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Indiana Public Broadcasting (IPB News) has won two national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated Awards (PRNDI), for the 2016 coverage of the lead contamination crisis in East Chicago, Indiana.

IPB’s first coverage reports began immediately following the breaking news that the West Calumet Housing Complex had lead contaminated soil. The contamination resulted in a school closure, forced evacuations from the housing complex and ongoing health concerns for the residents of the area.

“The reporters from across the state that covered this breaking and tragic news truly showcased the value of collaborative public media news coverage,” said Tom Maloney, Vice Chair of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. “They came from across the state to talk with residents and officials about what was happening as it was happening, and are still continuing to cover the story that’s still ongoing, almost a year later.”

Leading the coverage was Sarah Neal-Estes, Managing Editor of Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Regional Journalism Collaboration, who oversees a team of eight reporters who work in five different beats: education, health, business, government, environment.

“Beat reporting and collaboration make this type of coverage possible,” Neal-Estes said. “It is the only way to get the depth from multiple perspectives and to sustain the coverage.”

Indiana Public Broadcasting reporters include: Annie Ropeik (Business), Nick Janzen (Environment), Lauren Chapman (Digital), Jill Sheridan (Health), Sarah Fentem (Health), Claire McInerny (Education), Peter Balonon-Rosen (Education) and Brandon Smith (government). Along with those statewide reporters, Lakeshore Public Radio reporters Steven Lattimore, Chris Nolte, Dan Clark, and Sharon Jackson also contributed to the coverage.

Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations (IPBS) is a not-for-profit association of 17 public TV and radio stations which serve the state of Indiana. Together they provide engaging, educational and informational programming for Indiana citizens. The best of PBS and NPR combined with award winning local programs to meet community interests and statewide news are just some of the services delivered to Hoosier homes and schools by IPBS member stations.

As Vice President of Radio Operations, Tom is responsible for overseeing Lakeshore Public Radio. He oversees the radio station’s programming, as well as news. He was instrumental in bringing several different genres of music to Lakeshore Public Radio.