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting