First Prize

Beat Reporting (Large Newsroom)

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Bianca Vázquez Toness

Bianca Vázquez Toness
The Boston Globe


About the Entry

Time after time, the work of Bianca Vázquez Toness has highlighted systemic failures and abuses during the pandemic — and beyond — through the stories of the students and parents most deeply affected. Nearly all of her pieces were told not only through on-the-record accounts of families but also supportive documents and data that illuminated the depth and scale of the problem. That powerful combination has routinely forced state and local leaders to rethink their policies and practices. 

Comments from the Judges

“I love the stories selected for this submission. The access displayed within these submissions is truly wonderful. Well done overall and Ms. Toness should be proud of this body of work.”

“This is accountability journalism. The reporter not only found ways to tell compelling stories amid the pandemic, but wrote about things districts were doing or had done that dramatically affected how learning continued and how demographics were disproportionately impacted.​”


Dana Goldstein, K-12 Schools
Dana Goldstein
The New York Times

Comment from the judges: “The stories were timely, often way ahead of others as news outlets sought to show how the pandemic would affect educating the country’s children. The addition of the textbook piece showed that amid the pandemic, life still went on. Months later, stories still offer elements of ‘I wish I’d thought to write that.’”

Laura Meckler
Laura Meckler
The Washington Post

Comment from the judges: “Overall through all her pieces, Meckler shows a great range of types of beat coverage – from policy to the personal and combines this with well-structured storytelling that either breaks your heart, makes you mad, or helps readers get inside bureaucracies to better understand decisionmaking.”