This week, in a special episode of NEXT, we listen to a collection of award-winning stories from the New England News Collaborative — from a retrospective on the couple that fought for marriage equality in Massachusetts, and later divorced, to a close look at a First Amendment dispute in New Hampshire.

How Making History Unmade A Family

Hillary Goodridge (left) with her daughter, Annie, and ex-wife Julie Goodridge. (Meredith Nierman/WGBH)

Sixteen years ago, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize marriages for same-sex couples. Hillary and Julie Goodridge were the face of the movement. The lawsuit that brought equality bares their name, and amid the spotlight, they wed on the first day they could.

“Every time if you look at any interview that we’ve done, we never talked about the trauma,” Julia Goodridge said.

Five years after that landmark court decision, they were getting divorced. And as WGBH Radio’s Gabrielle Emanuel reports, in winning the right to marry, the Goodridges say they lost their own marriage.

This story won a 2020 regional Edward R. Murrow award in the large market feature reporting category.

Model Citizen? No. But New Hampshire Man Is At Center of First Amendment Dispute

Robert Frese of Exeter, New Hampshire, strikes his favored pose in front of his ‘TRUMP1’ license plate. (Todd Bookman/NHPR)

There’s a little-known and little-used law on the books in New Hampshire called criminal defamation. It gives police the ability to arrest someone for intentionally spreading lies. But some see the law as a potential violation of the First Amendment. As New Hampshire Public Radio’s Todd Bookman reports, there’s a federal court case challenging the state’s law, and Robert Frese is at the center of it.

This story won a regional Edward R. Murrow award in the small market feature reporting category.

’12 Hours Of Burpee Madness’: Marine Vet Uses World Record Attempt To Build Suicide Awareness

Vermonter and veteran Jason Mosel takes a rest during his attempt to break the world record for the most burpees in a 12-hour period. (Peter Hirschfeld/VPR)

Marine veteran Jason Mosel enlisted when he was 16, a few weeks after 9/11. A year after he left Iraq, Mosel tried to take his own life. After he got help, he still struggled to turn things around.

“This is who you are. Your time in Iraq, your depression, your night terrors, your everything — this is you, and so how do you face it?” Mosel said. “How do you become mentally stronger than that demon that’s fighting you?”

For Mosel, the answer came in the form of extreme fitness challenges. On a Friday in March 2019, Mosel took to a gym in central Vermont, where he was attempting to break the world record for the most burpees in a 12-hour period. It was a culmination of sorts to a dramatic life turnaround. And as Vermont Public Radio’s Peter Hirschfeld reports, Mosel is using his story — and fitness challenges — to bring awareness to veteran suicide.

This September, Mosel plans to run all 272 miles of the Long Trail, which travels the length of Vermont.

This story won a second-place national Public Media Journalists Association award in the Division AA feature category.

Racing Against Climate Change: Falmouth Road Racers Feeling the Heat

Tired runners cool off during a training session for the 47th Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod in August 2019. As temperatures and humidity rise as a result of climate change, managing the heat is increasingly part of training. (Eve Zuckoff/WCAI)

The Falmouth Road Race brings nearly 13,000 runners to Cape Cod each summer. But in the 48 years since the first run, the temperature and humidity on race days have risen significantly.

“The Falmouth Road Race tends to produce a much higher rate of exertional heat stroke among its runners compared to other races,” said Julie Nolan, an exercise scientist and assistant professor at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

Back in August 2019, WCAI’s Eve Zuckoff went to find out how this 7-mile Cape tradition is trying to keep pace against climate change. This summer, in light of coronavirus concerns, the team behind the Falmouth Road Race is encouraging people to run and walk at home on their own time.

This story won a first-place 2020 national Public Media Journalists Association award in the Division B sports feature category.

Also On This Week’s Show:

You can find other New England News Collaborative award-winning stories here:

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host/Producer: Morgan Springer
Executive Editor: Vanessa de la Torre

Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Intern: Daniela Luna

Contributors to this episode: Todd Bookman, Gabrielle Emanuel, Peter Hirschfeld, Ana Gonzalez, Alex Nunes, Martha Bebinger and Eve Zuckoff.
Music from New England musicians: Todd Merrell, “New England” and “Pushback” by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Dreamin'” by The Wolff Sisters and “Tracphone” by Latrell James.

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