Award-winning “APM Reports” podcast canceled by Minnesota Public Radio. | Daily News Podcast

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APM Reports’ acclaimed investigative podcast “In the Dark,” whose three-year investigation and 20 podcast episodes helped overturn the conviction of a Mississippi man on death row, has received several awards, including a pair of Peabody Awards, and was even featured in “60 Minutes” last year. But in a surprise move, Minnesota Public Radio canceled the series.

“In the Dark” has released two seasons over the past seven years. The first season was an investigation into the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling and how law enforcement mishandled one of the nation’s most notorious child kidnappings for 27 years.

The second season investigated the case of Curtis Flowers, a black man from Winona, Mississippi, who was tried six times for the same crime. Flowers spent more than 20 years fighting for his life while a white prosecutor spent the same time trying just as hard to execute him. Its legal team included evidence uncovered by the podcast team in its winning appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

The move resulted in costs. The APM Reports team spent three years producing its second season, and although it won praise in journalism circles, Minnesota Public Radio’s new management team decided that those financial resources would be better used elsewhere.

“As a trusted public media service, Minnesota Public Radio is committed to delivering high-quality journalism, programming and experiences to our audiences and communities,” MPR said in a statement. “In line with this commitment, the advancement of our strategic priorities and our responsibility as financial stewards of MPR’s resources, we have made a difficult decision regarding the future of APM Reports. We are dissolving APM Reports as a separate business unit and incorporating certain programming elements into MPR News. Unfortunately, this change means that colleagues, who have invested their energy, skills and passion with us, will leave our organization.

The Star Tribune reports that the APM Reports team was made aware of the decision on Thursday. It is unclear how many of the 18 employees will be laid off.

The move comes two months after Minnesota Public Radio and US public media merged into a single entity under CEO Jean Taylor. The two-division structure had focused MPR on operating Minnesota Public Radio and APM primarily on its national syndication and podcasting efforts. The reorganization resulted in the departure of American Public Media Group executive vice president and American Public Media president Dave Kansas, who had worked at APM since 2011.

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