2022 Beat Reporting (Midsize Newsroom) Winner

Lily Altavena, Detroit Free Press

About the Winner:

Lily Altavena reports on inequities in Michigan’s public education system for the Detroit Free Press. 

“I’ve had to strike a balance of stories in education: From finding a new way to add context around the controversy over book bans to writing about the aftermath of the tragedy in Oxford to learning how asthma is treated in schools in areas where rates are disproportionately high,” she explained.

Comments From the Judges:

“Lily’s heartfelt, empathetic writing and eye for arresting detail was movingly demonstrated in her pieces on a 12-year-old’s inability to read and the survivors of mass shootings in [Uvalde] and Oxford coming together to share healing and joy. She also showed impressive reporting chops on another moving piece, co-reported with a colleague, about the illegal use of seclusion and restraint on children despite a state ban against such practices in most cases.”

“An incredibly strong package in which Altavena took on some incredibly difficult reporting targets and carried them out flawlessly. The story from Uvalde was incredibly moving. Altavena’s ability to really get students and parents to open up and reflect speaks to her empathic reporting approach and interviewing prowess. Similarly, Altavena’s ability to get parents to open up on their children’s experience with restraint and seclusion did the same. The story on educational neglect was stunning as well.”