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Excellence in Radio/Podcast Coverage, honoring Jack R. Howard

NBC News, 2022

Author(s): Mike Hixenbaugh, Antonia Hylton, Reid Cherlin and Frannie Kelley | NBC News


NBC News documented an upscale Texas suburb’s decision to confront racism head-on after a video surfaced of white high school students chanting a racial epithet.

In its six-episode narrative podcast, the NBC News team captured the backlash that consumed the town, providing an inside look that included interviews with students, parents and school officials. The series also included never-heard-before recordings of school administrators debating how to address student complaints of harassment.

“Southlake” balances the intensely personal stories of teenagers and their parents’ experience with racism, homophobia and marginalization, with the bigger story of the nationwide debates over teaching critical race theory in schools following the 2020 murder of George Floyd. The NBC News team showed how local debates became superheated and were weaponized by conservative activists as part of an emerging national political movement.

Six weeks after the final episode of “Southlake” aired, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into allegations of discrimination at Southlake’s public schools. The investigation is based on three complaints from students who say they were targeted because of their race, gender and national origin.

Hundreds of listeners shared how they were deeply moved and mobilized by the series. Public school teachers and college professors across the country say they plan to incorporate the podcast into their curriculum.

Honoring Jack R. Howard
Black and white photo of a man in a striped suit smiling by his desk covered with newspapers

Jack R. Howard is credited with expanding The E.W. Scripps Company’s presence in the field of broadcasting. In 1937, he was elected president of the Scripps radio company. Jack succeeded his father, Roy W. Howard, as president of Scripps-Howard in 1953. He retired in 1976.