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KCUR’s Overlooked podcast wins national investigative journalism award from IRE

Courtesy of KCUR

An investigation into systemic police corruption in Kansas City, Kansas, the podcast from KCUR Studios and the NPR Midwest Newsroom was recognized as one of the best works of investigative reporting of 2022.

KCUR’s Overlooked podcast has won the award for best audio project (small market) from the national nonprofit Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), one of the most prestigious honors in investigative journalism.

The annual IRE Awards honor outstanding investigative reporting across all media, including print, TV, radio, and student work.

“This is incredibly compelling storytelling on an important and long-overlooked story,” IRE judges wrote in their award announcement. “The suspenseful storytelling puts the audience in the moment and left us wanting more… This was far and away one of the best entries in the competition!”

A production of KCUR Studios and the NPR Midwest Newsroom, and a member of the NPR Podcast Network, Overlooked is a series about systemic problems long left unaddressed throughout the Midwest.

In its first season, Overlooked revealed the decades of trauma left by Roger Golubski, a retired Kansas City, Kansas Police detective who used the power of his badge to exploit Black women and put at least one innocent man in jail.

Over six episodes, the podcast uncovers how Golubski got away with his actions for so long, shows how his accusers are still seeking accountability, and asks what justice even looks like now.

An investigative podcast about the systemic problems long left unaddressed throughout the Midwest.

“This was a story that needed to be told,” says host Peggy Lowe. “In addition to exposing police corruption, Overlooked sought to shine a light on the many Black women who were so brave in telling us their stories about Roger Golubski. Kansas City, Kansas, is still coming to grips with the sins of its past and I hope Overlooked helps hold people accountable. Maybe one day, these women will see some justice.”

More than two years in the making, Overlooked launched in September 2022, right as Golubski was indicted and arrested by federal authorities. Golubski remains on home arrest, facing federal charges of rape, kidnapping and protecting a sex trafficking operation of underage women.

KCUR and the Midwest Newsroom continue to cover Golubski’s court case and the stories of his alleged victims.

Since Overlooked premiered, a KCUR listener has organized a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a headstone for Stacey Quinn, one of the women whom Golubski is accused of victimizing, who was murdered in 2000.

The Overlooked team includes Peggy Lowe, host and reporter; Mackenzie Martin and Suzanne Hogan, producers and mixers; Steve Vockrodt and Dan Margolies, reporters; CJ Janovy, editor and KCUR director of content; Lisa Rodriguez, KCUR news director; and Gabe Rosenberg, digital editor.

Additional support for Overlooked is provided by Allison Harris, social media; Carlos Moreno and Julie Denesha, photography; Crysta Henthorne and Chandler Johnson, graphic design; Paris Norvell and Trevor Grandin, production support; Genevieve Des Marteau, KCUR director of audience development; and Holly Edgell, managing editor of the NPR Midwest Newsroom.

This year, IRE also recognized another investigative work by the NPR Midwest Newsroom in the category of Audio, Small: “Missouri knew of contamination in Springfield’s groundwater decades before anyone told residents,” first published by St. Louis Public Radio.

IRE, founded in 1975, is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to training and supporting journalists who pursue investigative stories.

Karen Campbell is the Director of Institutional Giving & Communications for KCUR 89.3. You can reach her at karen@kcur.org.
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