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VOA Drought Documentary Keeps Winning Awards

Last year's widespread drought withered crops in the Midwest.
Last year's widespread drought withered crops in the Midwest.
A VOA documentary about last year’s historic drought in the U.S. Midwest has been showered with praise at the recent International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress in Buenos Aires, where it was named runner-up for the prestigious Star Prize in Broadcasting.

A Dry Season, which weaves together reports from Midwest VOA Correspondent Kane Farabaugh and Food, Agriculture Nutrition Correspondent Steve Baragona, provides a comprehensive look at the far-ranging impacts of the drought.

“It is an honor to have our work recognized by a leading body of agricultural journalists, the IFAJ,” Farabaugh says. “The damage to some farming operations caused by the drought was permanent, and the increased demand for food around the world is a topic that we will continue to cover in-depth for Voice of America.”

Judges for the Star Prize described the 30-minute production as “well-filmed and well-told by a team of professional broadcasters. It appeared to cover every aspect of an important story that has clearly affected many livelihoods in the USA. It was objective and balanced and a first-class example of the fine work of Voice of America.”

The IFAJ award, which was announced September 4th, is the production’s fourth major recognition in as many months. On August 6th, A Dry Season placed first in the Multimedia Production category at the American Agricultural Editors Association awards banquet in Buffalo, New York.

The Association of Women in Communication has awarded the VOA team with the International Clarion Award, which will be presented at a ceremony on October 18th in Springfield, Illinois.

A Dry Season was also honored earlier this summer at the regional AP Awards banquet, taking the top prize for Outstanding Documentary/In-Depth Reporting.

“It’s a thrill to know that our work on these big agricultural issues is up there with the best in the world,” says Steve Baragona. “American farmers produce a sizeable chunk of the world’s food, and what drought does to them and how they respond matters well beyond our borders.”

Along with Farabaugh and Baragona, executive producer Amy Katz, Michael Burke and Adam Greenbaum were also part of the award-winning production.