The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) recognized the Seattle Channel with a 2015 Kaleidoscope Award, which honors outstanding achievements in the coverage of diversity. The city-operated station was recognized for Honor Totem, a one-hour documentary which chronicles the carving of a totem pole to honor a slain woodcarver and offers an account of the artistic legacy of his family. “We’re proud to recognize news organizations that demonstrate a commitment to report on the depth and breadth of their communities,” said RTNDA Chair Amy Tardif. “This year’s winning entries can serve as models for newsrooms of any size across the country to emulate.”
Seattle Channel is one of seven national news organizations to receive a Kaleidoscope Award. The station won in the large-market-television division. Other Kaleidoscope Award winners include KUOW-FM in Seattle; Al Jazeera America, New York, NY; and HuffPost Live. To see the winning entries, visit the Kaleidoscope Awards winners page at rtdna.org.
“Seattle Channel’s in-depth documentary programming stands out among government-access TV stations and demonstrates the city of Seattle’s commitment to sharing stories of diversity to enhance civic engagement,” said Mayor Ed Murray.
The Kaleidoscope Awards were developed as part of RTDNA’s commitment to achieve diversity in the newsroom through developing news content and editorial staffs that reflect the changing face of communities. The purpose of the award is to encourage and showcase journalistic excellence in covering issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. It is presented annually to news organizations that show an ongoing commitment to covering the diversity of the communities they serve.
Seattle Channel photographer and editor Ian Devier produced Honor Totem, which follows the creation of a 34-foot memorial totem pole carved and raised in honor of John T. Williams, a First Nations woodcarver who was fatally shot by a Seattle police officer in August 2010. The officer later resigned from the force after a review board found the shooting unjustified. Earlier this month, Devier received a Northwest Regional Emmy Award for the editing of Honor Totem.
“People of color represent about two-thirds of Seattle Channel’s weekly TV audience, according to a recent survey,” said Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “Honor Totem is an example of Seattle Channel’s informative programming, which strives to go deeper and create diverse engagement among the city’s residents.”
Honor Totem was produced as part of Seattle Channel’s Community Stories series, which offers a window into the lives of Seattle’s underserved and diverse communities. Recent programs chronicled the 1981 murder of two union organizers fighting to improve conditions for Filipino workers in Northwest canneries, delved into the wartime diaries of a Japanese American artist who offered an account of the lead-up to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and profiled a bilingual theatre group which performs in Spanish and English. The series also featured interviews with young female African immigrants about adapting to life in the United States as well as voices from Seattle’s Cuban American community.
RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTDNA represents local and network journalists in broadcasting, cable and digital media in more than 30 countries.
Seattle Channel is a local TV station that reflects, informs and inspires the community it serves. Seattle Channel presents programs on cable television – channel 21 on Comcast (321 HD) and Wave (721 HD) – and via the Internet to help residents connect with their city. Programming includes series and special features highlighting the diverse civic and cultural landscape of the Pacific Northwest’s premier city.