2023 Data Reporting & Visualization (All Newsroom Sizes) Winners

Nic Querolo, Danielle Moran & Marie Patino, Bloomberg News

About the Winners:

It’s getting harder to run a small U.S. college in the face of rising costs, dwindling enrollments and greater competition. Bloomberg News sought out to identify which colleges and universities are at risk and found the pressures facing small, higher-ed institutions was at the highest in at least 15 years. 

The project required months of data analysis and interviews, including at least a dozen investors and school finance experts, to come up with metrics to measure the growing operational stress. The reporters contacted hundreds of schools for their feedback and insight on the analysis, which spanned roughly 1,000 schools and 100,000 data points from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The result is an in-depth look into the struggles of four-year, nonprofit colleges and universities, complete with visualizations on how the landscape has changed and a searchable database that allows readers to track individual schools and make informed decisions. The story was one of the most read and most emailed stories of the day on the Bloomberg terminal. It earned widespread praise from readers and even some of the schools named in the piece. 

Comments From the Judges:

“Smart analysis. I love how the reporters took publicly available statistics and came up with a methodology to determine which small schools are in financial danger. It seems like there’s so much reporting on Ivy League schools and their cousins; it’s nice to see a major media outlet remind us there are other colleges out there facing challenges.”

“The analysis using multiple flags to point to at-risk colleges and universities is effective and clear and well done. The graphics are telling, and lists are comprehensive and valuable context.”

Photo credits: Bloomberg News; Carolina Moscoso