[February 10, 2011 — Amherst, MA] Veteran WFCR reporter Karen Brown has been awarded the Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media from The Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. According to the Austen Riggs Center, the prize recognizes major contributions to public understanding of mental health issues, primarily in print, online and broadcast media. Brown was recognized for her coverage of mental health issues for WFCR, and her independent work on the same topic for National Public Radio, American Radio Works and other national outlets. She has produced several radio documentaries on mental health issues including childhood bipolar disorder, the effects of mental illness on "well" siblings, the legacy of trauma on non-Western refugees, and the role of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the collapse of a marriage.
Brown has been a full-time general assignment reporter for WFCR since 1998. She often covers health care, social welfare, and many issues affecting the low-income communities of Springfield and Holyoke. Her features have appeared on National Public Radio, American RadioWorks, Marketplace, and other national radio outlets. She has won a number of national awards for her reporting on mental health issues, including the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, the Gracie Allen Award from American Women in Radio and Television, First place from the Association of Health Care Journalists, and two National Edward R. Murrow Awards. She has received the Kaiser Media Fellowship for health reporting, and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship in Mental Health Journalism. Prior to working at WFCR, Karen was a print reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She earned a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jennifer Senior, a contributing editor to New York Magazine, and Carl Elliot, M.D., a writer for the Atlantic Monthly and a professor of bio-ethics at the University of Minnesota also received the 2011 Erikson Prize. The three will be recognized with a cash award and honored in a colloquy on mental health media at the Austen Riggs Center on May 7, 2011. The Media Colloquy is open to the public. Individuals interested in attending the colloquy can call 413.931.5236 or go to www.austenriggs.org to register online.