2002 National Awards for Education Reporting

Eric Eyre and Scott Finn of the Charleston (W.V.) Gazette received the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting at EWA’s National Seminar in Chicago April 26 for their digging and vivid writing in Closing Costs: School Consolidation in West Virginia. The pair chronicled the tortuous bus rides made by young schoolchildren because the state of West Virginia was eager to consolidate schools and save money.Some children as young as five had bus rides that lasted as long as two hours — one-way — despite state transportation laws.

Said one EWA judge: The series “uncovered a terrible injustice and told it compellingly through the eyes of the children who rode the buses and the parents who had to load them on for insufferably long rides. The story was all the more impressive given the relatively scant resources that papers of that size have at their disposal.”

The grand prize includes a cash prize of $1,000. The winner is selected out of the 2002 National Awards for Education Reporting first-prize winners.

The Education Writers Association (EWA), the national professional association of education reporters and writers, announced the winners of the 2002 National Awards for Education Reporting, the prestigious national competition for education writing, on Feb. 26. The annual contest 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 published or broadcast for the first time during the 2002 calendar year.

A total of 432 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 Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, which includes an award of $1,000 and a plaque, will be presented to the best of the first-place winners. All prizes, including the announcement of the Grand Prize, are given at the awards banquet April 26 at 6:30 p.m. during the Education Writers Association’s 56th National Seminar, April 24-26, 2003, at the W City Center Hotel in Chicago.

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Chief Judge Chris Harvey of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. This year’s panel of distinguished judges included: Joye Mercer Barksdale, spokeswoman for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education; Alice Bonner, assistant professor, Merrill College of Journalism; Christopher Callahan, associate dean, Merrill College of Journalism; Beth Frerking, director of the Casey Journalism Center; Jay P. Goldman, editor of The School Administrator; Rob Hotakainen, chief of the Minneapolis Star Tribune Washington bureau; Sue Kopen Katcef, broadcast lecturer, Merrill College of Journalism; Ledyard King, reporter, Gannett News Service; Rafael Lorente, reporter, South Florida Sun-Sentinel Washington bureau; Deborah Potter, director, NewsLab; and Frank Quine, assistant dean, Merrill College of Journalism.

Recent winners of the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting include Patrick Healy, Boston Globe; Ken Weiss, Los Angeles Times; Tim Simmons, Raleigh News & Observer; and Deb Kollars, Sacramento Bee.

2002 National Awards for Education Reporting





A. Breaking or Hard News


  • 1st Prize — Leah EtlingSanta Barbara News Press, Calif. – UCSB Students Say Policy Treats Them Like Children
  • 2nd Prize — Susan Olp, Ed Kemmick, Jaci Webb, James Hagengruber, Becky Shay, Donna Healy, Mary Pickett, John Fitzgerald, and Lorna ThackerayThe Billings Gazette, Mont. – The High Cost of a Teachers’ Strike
  • Special Citation — Michael Barber - Bradenton Herald, Fla. – High School Newspaper Challenged

B. Feature

C. News Feature or Issue Package

  • 1st Prize — Stacy A. Teicher, Marjorie Coeyman, and Sara SteindorfThe Christian Science Monitor, Boston, Mass. – Opening the Book on Race
  • 2nd Prize — Rebecca Catalanello - Mobile Register, Ala. – ‘No Child Left Behind’ Transfer
  • Special Citation — Karen Rivedal - Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) – Academic Pork

D. Series or Group of Articles

  • 1st Prize — Eric Eyre and Scott Finn Charleston Gazette, W.V. – Closing Costs: School Consolidation in West Virginia
  • 2nd Prize –Marjorie Coeyman and Mark ClaytonThe Christian Science Monitor, Boston, Mass. – Driven
  • Special Citation — Doug Erickson - Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) – School Fund-raising

E. Investigative Reporting

  • 1st Prize — Karen AyresThe Times of Trenton, N.J.- Out of Jail and Into Classrooms
  • 2nd Prizes — Eric Eyre and Scott Finn - Charleston Gazette, W.V. – A License to Steal; Jillian McCartneyThe Salisbury Post, N.C. – Criminal Cases Raise Schools’ Legal Expenses
  • Special Citations — Michelle L. Klampe - Ventura County Star, Calif. – Community College Chancellor
  • Jacqueline KochakOpelika-Auburn News, Ala. – Links Among Trustees ‘Extraordinary’

F. Opinion — No prizes were awarded.

G. Special Section or Page

  • 1st Prize — Mark Clayton, Amelia Newcomb, Marjorie Coeyman, and Mary KuhlThe Christian Science Monitor, Boston, Mass. – Learning


