February 24, 2010
Emerson Brown, NPR



February 24, 2010; Washington, D.C. – The American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT) is honoring NPR News with three 2010 Gracie Awards® for outstanding series, documentary and podcast, it was announced today. Earning awards are the documentary series "The Science of Spirituality" from religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty; a two-part report from Kabul correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson on wide-spread drug addiction in Afghanistan; and the Culturetopia podcast, hosted by arts reporter Neda Ulaby and blogger Linda Holmes. The Gracie Awards recognize and encourage the realistic representation of women in the news and entertainment.

Winning a Gracie Award for “Outstanding Documentary” is "The Science of Spirituality," a five-part series reported by religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty in May 2009 on All Things Considered. Based on her book Fingerprints of God, the series delves into burgeoning research studying the human brain to look for evidence of a spiritual world and the new technologies being used to document it. Whether donning a "God helmet," exploring how prayer affects the brain or examining the neural changes caused by near-death experiences, Hagerty finds that people are experiencing something profound – divine or not. Sharing the award are Cindy Johnston, editor, and web editors Erin Killian and Maria Godoy. The entire series is at: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104257486

NPR's Afghanistan correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson earns the award in the "Outstanding Series" category for her April 2009 two-part story on the growing number of Afghans escaping the pain of war and poverty by turning to the plentiful and cheap supply of heroin and opium in their country. In the series, she details how a combination of factors – including the war, unemployment and returning Afghan refugees from Iran – are creating and perpetuating a vicious cycle of addiction with little treatment resources available. Among the powerful portraits captured by Sarhaddi Nelson are a 30-year-old mother of six that feeds her drug habit at the expense of her children, and a nine-year-old boy trying to kick his two-year heroin addiction. The award is shared with series editor Douglas Roberts. The reports and accompanying online material are available at npr.org: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102984398&ps=rs

NPR Arts Reporter Neda Ulaby and Monkey See blogger Linda Holmes' Culturetopia podcast takes home the Gracie Award for "Outstanding Podcast." Culturetopia encapsulates the week's news in books, movie, television, music and media. Every Wednesday, Ulaby, Holmes and guests offer a rundown of notable arts coverage from across NPR News shows, providing additional insights into many of the stories. Executive Producer Sara Sarasohn and Producer Michael Katzif are also honored with the award. Download Culturetopia at NPR's podcast directory: www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=89697153

The 35th Annual Gracie Awards will be presented at a gala on May 25 in Los Angeles. The Gracies are granted by AWRT, a charitable non-profit supporting educational programs, public service campaigns and scholarships to benefit the public, mass media and allied field. NPR has been the recipient of 13 Gracie Awards since 2002.