2023 Features (Small Newsroom) Winner

Jeff Oloizia, Madison Magazine

About the Winner:

Instead of focusing on the obvious devastation wrought by school shootings (real but statistically still rare), “Is This Just a Drill?” examines the impact of policies meant to protect against such violence on kids who are constantly forced to practice how they would survive a worst-case scenario. 

As a former educator, Jeff Oloizia said he knew it was important to speak to those most affected: “generation lockdown,” the kids and teachers who live through these drills. Among other things, he said he wanted to amplify their voices and their efforts to create change, which are frequently misaligned with district and school-wide policies.

Comments From the Judges:

“Clear and compelling storytelling. Length is warranted, and narrative and examples carry the reader through. Compelling stories from students and quotes from experts. Writer’s personal experience is effectively woven in. Timeline graphic and content is well done. Great close!”

“Really strong reporting — the candid interviews with former students and the anecdote about elementary school teachers being shot execution-style with plastic pellets caught my attention.”

Photo credits: Madison Magazine; Hillary Schave; Larry Chua