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2012 Winners of the National Awards for Education Reporting

Image of 2012 Winners of the National Awards for Education Reporting

A project that took 10 years of persistence to document disturbing patterns of absenteeism in Chicago Public Schools won EWA’s Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting. The Chicago Tribune received the award for “An Empty-Desk Epidemic,” which demonstrated how students racked up missed days of school even as early as kindergarten. School officials ignored the problem.

The Education Writers Association also recognized the winners of the 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting at its annual meeting May 2-4, honoring dogged journalism, accomplished storytelling, and insightful analysis produced by print, radio and online media outlets across the country.

The 62 winning entries, chosen from among hundreds of submissions, came from newsrooms as small as nursery schools and as large as college dormitories. First-place winners were eligible for the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize; the winner was announced on May 4th during EWA’s 66th National Seminar. All winners were honored at the event, which was held from May 2-4 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Chief Judge Tamara M. Cooke Henry, Ph.D., of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. In all, 25 judges reviewed hundreds of submissions, many coming within a hair’s breadth of winning one of the three prizes possible in each category.

[PDF of Press Release]

Below, you will find individual pages to all the winning entries. Clearly, they are worth a read.

I. GENERAL NEWS OUTLETS, SMALL NEWSROOM: Print or online journalism publications with 25 or fewer FTE newsroom staffers. Written sources of education news, such as dailies and news blogs, are eligible.

A. Single-Topic News, Series or Feature:

First Prize—Gail Robinson, “Who Killed John Dewey High,” City Limits’ Brooklyn Bureau
Second Prize—Morgan Smith, “Death of a District,” Texas Tribune
Special Citation—Reeve Hamilton, “Completion Crisis,” Texas Tribune

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize—Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Education Coverage in Connecticut, Connecticut Mirror (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)

C. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize—Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Keith M. Phaneuf, and Mark Pazniokas for their series on higher education improprieties within the state board of regents, Connecticut Mirror (Seven-part series: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)

D. Opinion:

No Winner

II. GENERAL NEWS OUTLETS, MEDIUM NEWSROOM: Print or online journalism publications with a FTE newsroom staff of 26 to 100 employees. Written sources of education news, such as dailies and news blogs, are eligible.

A. Single-Topic News, Series or Feature:

First Prize—Ben Arnoldy, “Many Children Left Behind,” The Christian Science Monitor
Second Prize—Nate Rau, “Concussions: The Invisible Injury,” The Tennessean (Five-part feature: 1-2-3-4-5)
Special Citation—Amanda Paulson, “How to Measure a Good Teacher,” The Christian Science Monitor

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize—Benjamin Herold, Beat Reporting on Philadelphia Public Schools, WHYY/NewsWorks and The Philadelphia Public School Notebook (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9)
Second Prize—Topher Sanders, Beat Reporting on Jacksonville Education, The Florida Times-Union (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6)
Special Citation—Megan Boehnke, Higher Education Coverage in East Tennessee, Knoxville News Sentinel (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6)

And

Dave Breitenstein, Beat Reporting on Florida Higher Education, The News-Press (Interactive features: 1-2)

C. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize—Susan Ferriss, The Center for Public Integrity; Krissy Clark, KQED; and Vanessa Romo, KPCC for “Punishing Numbers” (Seven-part series: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)
Second Prize—Zahira Torres, El Paso School District Cheating Investigation, El Paso Times (Seven-part series: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)
Special Citation—Dan Kane, J. Andrew Curliss and Andrew Carter, UNC Academic Fraud, The News & Observer

D. Opinion:

First Prize—Robert Moore, El Paso Independent School District editorials, El Paso Times

III. GENERAL NEWS OUTLETS, LARGE NEWSROOM: Print or online journalism publications with a FTE newsroom staff of more than 100 employees. Written sources of education news, such as dailies and news blogs, are eligible.

A. Single-Topic News, Series or Feature:

First Prize—Denise-Marie Ordway, Jeff Kunerth, Stephen Hudak, and David Breen, FAMU Hazing Death, Orlando Sentinel (Winning stories: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)
Second Prize—Daniel Golden, “Campus Spying,” Bloomberg (Four-part series: 1-2-3-4)
Special Citation—Justin Pope, Title IX and Sexual Assault on Campus, The Associated Press (Three-part series: 1-2-3)

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize — Stephanie Simon, National Education Coverage, Reuters (Winning stories: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)
Second Prize —Justin Pope, National Higher Education Beat, The Associated Press (Winning stories: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)
Special Citation — Betsy Hammond, Oregon Education Reporting, The Oregonian (Winning stories: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)

C. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize—David Jackson, Gary Marx, Alex Richards and Scott Strazzante, An Empty-Desk Epidemic, Chicago Tribune
Second Prize—Jennifer Smith Richards and Bill Bush, Counting Kids Out, The Columbus Dispatch

And

Betsy Hammond, Diplomas Denied, The Oregonian

D. Opinion:

First Prize—Kate N. Grossman, Opinion Writing on Education in Chicago, Chicago Sun-Times (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4)


IV. EDUCATION-ONLY NEWS OUTLETS: Print, online or broadcast journalism outlets that cover exclusively education, maintain editorial independence and are not published or produced by advocacy groups, professional organizations, higher education institutions, alumni periodicals or think tanks. There are no size restrictions.

