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5th May 2010, 11:28am
US awards for University documentary
sam pidoux A documentary broadcast on the University of Lincoln's community radio station, Siren FM, has won two top broadcast journalism awards in America.

Letters of Love from Home, which explores the effect of war on Forces' families, picked up two honours from the US-based Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) - the world's largest professional organisation exclusively serving the electronic news profession.

The documentary was put together by Samantha Pidoux, Learning Advisor in the Lincoln School of Journalism and a regular Siren FM contributor, based on her own experience of watching a loved-one go to serve overseas.

Samantha (26), whose father is a flight sergeant in the RAF, said: “My dad was sent to Afghanistan last summer and, like any daughter, I didn’t want him to go. I told him I would send him podcasts every week to keep him updated on what’s happening back home and so that he could hear a familiar voice. I also asked him to keep an audio diary while he was in Afghanistan.

“When he got home we decided to put all the recordings together to make this documentary. It really looks at the mundane nature of war and the effect on the families back home – the people you don’t often hear about on the news.

“It’s also a tribute to the 44 people who died during the three months that my dad was in Afghanistan.”

The feature was originally broadcast on Christmas Day 2009 on Siren FM and extracts were also played on BBC Lincolnshire.

Samantha submitted two versions of the documentary (a full length 30-minute version and a condensed 10-minute edit) to the International section of RTDNA’s annual broadcast journalism awards, the Edward R. Murrow Awards. The ‘Murrows’ are much sought-after by journalists working in the broadcast media in the US and abroad.

She was stunned when she discovered she has won in both categories – news documentary and feature reporting.

Samantha added: “I’m over the moon – not in a million years did I think it would win two awards. Just one award would have been fantastic!”

Having claimed prizes in the International section of the awards, Samantha will now be considered for progression to the national final of the Murrows, which takes place in New York in October.

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