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WAER continues award-winning form at the latest Syracuse Press Club awards

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Matt Bonaparte (L), Calvin Christophoro and Chris Bolt with Syracuse Press Club awards at Saturday night's ceremony

The journalism of WAER Syracuse Public Media was honored with four awards for news coverage and two awards for sports stories and shows by the Syracuse Press Club Saturday night.

News announcer and reporter Katie Zilcosky's story "Syracuse Neighborhood Food Pantry Needs More Space" was recognized as Best Human-Interest Feature. The story tells the tale of the Greater Syracuse Southside Food Pantry, with little room to help people, despite having valuable food for families facing food insecurity.

WAER reporting was also recognized for Best Investigative Story for Chris Bolt's "Why are COVID Vaccinations Lagging in Certain Communities?" This story was part of WAER's City Limits: Winds of Change reporting and examined how minority communities were facing several barriers - trust and access - to gaining higher vaccination rates.

In Sports journalism, Calvin Christophoro's piece "The Portal" was named Best Sports Story. It took a creative approach to explaining the new way college athletes can change colleges much more freely than in the past.

Another first place honor as given to Katie Zilcosky's "Syracuse School Resource Officers: Necessary?" The story offered perspectives on the role of police officers in Syracuse schools, where keeping peace and order can run up against charges of mistreatment, especially involving students of color.

The final sports honor was given to the special Sportsnight Basketball Season Preview Show. Matt Bonaparte and Ben Shulman were among the key contributors for this broadcast that included interviews and other segments.

In the Spot News Category, Chris Bolt's piece, "Swift Reactions to January 6th Insurrection at US Capitol from Local Representatives, Law Experts" took second place.

WAER's General Manager Chris Bolt earns SPC Special Honor

The Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award is given to a local journalist or news leader whose high standards serve as an inspiration to others in the field. Chris' 32 years of broadcasting and covering the Central New York community were honored with the award this year.

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WAER GM Chris Bolt addresses Syracuse Press Club gathering after getting Professional Standards Award.

The Club recognized efforts to keep local news coverage alive and strong on radio, evolving the news coverage over time, and serving as a mentor to young journalists who have worked at the station over the years.

Chris started as a News Producer with WAER in 1990, serving as an anchor, reporter and supervisor of student reporters. He became News Director in 1995, continuing coverage of local news, specifically in environment, health, elderly issues, substance abuse and arts and culture, among other stories. He continued mentoring students over the years, including special project coverage involving both professional and student staff. At times that included reaching into high schools to engage local students in journalism projects.

Chris was joined at the celebration by wife Anne and award winners Calvin Christophoro and Matt Bonaparte.