2020 Features (Midsize Newsroom) Winner

Anthony J. Wallace and Megan Marples | Cronkite News at Arizona State University

“‘It’s Creating a New Normal’: A Navajo School District and Its Students Fight to Overcome Amid COVID-19”

About the Entry

Even before the pandemic, Native youth had the highest dropout rates and lowest rates of high school graduation in the U.S. Then came COVID-19, which has hit Indian Country especially hard. Anthony J. Wallace and Megan Marples tell the story of the struggle facing Navajo schools and students as well as the innovative efforts of one small school district to help its students “succeed and soar.”

Comments from the Judges

“Excellent multi-media storytelling that went behind the expected pandemic story to detail the lengths to which Navajo children and their teachers were going to help them continue learning. Kudos to the reporters for their deep reporting at a time when families are understandably having to keep their distance.”

“This important look at Covid-19’s impact on Navajo schools would have been impressive even if were the work of seasoned pros rather than students. The fact that this is from students and that they told the story in both a written and audio format with compelling visuals makes it all the more impressive.”