Montana PBS wins national awards

Montana PBS received recognition from the National Educational Telecommunications Association for its outstanding contributions to public media during the 55th Annual Public Media Awards Gala. The event took place earlier this fall at the 2023 NETA Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leader Forum. The accolades were bestowed upon Montana PBS Director of Education, Nikki Vradenburg, and Producer, Breanna McCabe, both of whom received awards at the prestigious gala.

In the Education Category, Nikki Vradenburg was honored with the award for Teacher Professional Development. This recognition stemmed from her efforts in providing teachers with professional development materials related to the documentary “Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness,” which aired on Montana PBS. Vradenburg expressed gratitude for the award, emphasizing Montana PBS’s commitment to offering free, virtual professional development opportunities for teachers. These opportunities aim to foster connections among educators and enhance their skills. Vradenburg highlighted the importance of addressing youth mental health, stating that the workshops, using media from the Ken Burns film, will continue to be hosted to combat the stigma surrounding youth mental illness in Montana.

In the Content Category, Breanna McCabe clinched the award for Topical Feature for her documentary titled “Higgins Ridge.” The documentary chronicles the survival story of 20 smokejumpers during the 1961 Higgins Ridge wildfire. McCabe spoke of the dedication to creating compelling and accurate storytelling for viewers, expressing pride in the recognition. She noted that the award affirms the high quality of Montana-made programs, placing them on par with the finest work produced nationwide.

The Public Media Awards celebrate NETA members’ achievements in community engagement, content creation, education, and marketing and communications. NETA aims to showcase the public good while inspiring imagination and creativity through these awards. Notably, stations compete within their divisions based on size, with expert panelists from within the public media system and industry professionals outside of public media serving as judges for the awards, except in the overall excellence categories.

By: Big Sky Headlines Staff