For immediate release
May 11, 2000
Contact: Laura Gross

Terrance McKnight and Melissa Gray of NPR® Win Prestigious Awards From the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists

Washington, DC-Terrance McKnight, of NPR's® Performance Today® and Melissa Gray of NPR's Morning Edition® with Bob Edwards have each received the esteemed Pioneer Black Journalist Award from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ). McKnight won the award for Outstanding Use of Sound in Radio for his piece entitled, "Vocal Workshop." The Best Editing in Radio award went to Gray for her work on the "Mark Thomas Commentary." Both of these award-winning pieces were produced while the recipients were working for Peach State Public Radio in Atlanta. The awards were presented in front of 300 people at the 23rd annual awards ceremony in Atlanta on April 29, 2000.

McKnight's segment, "Vocal Workshop," focuses on the influence traditional African music has on contemporary African-American music, such as spirituals, blues, jazz, and hip-hop. After listening to a two-hour interactive workshop on the topic, moderated by Ysaye Barnwell, he scripted and produced a six-minute piece about this historical conversation and incorporated the dynamic musical performances from the lecture into his segment.

Gray received her award for editing and mixing of a commentary by Savannah writer and pop culture maven, Mark Thomas. The commentary "Hollywood comes to Savannah" wryly recounts Thomas' experience as an extra in the Sandra Bullock movie Forces of Nature.

According to Bill Davis, NPR Sr. Vice President for Programming, "These awards exemplify the remarkable accomplishments of the staff at NPR. We are grateful to Peach State Public Radio and the AABJ for recognizing their outstanding work and allowing them to reach their maximum potential."

McKnight is the first resident of NPR's Classical Music Diversity Initiative Program and is currently working for Performance Today, NPR's award-winning classical music program. He is also a pianist and received degrees in music from Morehouse College and Georgia State University. At Morehouse, McKnight toured with the College Glee Club as an accompanist and soloist. While at Georgia State, McKnight performed with the 20th Century Chamber Ensemble and Conductor Fyodor Cherniavsky. In 1996, at the request of the Minister of Culture of the Ivory Coast, McKnight performed piano music by African American composers in the country's capital city of Abidjan. In 1998, he joined the faculty of Morehouse College where he taught classes in music theory and music appreciation. McKnight is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides in Washington, DC.

Gray is originally from Gloucester, Virginia and moved to Georgia in 1992 to complete a master's degree in fine art from The University of Georgia. Gray began her public radio career at WUGA in Athens, Georgia as a local host for All Things Considered® and a producer of her own Jazz Vocals show. In 1995, she moved to Atlanta and worked for Peach State Public Radio. For the next four years, she traveled the state and reported on subjects as diverse as multicultural southern churches in Atlanta, tornado devastation in Gainesville, school violence in Conyers, and the City of Savannah's attempt to solve the mystery of who's buried in Count Casimr Pulaski's tomb. Gray won over a dozen state and regional awards for her reports, several of which have been featured on NPR's airwaves. Currently, she is a production assistant for Morning Edition and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming, NPR reaches a growing audience of nearly 15 million Americans each week via more than 644 public radio stations. NPRŽ also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR WorldwideSM, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.