First Prize

Features (Large Newsroom)

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The Children in the Shadows

Samantha Shapiro
The New York Times


About the Entry

Over the course of two years, Samantha Shapiro followed half a dozen New York City homeless families as they struggled with the often dueling imperatives of finding shelter and keeping their children in school. One in 10 New York City schoolchildren — a staggering 114,000 — are homeless. Shapiro’s article was based in New York City, but it represents a larger national story that has not yet been fully told. 

Comments from the Judges

“The depth and thoroughness of reporting on this piece is remarkable, and Samantha skillfully weaves broader context into the narratives of the families living out a grim and helpless reality, perpetuated by an antiquated system that seemingly prides itself on its inefficacy.”

“This is an heroic reporting effort. An amazing mixture of human elements and bureaucratic investigation. And the personal connection at the end is heartbreaking. A great project.”


Climate Change: Are We Ready?
Caroline Preston, Pete D’Amato and Rebecca Klein
The Hechinger Report, HuffPost

Comment from the judges: “A bracing dive into curricular and infrastructural deficiencies of an under-addressed issue in education, particularly in a year when the coronavirus and election dominated the news cycle.”

The Test of Their Lives 
Laura Meckler
The Washington Post

Comment from the judges: “This story stood out because of its strong narrative, showing how students and teachers worked to stick to their goals. It also felt more complete, cataloging successes along with the challenges. I found myself rooting for the students and their teacher through their high moments and low ones.”