A. Breaking or Hard News

  • 1st Prize — Jodi S. CohenThe Detroit News – Affirmative Action

B. Feature

  • 1st Prize — Richard Lee ColvinLos Angeles Times – A School Flailing in a Sea of Woes
  • 2nd Prize — Jessica GarrisonLos Angeles Times – The Irresistible Force of a Teacher’s Will
  • Special Citations — Gretchen McKay - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – A Late Bloomer Learns to Read
  • Yilu ZhaoEducation Life/The New York Times – Coming to America

C. News Feature or Issue Package

  • 1st Prize — Kent FischerSt. Petersburg Times Public School, Inc.
  • 2nd Prize — Mark SkerticChicago Sun-Times – Ritalin Roulette
  • Special Citation — Barbara CartonThe Wall Street Journal – Gore Curriculum

D. Series or Group of Articles

  • 1st Prize — Daniel GoldenThe Wall Street Journal – The New Affirmative Action
  • 2nd Prize — Matthew FranckSt. Louis Post-Dispatch Reform Schools
  • Special Citation — Larry SlonakerSan Jose Mercury News My Year as a Teacher

E. Investigative Reporting

  • 1st Prize — Keith Sharon, Sarah Tully Tapia, Ronald Campbell and Maria SacchettiOrange County Register, Calif. -Missing the Mark
  • 2nd Prizes — Rebekah DennSeattle Post-IntelligencerAn Uneven Hand - The Racial Discpline Gap in Seattle Schools
  • Marla Jo Fisher, Scott M. Reid and Natalya ShulyakovskayaOrange County Register, Calif. – Phantom Classes
  • Special Citations — Jessica Portner San Jose Mercury News – Textbook Costs Soaring
  • Diane RadoChicago Tribune – School Day Falls Short in Poorer School Districts

F. Opinion

  • 1st Prize — Derrick Z. JacksonBoston Globe – No Child Ever Seen Again
  • 2nd Prize — John MerrowEducation Life/The New York Times – Taking the Measure of a School
  • Special Citation — Pete Kotz - Cleveland SceneWelcome to Cheaptown

G. Special Section or Page

  • 1st Prize — Joshua Benton, Nancy Churnin, Tawnell D. Hobbs, Mike Jackson, Jean Nash Johnson, Katie Menzer, Scott Parks, Lori Price, Toya Lynn Stewart, Waltrina Stovall and Leif StricklandDallas Morning News – Navigating Your School
  • 2nd Prize — Jane KarrEducation Life/The New York Times – Education Life
  • Special Citations — Jolayne Houtz, J.J. Jensen and Matthew CraftThe Seattle TimesSeattle Times School Guide
  • Angela Townsend, Janet Okoben, Edith Starzyk, Karen Farkas, Lila Mills, John Horton, Maggi Martin, Rena Koontz, April McClelland-Copeland, Martin Stolz, Sarah Treffinger, Jennifer Gonzalez, Scott Stephens, Ebony Reed, Terry OblanderThe Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio – Senior Standouts


(including magazines produced as separate sections of newspapers)

A. National Magazine

  • 1st Prize — Julian E. BarnesU.S. News & World Report – S.A.T. Revolution
  • 2nd Prize — William C. Symonds with Rick MillerBusinessWeek Harvard and second part
  • Special Citation — Jodie MorseTIME magazine – Flunking Lunch

B. Regional or Local Magazine

  • 1st Prize — Rand Richards CooperThe Hartford Courant – The Great Profs of Connecticut
  • 2nd Prize — Nora McCarthyCity Limits, New York – Social Promotion
  • Special Citation — Meredith Schlow - Baltimore Magazine – Learning the Hard Way



A. Hard News and Investigative

  • 1st Prize –Laure Quinlivan – WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, Ohio – Lawrenceburg Education Fund
  • 2nd Prize — Christopher Koeberl – KWCH 12 Eyewitness News, Wichita, Kansas – Mid Kansas Independent Academy
  • Special Citation — Walt Kane – News 12 New Jersey, Edison, N.J. – Diploma Mills: An Education in Fraud

B. Feature or Documentary

  • 1st Prize — John Merrow, John Tulenko, Sharon Tiller and Ken DornsteinFrontline/The Merrow Report – Testing our Schools
  • 2nd Prize — Marley Klaus and Michael Cary - California Connected – Our School


(a single program or series of reports on the same subject or theme)

  • 1st Prize — Kathryn Baron – KQED-FM, San Francisco, Calif. – Wiring the Classroom: Education and Technology
  • 2nd Prize — Tim Pugmire, Dan Olson and Tom Robertson – Minnesota Public Radio – Reading, Writing and Revenue
  • Special Citation — Julie Grant – WKSU-FM, Kent, Ohio – Religion in the Public Schools