2010 Winners of the National Awards for Education Reporting

Bloomberg News has won the top prize in the National Awards for Education Reporting for “Education Inc.,” a searing investigative look at for-profit colleges and universities.

EWA announced the winners of the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting at its annual conference in New Orleans on April 9. It includes a cash prize of $1,500.

The project investigated how millions of low-income students face daunting debt and limited job prospects after being promised the American dream of a college education. In the investigative series, the team of Dan Golden, John Hechinger and John Lauerman detailed how the for-profit higher education industry cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars by targeting low-income students who receive federal financial aid.

The winners of the 2010 National Awards for Education Reporting were also recognized at the annual conference. 

A total of 345 entries were judged in this year’s contest, and 59 entries won awards. 

“In lean times, it’s especially important to recognize journalists who are managing to produce high-quality coverage,” said EWA Executive Director Caroline Hendrie. “We’re pleased to be able to increase the value of the cash awards, but wish the amount could come closer to what these fine journalists truly deserve.”    

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Chief Judge Tamara M. Cooke Henry, Ph.D., of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. 

This year’s panel of distinguished judges were Tracey Wong Briggs, Graduate Management Admission Council;Doug Cumming, Washington & Lee University; Duchesne Drew, Star Tribune; Jodi Mailander Farrell, the Miami Herald; Hilary Gates, Walter Johnson High School; LynNell Hancock, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Steve Henderson, Detroit Free Press; Jim Naughton, formerly with the Philadelphia Inquirer; Mark Schmitt, formerly with American Prospect magazine; Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY; Angela Starke, Weekend Anchor/Reporter with WVLT-TV, CBS affiliate, Knoxville; and Marcus Wilson, formerly with ABC Radio.

EWA wishes to thank the American Council on Education for its support of the contest.


A. Single-Day News Coverage or Feature:

First Prize – Lauren Smiley, SF Weekly, The ABC’s of Ditching School

Second Prize – Joel Warner, Westword, Lax and the City  

Special Citation – Melanie Asmar, Westword, Teacher’s Fret          

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize – Julie Mack, Kalamazoo Gazette, Julie Mack on Michigan education

Second Prize – Liz Willen, Justin Snider, Sarah Butrymowicz, Jen Oldham, Sarah Garland, Jon Marcus, and Brian Thevenot, Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, The Hechinger Report’s Education Coverage 

Special Citation – Steve Esack, The Morning Call, Steve Esack Education Beat   

C. Series:

First Prize – Rena Havner Philips, Press-Register, Alabama’s Race to the Bottom

Second Prize – Diette CourrégéThe Post and Courier, Grading Teachers           


Becca Tucker, Straus News, Middle School Principal Tests Boundaries With Home Visit

Special Citation – Courtney Cutright, The Roanoke Times, Autism: Breaking Down the Barriers

D. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize – Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal, WESD’s Web of Deals

Second Prize – Helen Zelon, Alice Proujansky, Rachel Dodakian, Maria Muentes, Samia Shafi, Anthony Smyrski, and Jarrett Murphy, City Limits, Hope or Hype in Harlem?

Special Citation – Mc Nelly Torres, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, Virtually Worthless: With No Government Regulations, Online High Schools Can be Costly Pursuits

E. Opinion:

First Prize – Jim Warren,Chicago News Cooperative, Jim Warren Education Columns: From Cradle to College

Second Prize – Thomas Toch, Phi Delta Kappan, Federal Education Policy in the Obama Era

Special Citation – Scott Elliott, Dayton Daily News, Dayton districts should pursue Race to the Top       


A. Single-Day News Coverage or Feature:

First Prize – Diane Rado, Tara Malone, and Joe Mahr, Chicago Tribune, Is high school making your kids college-ready?

Second Prize – Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Newsweek, The Creativity Crisis


Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company, ‘A’ Is for App      


Cheryl Ross, The Virginian-Pilot, Hope and Heartache      

Special Citation – Amy DePaul, AlterNet, Teacher Sued for Bashing Christianity — Will Others Be Censored?   


