2023 Investigative & Public Service (Small Newsroom) Winners

Amy DiPierro & Corey Mitchell, Center for Public Integrity

About the Winners:

Support for homeless students can make the difference between graduating high school or dropping out. In fact, federal law requires that public schools provide it. But Amy DiPierro and Corey Mitchell showed through a more than year-long investigation that many schools are failing on multiple levels. 

The Center for Public Integrity made the data and other resources available to additional local newsrooms, part of a collaboration that included a reporting kit and Zoom office hours for reporting help. All told, 11 newsrooms produced stories from this partnership that uncovered previously hidden problems (and solutions) related to student homelessness.

The month after the first investigation was published, Congress increased funding for homeless-student support by 13%. The bill also instructed the U.S. Department of Education to advise states and school districts on how to use the money more effectively. 

Comments From the Judges:

“This is the kind of impactful journalism that spurs change for the most vulnerable in our community. The accountability journalism is woven together with poignant storytelling of real-life people who are being affected by the lack of support provided to homeless students and their families. Additional kudos for sharing the data with other newsrooms, so the impact of this journalism is more widespread.”

“The public-records work, data analyses, and persistent reporting that went into uncovering this problem, which affects hundreds of thousands of kids, are deeply [impressive]. I was especially impressed by the way the reporter used statistics on suspension rates to test the assertion of a district official that homeless children weren’t subject to [disproportionate] suspensions.”

Photo credits: Center for Public Integrity/Matt Manley; Zoë Meyers