First Prize

Public Service (Smaller Newsroom)

2020 award winner & finalists banner


Why Don’t We Know Podcast: Education Records

Sara Ganim, Tori Whidden, Camille Respess, Amy Fu, James Sullivan, Daniel Townsend, Gabriella Paul, Marianna Faiello and Frank LoMonte
The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida


About the Entry

Four women who were victims of sexual violence say their universities kept their own education records from them — in clear violation of federal law. The podcast explores the troubling trend of how some higher education institutions keep the public in the dark on the true numbers of such cases, as well as when the investigations are found to have been mishandled. 

Comments from the Judges

“A deeply reported, compelling account that lays bare how universities have manipulated federal law to cover up student and staff wrongdoing — and protect the institutions’ reputations.”

“The stories of women trying to access their own records are told with clarity and empathy and interwoven in a way that shows how widespread and impactful these policies are.”


Best Public Service: Demystifying Chicago’s Local School Councils
Chalkbeat, Block Club Chicago, DataMade

Comment from the judges: “It can be hard to find the edges of public service journalism. Chalkbeat Chicago pushed its coverage of Local Schools Councils solidly into the realm of public service by collaborating with another news organization, expanding its reach and resources for both reporting and informing”

Reading Curriculum in Colorado Schools
Ann Schimke

Comment from the judges: “Chalkbeat’s investigation into the reading programs used throughout the state and their efficacy is impressive. Providing readers with the tools to identify and learn about the programs used in their own district and school, and to share their experience and questions is public service.”