WVPB Wins National Award for 'Jay: A Rockefeller's Journey'


West Virginia Public Broadcasting has won the 2016 NETA Best Documentary Award for Jay: A Rockefeller’s Journey. “As a former VISTA myself, I’ve long known the powerful story of Jay Rockefeller falling in love with West Virginia,” said Scott Finn, WVPB executive director.

“It is our privilege to bring that story to the world, and our honor to be recognized by NETA for the documentary’s excellence,” said Finn.

The film’s producer/writer Suzanne Higgins and producer/editor Russ Barbour accepted the award at the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s annual conference for PBS member stations in Baltimore Monday night. Higgins and Barbour also won regional Emmys for the documentary earlier this summer.

“I’m very proud of our producers and the entire production team,” said Chuck Roberts, WVPB director of video production and chief operating officer. “We competed with the best documentaries produced by PBS stations in 2015, so it’s very exciting.”

Key WVPB video production members on the Rockefeller project included Aaron Shackelford, Chip Hitchcock, Chuck Frostick, Larry Dowling, John Hale, Janet Kunicki, Jeff Higley, John Nakashima, Chuck Kleine and composer Matt Jackfert.


West Virginia Public Broadcasting has won the 2016 NETA Best Documentary Award for Jay: A Rockefeller’s Journey.

Jay: A Rockefeller’s Journey is a 2-hour program tracing the 50-year public service career of John D. Rockefeller IV, capturing much of the political history of West Virginia, his adopted home. As one historian states in the film, the Rockefeller name was notorious and despised for more than the first half of the 20th century, and the great grandson of industrial titan John Davison Rockefeller spent his professional career in an effort to rehabilitate that name.

The documentary explores Jay Rockefeller’s influences and motivation, his successes and failures, from early childhood, to his arrival in West Virginia as a poverty worker, through chairmanships of some of the most influential committees in the United States Senate.  

Jay: A Rockefeller’s Journey was produced with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.