1997 National Awards for Education Reporting

SAN FRANCISCO, — The Education Writers Association (EWA), the national professional association of education reporters and writers, today announced that New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg won the Fred M.Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting.His series, Room 3-223 , was chosen by the judges from the first-place winners in the 1997 National Awards for Education Reporting, the most prestigious national competition for education writing.The annual contest, open to all education reporters and writers, honors the best education reporting in the print and broadcast media and is the only independent contest of its kind in the United States. Contest entries were limited to stories produced by individuals and published or broadcast for the first time during the 1997 calendar year.

A total of 437 entries were judged in this year’s contest. First place winners receive a cash prize of $250 and a plaque. Winners of second prizes and special citations each receive a certificate. The Hechinger Grand Prize, which includes an award of $1,000 and a plaque, was presented to Steinberg during the annual awards banquet during the Education Writers Association’s 51st National Seminar, March 29-April 1, 1998, in San Francisco.

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Chief Judge Steve Barkin of the College of Journalism, University of Maryland. This year’s panel of judges included: Maurine Beasley, Professor, College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Jean Cobb, Associate Editor, American Journalism Review; Ron Cohen, Executive Editor, Gannett News Service, Arlington, Va.; Jay Goldman, Editor, School Administrator, American Association of School Administrators; Christi Harlan, Texas Correspondent, Cox Newspapers; Marvin Lake, Director of Recruitment and Retention, The Virginian-Pilot; Frank Quine, College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Lee Thornton, Professor of Broadcast Journalism, University of Maryland; Cathy Trost, Director, Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families and Gregg Zoroya, Freelance Writer.

Recent winners of the Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting include Robert Frahm and Rick Green, The Hartford Courant; Dudley Aldhaus, Houston Chronicle; and Education Team, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 1997 recipients are as follows:

I. Newspapers under 100,000 Circulation

A. Breaking News

  • 1st Prize: No Prize Awarded
  • 2nd Prize: David OlsonTimes Herald-Record – “Sex, politics and SUNY”
  • Special Citations: Dana Pride and Lady HerefordNashville Banner – “Mayor pitches core curriculum for schools”; Tracey Lynn CloughArlington Morning News – “Academy”

B. Feature

No Prizes Awarded

C. News Feature or Issue Package

  • 1st Prize: Larry Copenhauer and Mary BustamanteTucson Citizen – “High School Opinion Poll”
  • Special Citation: Susan YoungBangor Daily News – “School Funding Gap Wider”

D. Series or Group of Articles

  • 1st Prize: Kelly Shaw, Amy Sweeney, Bill Kirk and Dan RyanSalem Evening NewsHard Lessons
  • 2nd Prize: Rob TrippKingston Whig-Standard – “Trust Betrayed”
  • Special Citations: Holly K. Hacker, Jean Cowden Moore and Maureen MageeVentura County Star - “Who’s Teaching Citation Our Kids?”; Susan YoungBangor Daily News – “American University in Bulgaria”

E. Investigative Reporting

  • 1st Prize: Beth SzymkowskiSan Bernardino Sun – “Charter schools- Readin’ and Writin’ and Moneymakin’ ”

F. Opinion

  • 1st Prize: Dewey KnudsenNashville Banner – “Education Matters”
  • 2nd Prize: Phil HaslangerThe Capital Times – “Teacher Tensions”

G. Special Section or Page

  • 1st Prize: Sharron Kahn, Julie Spitz and Vanessa ParksMiddlesex News – “Classroom”
  • 2nd Prize: Barbara GrefTimes Herald - Record – “Making the Grade”

II. Newspapers over 100,000 Circulation

A. Breaking News

  • 1st Prize: Sarah LubmanSan Jose Mercury News – “The UC System and Affirmative Action”


  • 2nd Prize: Mario Rossilli, Andy Kanengiser, Jill Farrell King, Butch John, Keith Warren and Josh Zimmer - Clarion-Ledger – “Pearl High Shooting Tragedy”
  • Special Citation: Lonnie Harp - Lexington Herald-Leader – “KIRIS Test Scores”

