Associated Press Published

WVPB’s Suzanne Higgins Receives AP Lifetime Achievement Award

Suzanne Higgins holds the 2015 AP Lifetime Achievement Award.
Suzanne Higgins

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — Suzanne Higgins, longtime producer and reporter at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, is the recipient of the Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award is given annually by the VAPB to an individual who has made significant contributions to news reporting, management, or education in West Virginia broadcasting for at least 20 years.

Higgins is a senior producer of news and public Affairs for WVPB. She has produced full-length programs and smaller news and feature stories for both television and radio.

“It’s her job to be connected to her community in Raleigh County and have a pulse on its people and their goals, challenges, setbacks and successes, and to bring those stories to West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s audience,” said Beth Vorhees, news director at WVPB. “Because what matters here, should matter to us all.”

An investigative series by Higgins on mismanagement of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia, was cited by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s staff as fuel for the senator’s action that led to the change in leadership at the hospital. The series won the RTNDA Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting — Large Market.

Higgins also was the first producer in West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s history to produce and host a nightly legislative program, “Legislative Update.”

For several years, Higgins produced WVPB’s award-winning series “Aging with Grace & Dignity.” The radio program won AP’s best public service program its first and last year of production. The TV special on advance directives won a Regional Emmy Award.

“My time as producer and host of ‘Aging With Grace and Dignity’ has been the most rewarding; it was my most important work,” Higgins said. “I believe the stories, experiences and voices of our elders must be heard and preserved — and I believe what we produced was a truly unique effort in West Virginia.”

Higgins is a native of Wheeling, West Virginia. She graduated from the Mt. DeChantel Visitation Academy in Wheeling and Wheeling Jesuit University.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented on Saturday by the Virginias AP Broadcast group at its awards luncheon and annual meeting in Charlottesville.