2023 News (Small Newsroom) Finalists

See finalists listed in alphabetical order.

Jessika Harkay

The Connecticut Mirror

Getting a New High School: A Different Story in Two CT Towns

Comments From the Judges:

“I love this story because the reporter gives young people a voice and truly digs into the student experience — what’s lost for some students as their school construction project drags on for six years. So important. I appreciate the reporter got an idea for deeper enterprise by being a beat reporter covering a board meeting. Pretty smart to find two schools to compare what life is like. I haven’t read a story like this before.”

“I really like this reporter’s style in comparing and contrasting to show disparities in Connecticut. The details that students at both schools cited were really striking and created a vivid picture.”

Laura Pappano

The Hechinger Report

The (Mostly) Republican Moms Fighting to Reclaim Their Idaho School District From Conservatives 

Comments From the Judges:

“This is a very well-written story and an interesting take on the education culture wars from a hyperlocal viewpoint. The story also does a good job of explaining the ideology of the far-right without allowing them or their detractors to veer into hyperbole.”

“This is a wonderfully written story that pulls you in right away, illustrating the extremes at foot in the culture wars over public education. This story successfully does what several others about the same topic attempted to do: personalizes the stakes and shows why it matters.”

Anya Petrone Slepyan

The Daily Yonder

A ‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’ Aims to Fill Job Vacancies at Texas’ Prisons and Jails

Comments From the Judges:

“The realities of communities, employment and the economy are all front and center in this story. The reporter does a very good job of expressing those realities and allowing readers to take their own next steps and opinions. The story also does a very good job voicing the internal struggles of school administrators and public safety officials in leading students to these jobs – and reminding readers that these jobs are not meant for everyone.”

“This is a really fascinating look into CTE programs that lead students into careers they don’t like but sustain their local economies. I liked hearing from students and recent graduates of the program to bring light to an important phenomenon.”