B. Feature

  • 1st Prize: Anne O’ConnorStar Tribune – ” {C}{C}{C}Answer this {C}{C}{C}”
  • 2nd Prize: Eric L. WeeWashington Post – “Rookie At The Blackboard”
  • Special Citation: Richard Lee Colvin Los Angeles Times – “A Primer in Math History”

C. News Feature Package

  • 1st Prize: Steve StecklowThe Wall Street Journal – “Apple Polishing”
  • 2nd Prize: Lori Olszewski, Yumi Wilson and Tanya SchevitzSan Francisco Chronicle - “Credentialing Crunch”
  • Special Citation: John Hildebrand - Newsday – “Making the Grade”

D. Series

  • (TIE) 1st Prize: John Hildebrand, Jack Sirica, Lauren Terrazzano, Deborah Barfield, Martin C. Evans, Jerry Markon, Jessica Kowal and Michael SlackmanNewsday - “Special Education”
  • Jacques SteinbergNew York Times “Room 3-223″
  • 2nd Prize: Tim Simmons and Ruth Sheehan - The News & Observer – “Too little, Too late”

E. Investigative Reporting

  • 1st Prize: Steve StecklowThe Wall Street Journal – “Cheat Sheets”
  • 2nd Prize: Jeffrey Meitrodt and Rhonda NabonneTimes Picayune – “Too Good To Be True”
  • Special Citation: Pam Kelley, Liz Chandler and Ted MelliukThe Charlotte Observer – “Slighted in Sports”

F. Opinion

  • 1st Prize: John Grogan - Sun-Sentinel – “Are Children Learning?”
  • 2nd Prize: Deborah SimmonsThe Washington Times – “DC Schools Editorials”
  • Special Citations: Linda CagnettiThe Cincinnati Enquirer – “School Levy Report Card”; Larry D. KeelingLexington Herald-Leader – “Kentucky Higher-Ed Reform”

G. Special Section or Page

  • 1st Prize: Linda Shaw, Tom Brown, Tom Boyer and Bill RistowSeattle Times – “Improving Our Schools”
  • 2nd Prize: Stephanie Reitz, David Owens, Marie Shanahan, Matthew Hay, Fran Silverman, Jesse Brown and Rita Niro LeavenworthHartford Courant – “The New Literacy”
  • Special Citation: Karin Klein and Deanne BrandonLos Angeles Times Orange County Edition – “Education Page”

III. National Magazine

  • 1st Prize: Erik Larson, Kevin Fedarko, Richard Lacayo, Sally Donnelly and Tamala EdwardsTIME Inc. “What Makes a Good School”
  • 2nd Prize: Todd OppenheimerThe Atlantic Monthly – “The Computer Delusion”

IV. Regional/Local Magazine

  • Special Citations: Jon MarcusBoston Magazine – “Inside the Higher Ed Racket”; Mary Van de Kamp NohlMilwaukee Magazine – “Continued Education of the Disabled”

V. Special Interest, Trade Publications

  • 1st Prize: Lynn SchnaibergEducation Week “Power of Language”
  • 2nd Prize: Jeff ArcherEducation Week – “Keeping the Faith”
  • Special Citation: Stephen BurdThe Chronicle of Higher Education – “The Higher Education Act”

VI. Television

A. Hard News and Investigative

  • 1st Prize: Bret BaierWRAL-TV - “School Sales Tax”

B. Documentary and Feature

  • 1st Prize: Celeste FordWABC-TV - “Room 104: The Overcrowding Crisis”
  • 2nd Prize: John Merrow and Sonia Slutsky - The Merrow Report – “School Crusade: The Reality”
  • Special Citations: Maria Shriver and Joe FerulloDateline NBC – “Fear and Learning”; Sean McLaughlin and Mike Sebastian - WICS-TV – “Your Money, Their Future”

VII. Radio

  • 1st Prize: Esme Codell and Jay Allison - WBEZ-FM – “Call Me Madame”
  • 2nd Prize: Jody BeckerWBEZ-FM - “Reconstitution: A Final Attempt at School Reform”
  • Special Citation: Leda Hartman - WUNC-FM – “Chapel Hill High School”