Winner 2008

China: The Earthquake of Chengdu

National Public Radio

“Oh my goodness…we’re in the middle of an Earthquake?” All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block was in Chengdu, China, conducting an interview when a massive earthquake convulsed the booming Sichuan province on May 12, 2008. The incredulity and shock didn’t leave Block’s voice as she and producer Andrea Hsu hustled from a shuddering church building to the relative safety of the street, but her descriptive play-by-play continued. “The top of the church is falling down,” she reported. “The ground is undulating under my feet.” Block set a tone that she and her colleague Robert Siegel and their NPR team would maintain for days thereafter. They ventured farther and farther from the city, at times circumventing uncooperative, even hostile government authorities. Calmly and meticulously, they described collapsed schools and hospitals, plastic tarps covered with victims’ bodies and frantic efforts to dig survivors from the rubble. Lacking video in the early going, CNN played excerpts of NPR’s audio coverage over photographs shot by Hsu, but NPR listeners heard so vividly, it was as if they were seeing. For detailed, compassionate reporting in the face of danger, grief and official resistance, China: The Earthquake in Chengdu receives a Peabody Award.


Reporters: Melissa Block, Robert Siegel. Producer: Andrea Hsu. Writers: All Things Considered and NPR.