First Prize

2021 Beat Reporting (Small Newsroom) Winner

Linda Jacobson, The 74

Covering American Education’s Most Turbulent Year

About the Winner

During a year when travel was difficult, and visiting schools often impossible, Linda Jacobson produced stories on the big issues, from the effects of COVID-19 on students’ academic performance and mental well-being to the increasingly polarizing fights over making our schools — and curriculum — more inclusive.

Comments from the Judges:

“I liked the range of topics in this entry, all timely, but the writing put it over the top for me. This lead, for example, grabbed me and wouldn’t let go – ‘The day her teenage daughter’s hair began to fall out, Eva Garcia knew the stress had become too much.’”

“Linda humanizes complex topics with specificity and empathy. Her clips demonstrate deep subject knowledge, broad national connections and a commitment to highlighting local voices of students and parents. Her story about working teens in particular stood out to me — it was a topic lots of people had speculated about but few reporters managed to cover.”