Rebecca Catalanello, St. Petersburg Times, His pills cause her pain

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize – Bill Turque, Washington Post, Bill Turque on D.C. schools

Second Prize – Kelly Field, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kelly Field on for-profit colleges

Special Citation – Sharon Otterman, The New York Times, Beat Reporting

C. Series:

First Prize – Erin Richards, Amy Hetzner, Alan J. Borsuk, and Becky Vevea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Hechinger Report, Building a Better Teacher    

Second Prize – Toni Konz, The Courier-Journal, Schools on the Brink     

Special Citation – David Glenn, Sara Lipka, Andrea Fuller, Jeffrey Brainard, Alex Richard, Ron Coddington, Brian O’Leary, Robin Wilson, and Elyse Ashburn, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Measuring Stick

D. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize – Daniel Golden, John Hechinger, and John Lauerman, Bloomberg News, Education Inc.  

Second Prize – Jason Song, Jason Felch, Doug Smith, and Sandra Poindexter, Los Angeles Times, Grading the Teachers         

Special Citation – Kelly Field, Goldie Blumenstyk, Jeffrey Brainard, and Ron Coddington, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The High Cost of Defaults                      

E. Opinion:

First Prize – Catherine Snow,  Science, Academic Language and the Challenge of Reading for Learning about Science

Second Prize – Kevin Carey, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Decoding the Value of Computer Science     

Special Citation – Derrick Jackson, The Boston Globe, Derrick Z. Jackson on Schools


Ed Dante (pseudonym), The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Shadow Scholar by “Ed Dante”


A. Short-Form Coverage:

First Prize – Lindsey Christ, New York 1 News, High Ranking Public School Charges Tuition

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize – Greg Groogan and Mark Muller, KRIV-TV, Groogan and Muller Cover Schools

Second Prize – Rehema Ellis, NBC Nightly News, Education Nation: 2010 Day by Day

Special Citation – John Merrow, Spencer Michels, John Tulenko, Gwen Ifill, Linda Winslow and Murrey Jacobson, Learning Matters andPBS NewsHour, PBS NewsHour Education Beat                   

C. Feature, News Feature, or Issue Package:

First Prize – Emily Hanford, Catherine Winter, and Stephen Smith, American RadioWorks from American Public Media, Testing Teachers        

Second Prize – John Merrow and John D. Tulenko, Learning Matters and PBS NewsHour, Small Schools, Big Reforms?                    

Special Citation – Meredith Vieira,NBC News/TODAY, Education Nation TODAY


Lindsey Christ, Lloyd Foster, and Adi Riesenberg, New York 1 News, The Last Lesson: Inside Paul Robeson High School

D. Series:

First Prize – Steve Capus, NBC News, Education Nation        

Second Prize – Lindsey Christ, Daniel Komarinetz, Ehab Zahriyeh, and Lloyd Foster, New York 1 News, Bars to Education: Reforming Reform Schools                

Special Citation – Kavitha Cardoza and Marcus Rosenbaum, WAMU Public Radio, Balancing Books and Babies  

E. Investigative Reporting:  

First Prize – Lindsey Christ, New York 1 News, District 16          

Second Prize – Tom Farrey, Nicole Noren, David Lubbers, Ronnie Forchheimer, Dwayne Bray, Nathan Hogan, Nick Waligorski, and Marc Lustig, ESPN, Seminole Scandal             

Special Citation – Ann Dornfeld, KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, Recess Disparities in Seattle Public Schools           


A. Journalism blogging:       

First Prize – Anna Phillips, Maura Walz, Philissa Cramer, Elizabeth Green, and Kim Gittleson, GothamSchools

Second Prize – Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, The Answer Sheet 

Special Citation – Emily Alpert,, Schooled     

B. Community blogging:

First Prize – Ruben Brosbe and Philissa Cramer, GothamSchools, Classroom Tales: A Diary   

Second Prize – Erika Owens, Ron Whitehorne, Molly Thacker, Caroline Ebby, James “Torch” Lytle, Shania Morris, Marsha Pincus, Dale Mezzacappa, Paul Socolar, Wendy Harris, and Helen Gym, The Notebook, Community voices from Philly          

Special Citation – Anthony Cody and Valerie Pientka, Education Week Teacher, Education Frustration: A Teacher’s Response


First PrizeKarin Fischer, Eric Kelderman, and Libby Nelson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Towns, Gowns, and Taxes

Second Prize – Sarah Karp, Catalyst Chicago, Renaissance 2010: Searching for Equity  


Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Application Inflation    

Special Citation – Paul Glastris, Richard Lee Colvin, Sarah Garland, Betsy Hammond, Dale Mezzacappa, and Thomas Toch, Washington Monthly, Special Report: Fighting the Dropout Crisis