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Mountain West News Bureau wins three PMJA awards

A bundle of brush and branches clog a gravity-fed irrigation ditch called an acequia on the Jemez Pueblo reservation in New Mexico.
Kaleb Roedel
Mountain West News Bureau
A bundle of brush and branches clog a gravity-fed irrigation ditch called an acequia on the Jemez Pueblo reservation in New Mexico.

The Mountain West News Bureau was awarded three national awards from the Public Media Journalists Association's (PMJA) annual contest this spring.

Collaborative Effort

The Mountain West News Bureau was awarded first place in the Collaborative Effort category for its series Working for Water by reporters Emma VandenEinde, Emma Gibson and Kaleb Roedel. The series focuses on water access issues among tribal communities in the Rio Grande basin:

For decades, many tribal communities have lacked clean, affordable drinking water. And that impacts everything from childhood health to economic development. This series from the Mountain West News Bureau explores those issues – and potential solutions – along the Rio Grande and beyond. It's supported by The Water Desk, an initiative from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism.

Health/Medical Feature

Idaho-based reporter Murphy Woodhouse won first place in the Health/Medical Feature category for his piece on a new national registry that seeks to improve understanding of the association between all types of firefighting and cancer and help reduce those risks:

A firefighter keeps an eye out for spot fires on the Ross Fork Fire last year in Idaho.
It’s something many current and former wildland firefighters ask themselves: what does all this smoke, dust and ash I’ve been breathing for months on end mean for my health? A new national registry for all firefighters could eventually shed a great deal more light on that largely unanswered question.

Use of Sound

Idaho-based reporter Murphy Woodhouse also picked up a second place award in the Use of Sound category for his feature on Boise's first Repair Cafe, complete with the whirring of a repaired juicer, resurrected vacuum cleaners, a pair sandals saved by new strips of velcro, and more:

 Mark Bowen, left, and Joe Prin work on a busted lamp at Boise's first Repair Café.
So-called Repair Cafes have a simple goal: pairing people and their broken household belongings with tinkerers and tools to fix them, thus shrinking the flow of waste to landfills. The idea started in Europe, but has spread to the US and cafes are starting to pop up in the American West. Idaho’s capital Boise just held its first.

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