A. Single-Topic News, Series or Feature:

First Prize—Libby Sander, “Out of Uniform: Student Veterans,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (Five-part series: 1-2-3-4-5)

Second Prize—Benjamin Herold, Connie Langland, Samantha Byles, Dale Mezzacappa, Paul Jablow, Michelle Schmitt, Paul Socolar, Wendy Harris, Joseph Kemp, Harvey Finkle, and Erika Owens, Philadelphia Public School Notebook, with Todd Vachon and Jessica Kourkounis, WHYY/NewsWorks, for, “College for a Few” (Seven-part series: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)

And

Goldie Blumenstyk, Scott Carlson, Tom Bartlett, Dan Berrett, Karin Fischer, Eric Hoover, Jack Stripling, Beckie Supiano, Jeff Young, Brad Wolverton, Robin Wilson,
Aisha Labi and Jennifer Howard,College, Reinvented,” The Chronicle of Higher Education

Special Citation—Sara Neufeld, “A Promise to Renew in Newark,” The Hechinger Report, NJ Spotlight and WNYC

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize—Sarah Carr, K-12 in the South, The Hechinger Report (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5)
Second Prize—Stacey Patton, Covering Graduate Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)

And

Jon Marcus, Higher Education Beat, The Hechinger Report (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5)

Special Citation—Jack Stripling, Covering College Leadership, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)

C. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize—Melody Petersen, “As Beef Cattle Become Behemoths, Who Are Animal Scientists Serving?”, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Second Prize—Nancy Mitchell, Rebecca Jones, Jordan Wirfs-Brock, and Jon Sisk, EdNews Colorado; Katie Kerwin-McCrimmon, Solutions; and Burt Hubbard, Laura Frank and Joe Mahoney, I-News Network for “Medical Marijuana and K-12 schools

Special Citation—Brad Wolverton, Investigating College Athletics, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Five-part series: 1-2-3-4-5)

And

Sarah Garland and Jill Barshay of The Hechinger Report and Beth Fertig of WNYC for “Teaching the Teachers NYC” (Four-part series: 1-2-3-4)

D. Opinion:

First Prize—Jeffrey Selingo, Next: The Future of Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Second Prize—Anthony Cody, A Teacher in Dialogue with the Gates Foundation, Education Week

Special Citation—Lawrence Blum, Five Things High School Students Should Know About Race, Harvard Education Letter

And

Richard Weissbourd, Promoting Moral Development in Schools, Harvard Education Letter


V. BROADCAST: Entries may include spot news, feature segments, special programs, newscasts, streamed online stories, or podcasts for television or radio journalism organizations that maintain editorial independence and are not produced by lobbying groups, professional organizations, educational institutions, alumni periodicals, advocates or think tanks.

A. Single-Topic News, Series or Feature:

First Prize—Jenny Brundin, “Trevista,” Colorado Public Radio
Second Prize—Beth Fertig and Patricia Willens, “Charters & Choices,” WNYC
Special Citation—Kyla Calvert, Katie Euphrat, and Nic McVicker, Student homelessness in San Diego, KPBS

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize—Dan Carsen, Education Beat Reporting, The Southern Education Desk/WBHM (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9)
Second Prize—Christine Jessel, Beat Reporting in Tennessee, The Southern Education Desk /WUOT-FM (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)
Special Citation—Jenny Brundin, Beat Reporting, Colorado Public Radio (Winning entries: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7)

C. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize—Kavitha Cardoza and Ginger Moored, “American Graduate,” WAMU Public Radio
Second Prize—John O’Connor and Sarah Gonzalez of StateImpact Florida with WUSF and WLRN; and Mc Nelly Torres and Lynn Waddell, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting , for “13th Grade (Remedial Education in Florida)

Special Citation—Kavitha Cardoza, “No Place Like Home,” WAMU Public Radio


VI. MAGAZINES AND WEEKLIES: Print and online magazines and weekly newspapers that are editorially independent and not published by advocacy groups.

A. Feature Reporting:

First Place—Peg Tyre, “The Writing Revolution,” The Atlantic
Second Prize—Ted C. Fishman, “The Tuition Jackpot,” The New York Times Magazine
Special Citation—Peg Tyre, “Making the Grade: When Do Kids Deserve A’s?“, Family Circle

B. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize—Ron French, “Michigan’s Forgotten Four-Year-Olds,” Bridge Magazine

VII. EDUCATION ORGANIZATIONS AND EXPERTS: Content produced by advocacy groups, professional organizations, higher education institutions, alumni periodicals, think tanks, and individual advocates, activists and bloggers are eligible.

A. Continuing Coverage of an Issue:

First Prize—Mariko Nobori, Zachary Fink, David Markus, Vanessa Vega, “Schools That Work,” Edutopia
Second Prize—Rachel Fishman, Financial Aid, New America Foundation
Special Citation—Lisa Palmer, “Climate Science,” The Daily Climate, a publication of Environmental Health Sciences (Four-part series: 1-2-3-4)

B. Best Blog:

First Prize—Michael J. Petrilli, Flypaper, a publication of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Second Prize—Frank D. LoMonte, Adam Goldstein and Sara Gregory, FERPA Fact, a publication of the Student Press Law Center

And

Ray Salazar, writer of The White Rhino: A Chicago Latino English Teacher

Special Citation—Peter W. Cookson Jr., Thomas Dawson, Joni Finney, Jeff Selingo, Ben Wildavsky, and Chad Aldeman, The Quick and the Ed, a publication of Education Sector

 

 

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