2021 News (Large Newsroom) Finalists

See all finalists below

Emily Donaldson, Talia Richman, Corbett Smith, Eva-Marie Ayala & Allie Morris
The Education Lab at The Dallas Morning News

Texas Public Schools and Censorship

Comments from the Judges:

“A crucially important topic that has a direct impact on the lives of students of all backgrounds. The story covers key bases in terms of literary experts discussing the importance of these books, a deft analysis of how the ‘vetting’ of these books singles out non-white, non-cisgender authors/topics and the opinions of the authors at the risk of being banned.” 

“This package delves into the crusade by legislator Matt Krause to remove books he deems objectionable from schools. Zeroing in on young adult novels, he aims at anything that smacks of LGBTQ and race relations coverage — as well as a lot of books written by women — saying students (white and straight ones) shouldn’t be made to feel bad about themselves from something they are reading. A well-researched look at his background and the larger  work of WallBuilders and other conservative parents and groups in general.”

Anya Kamenetz, Steve Drummond & Lauren Migaki

School Board Front Lines

Comments from the Judges:

“Fascinating story on the dangers of being on school boards reflecting bad behaviors seen across the country.”

“Very good reporting on a loaded and controversial issue, with good insights from people affected, like school board members who’ve dealt most with the blowback. Plus some good expert analysis. It doesn’t flinch from the ugliness, but also doesn’t wallow in it.”

Erin Richards, Alia Wong & Jack Gruber

School Reopening Coverage

Comments from the Judges:

“Reporters did it right with perspectives from everyone including students and drilling down in the data to find out who’d gone missing, how many COVID cases there were. Compelling data included the discovery that most schools have no idea whether students were attending online or not. The stories were well written with pairing telling statistics with narrative arcs proving that important doesn’t have to mean dull.”

“A strong package focused on a very important topic. The stories show national sweep while also smartly focusing their reporting on the groups of students who were most alienated and left at-risk by remote learning. The pieces also wisely focused on a few key characters, and combined on the ground reporting with effective pulling back to look in depth at subjects like the collection and importance of attendance data.”