Jessye Norman Augusta Riot podcast wins national Edward R. Murrow Award

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A huge accomplishment for some local students. Jessye Norman School of the Arts just won a national award for a podcast they made on the Augusta Riot. They worked in partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting. We met up with them to find out what went into making this possible.

Students at Jessye Norman School of the Arts put together a podcast series that has since touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and now they have won a national award for it.

“I came into the podcasting class just wanting to have fun and have a nice little time, and now we’ve won a national award that’s really cool,” said Thomas Collins.

Collins is one of eight students who took part in reporting, recording, and producing. The podcast “Shots in the Back: Exhuming the 1970 Augusta Riot.” A topic Collins says needed to be talked about.

“I had no idea that this happened at all and when we did a lot of interviews out on the streets a lot of people would be like I’ve lived here for 20 years and had no idea that happened,” said Collins.

Podcast instructor and host of the series Sea Starchura says winning this Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in diversity, equity, and inclusion speaks volumes.

“To be able in this kind of do-it-yourself studio to beat out all these national stations and outlets, I’m super proud of us,” she said.

Starchura started doing research on the riot back in 2012 and found there was not a lot of information on it.

“We told the story really intentionally from the people who were involved and who were affected and knew why people were upset,” she said.

Collins says his favorite part was learning.

“We learned all sorts of things about it happening downtown and it was a really cool experience to stand there and imagine what was happening,” he said.

Starchura says she wants her students to walk away knowing what they created made a difference for others.

“It made it possible for other people outside this podcast to figure out how to talk about racism, to figure out how to talk about our history that is intertwined with racism, and our present where that systemic racism still exists,” she said.

The students were all ages as young as fifth grade up to seniors.

More information about the podcast can be found at You can download and listen to the podcast at

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