2022 Beat Reporting (Midsize Newsroom) Finalists

See finalists listed in alphabetical order.

Lily Altavena

Detroit Free Press

Lily Altavena, Beat Reporting at the Detroit Free Press

Comments From the Judges:

“Lily’s heartfelt, empathetic writing and eye for arresting detail was movingly demonstrated in her pieces on a 12-year-old’s inability to read and the survivors of mass shootings in [Uvalde] and Oxford coming together to share healing and joy. She also showed impressive reporting chops on another moving piece, co-reported with a colleague, about the illegal use of seclusion and restraint on children despite a state ban against such practices in most cases.”

“An incredibly strong package in which Altavena took on some incredibly difficult reporting targets and carried them out flawlessly. The story from Uvalde was incredibly moving. Altavena’s ability to really get students and parents to open up and reflect speaks to her empathic reporting approach and interviewing prowess. Similarly, Altavena’s ability to get parents to open up on their children’s experience with restraint and seclusion did the same. The story on educational neglect was stunning as well.”

Kalyn Belsha


Kalyn Belsha Beat Reporting

Comments From the Judges:

“Kalyn tackled tough, ambitious stories on key topics — whether educators are responsibly using the flood of federal Covid-19 relief dollars for their students and the impact of proliferating restrictions on teaching about gender, sexuality and equity. She displayed dogged cross-country reporting in documenting massive spending on virtual tutoring platforms that relatively few students are using in several major school districts across the country (and did so alone without collaborators). ”

“Good at putting real people’s voices in; good accountability; appreciate solution oriented approach; was very adept and skilled in piecing together the narrative on what happened to the postponed equity conference, based on interviews and public records; the totality of the reporting makes you think of how terrible it is going inside America’s public schools.”

Kate McGee

The Texas Tribune

Kate McGee, Higher Education Reporting

Comments From the Judges:

“McGee’s reporting had a strong emotional impact on me, from details about trustees more interested in sports perks than running a university, abuse of a bone marrow program, the impact of Roe on Texas college students, and Uvalde students preparing to leave for college. A strong combination of investigative reporting, data, and voices of affected people. To boot, well-written and producing clear impact.”

“This entry is a great collection of well-reported articles on a diverse array of important topics. The article about the Texas State official and the questionable use of university funds is an outstanding example of watchdog reporting. The article about the Uvalde high school graduates was a smart idea and well-executed. The detailed reporting on who sits on the boards of the state’s public universities was well-researched and compelling. I wish this reporter was on our team.”