By: Sharon Aron Baron
A breaking news story about the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department’s award-winning cancer prevention documentary won Coral Springs Talk first place for best independent news website.
On Saturday, the Florida Press Club recognized journalists from all over the state. Typically held in various locations, this year, the event was held online where nominees listened for their names to be called out by presenter and FPC President Anne Geggis.
The winning article by writer Jen Russon called Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department Wins Emmy for Documenting their Cancer Battles covered the Emmy-award-winning documentary “Our Story,” by Ryan Himmel, Video/Photo Manager with the City of Coral Springs.
Himmel documented the department’s changes to their work environment after Firefighter Paul Pietrafesa succumbed to terminal cancer in 2016. Other firefighters interviewed in his documentary were diagnosed with a litany of cancers — who realized their cases weren’t isolated.
The department, led by then-Chief Frank Babinec, and Safety Officer Christopher Bator, subsequently made changes to the department. Himmel’s eight-minute documentary was awarded at the 43rd Annual Suncoast Regional Emmy Awards in December 2019.
With two other competitors in the category, Coral Springs Talk was chosen based on its timely and relevant news of the day and for being an excellent example of feature reporting in independent, online news.
Talk Media also won First Place in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.