Announcement

The Education Writers Association announces the winners of the 2010 National Awards for Education Reporting
The prestigious annual competition honors the best coverage of education in print and broadcast media. It is the only independent contest of its kind.

Public education was one of the largest beneficiaries of the $814 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, but questions remain about how – and whether – some $100 billion in federal stimulus funds for education have made much difference.

To coincide with the two-year anniversary of the stimulus, newspapers in dozens of cities are publishing an examination of spending on local education. Reporters have found that much of the stimulus money went to maintaining existing programs and staffing in schools. Also, many of the policy changes spurred by the stimulus money are already endangered by political squabbles and massive budget shortfalls. The wave of coverage is the result of a partnership among The Hechinger Report, the Education Writers Association and more than 30 news outlets.

The Report and EWA worked for three months with the news outlets, helping them investigate stimulus spending on education in their communities. A pair of national-level reporters and a project editor, hired by The Report and EWA, also spent that time digging into information supplied by local news outlets to report and write national stories.

The result is the largest series ever done on the $100 billion education stimulus.

“I think the response to this project shows that there is a big demand for these kinds of crowdsourcing-style news investigations,” said Richard Lee Colvin, editor of The Hechinger Report. “We’re seeing a new model for collaborations among news organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit.”

“When journalists team up, we are greater than the sum of our parts, and the same holds true of nonprofits that work to promote high-quality education journalism,” said Caroline Hendrie, executive director of EWA, a membership organization based in Washington, D.C. “This groundbreaking collaboration clears the ways for others to follow.”

The stories will appear in local newspapers over the next several weeks, depending on the needs and preferences of individual publications. The national stories and links to all local coverage that is currently online can be found on The Hechinger Report and EWA websites (http://hechingerreport.org/category/special_reports/economic_stimulus/ and http://www.edmoney.org/, respectively).

The Hechinger Report is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization focused on covering national and regional education news. Stories produced by The Report have appeared in many prominent U.S. publications, including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today and Washington Monthly. The Report is produced by the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, based at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The Education Writers Association is a nonprofit, professional organization of more than 2,000 members of the media who specialize in education. Since 1947, EWA has been dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of education coverage to create a better-informed society. The association is funded by donations, sponsorships and grants from leading foundations.

Contact:

Davin McHenry, The Hechinger Report
mchenry@tc.columbia.edu
212-870-1075

Glen Baity, Education Writers Association
gbaity@ewa.com
202-452-9830