WTOP wins 15 awards from Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association

The Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association honored WTOP with 15 awards — 11 first-place awards and 4 second-place awards — at its annual CAPBA convention in Ocean City over the weekend.

It comes following a year of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, coverage of the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot, unexpected area sports stories, protests over the death of George Floyd and scandals across D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

WTOP staff members hold some of the 15 Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards received in Ocean City, Maryland, on June 4, 2022. From left to right — Michelle Basch, John Aaron, Mike Murillo, Dave Johnson, Colleen Kelleher, Shawn Anderson, Mike Jakaitis and John Domen. (WTOP)

The 2021 Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association awards WTOP won are below.

  • Outstanding News Operation: WTOP, first place (large market radio)
    • WTOP was citied for its “excellent use of available media formats to provide headlines
      and details on relevant news stories.” Judges said “live stories were
      polished and professional” and noted emotions were “in check to deliver
      breaking story parts accurately and concise.”
  • Outstanding Newscast: WTOP, first place (large market radio)
    • Cited for “good pacing,” judges said “anchors all sound engaged” and information was “pertinent to audience.”
  • Outstanding Website: WTOP, second place (large market radio)
  • Outstanding Year-Round Local Sports: WTOP, first place (large market radio)
    • Judges said “the reporters sound like they are indeed tops in their field!”
  • Best Radio News Anchor: Dimitri Sotis, first place (large market radio)
    • Sotis was cited for his “smooth, warm and authoritative” voice and pacing. Judges said he “handles breaking news well,” noting his engagement and knowledge of details.
    • Read more about Sotis, and listen to some of his curated interviews on WTOP.
  • Best Reporter: John Domen, first place; and Mike Murillo, second place (large market radio)
    • Judges cited Domen for his “great selection of stories” and good use of
    • Judges said Murillo “sounds human” when telling a story, “rather than reporting, which is much more relatable to the listener.” Thus achieving “what many reporters never do.”
  • Outstanding Coverage of a Continuing Story: WTOP for “Capitol Insurrection,” first place (large market radio)
    • “Clearly on top of the story as it was breaking, and staying smooth with evolving details,” judges said WTOP utilized a “good diversity of reporters and sound bites.” Watch the team that covered the insurrection talk about the emotion and coverage in WTOP’s mini documentary.
  • Outstanding News Series: J.J. Green for “COVID-19 Conspiracy,” second place (large market radio)
    • Delivering “important information on a controversial international subject, judges said Green “gives facts in an interesting way.”
    • You can read the series on our website and listen to part one of the series by clicking below.
  • Outstanding Use of Sound: Mike Murillo for “Fire Ops,” first place (large market radio)
    • Cited for its “best use of sound and quality of sound,” judges said Murillo’s use of “ambient sound and quick bites made the piece very interesting.”
    • You can read and watch as Murillo trains with Montgomery County Fire and EMS crews or listen to the story below.
  • Outstanding Enterprise Reporting: Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore for “DFS Scandal,” first place (large market radio)
    • Noted as an “excellent topic that impacts the community,” judges said Cloherty was “very knowledgeable about the topic” and provided “very good follow up.”
    • Some of their coverage can be read here.
  • Outstanding Light Feature: John Aaron for “Datsun Spirit,” first place (large market radio)
    • Judges said the feature was “very well done in terms of creating a listener experience of being a part of the story,” and Aaron provided “great sounds and emotion, plus
      perfect guests.”
    • The photos and videos taken by Aaron became part of an engaging visual story on WTOP.com.
  • Outstanding Sports Feature: Dave Johnson for “Sports and the Black Experience,” first place (large market radio)
    • Citing Johnson for his “excellent presentation” and “well thought out questions and
      great guests,” judges said the feature offered a “nice variety of angles, all in the same topic field.”
    • You can read more here and listen to part of that coverage below.
  • Outstanding Editorial or Commentary: Joel Oxley for “Enough Is Enough,” first place (large market radio)
    • Judges praised Oxley for his “solid presentation” on the “vital issue.”
    • In July 2021, WTOP General Manager Joel Oxley responded to a racist letter written to WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green. The letter, opposed to Green’s weekly podcast, “Colors: A Dialogue on Race in America,” attacked the coverage he and colleague Chris Core provided on race relations in the U.S. Click here to read the letter and Oxley’s response to.
    • “I am beyond proud to be a part of WTOP,” Oxley said in response to winning the award. “I strongly felt that my commentary was warranted. No one should have to go through what our reporter, JJ Green, was subjected to. I hope that my speaking up helps to prevent this kind of behavior in the future.”
  • Best Podcast-Audio: Paul Wagner for WTOP’s “American Nightmare: Season 2,” second place (all markets, radio and TV)

Twenty-seven news organizations in Maryland, Delaware and D.C. submitted 357 entries in the contest. Click here for a full list of winners.

The Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association is an independent association comprised of local members of The Associated Press.

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