War News Radio's Kyle Crawford '12 recently received a 2010 Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his story "Dunson Vision." The piece, honored in the radio news reporting category, documents how soldiers have used Youtube to share their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan with the public. It first aired last summer as part of WNR's larger project, "Uploading the War."
"Dunson Vision" showcases how making Youtube videos has enabled soldiers on the ground-level to share their personal stories about war. Besides portraying combat, the videos also capture lighter scenes, such as soldiers enjoying a spoof of Fox NFL Sunday, that reveal the human side of wartime. Crawford, an honors political science and sociology and anthropology major from Canada, interviewed an American sergeant and a British soldier for the piece.
"In the past, only large networks could report from the front lines," Crawford says. "YouTube allows soldiers to tell their own personal stories and to share what life is like on the ground. I think this democratization of information is incredibly valuable."
According to the soldiers, the videos visualized their daily experiences in a war zone for friends and family that wanted to view them. For those considering the military or those about to be deployed, the videos were also a good public resource.
"I was really surprised when I heard that I received the award," Crawford says. "I think the honor shows that War News Radio produces some tremendous journalism."