2022 News (Large Newsroom) Finalists

See finalists listed in alphabetical order.

Dana Goldstein & Stephanie Saul

The New York Times

Page by Page: Florida’s Math Textbook Controversy

Comments From the Judges:

“The New York Times offered a smart package looking at the real-world application of controversial laws in Florida. It brought the receipts by offering readers explicit examples of state documents in an easily digestible way. And the team went beyond just offering the textbook examples in a vacuum but added rich context by interviewing textbook writers and educational experts to explain why the material is written the way it is.”

“How can a math textbook be removed from Florida’s approved list? These stories described how issues around social emotional learning, race, gender and critical race theory got books banned and in some cases publishers changing them to remove offensive material. The examples and details are the most revealing information in these stories.”

Talia Richman, Corbett Smith, Emily Donaldson & Eva-Marie Ayala

The Dallas Morning News

Texas’ “Wild West” Teacher Prep Problems

Comments From the Judges:

“Texas’ largest teacher-prep program might have continued churning out lightly trained educators if the Dallas Morning News had not shined a light on the fact that they had not passed a state audit. The stories did an excellent job illustrating the problems with this program and explaining the state’s acknowledged need for more teachers. The impact on other states is noteworthy.”

“Reporters dug beyond a 2021 critical state audit to reveal widespread and continuing problems in the operation of an online teacher preparation for-profit company, the primary preparation vehicle for Texas teachers. The company’s own data says it all: it enrolled 70,000 and fewer than 5,500 got certified. Reporters gave voice to the many who needlessly invested their time and money. The company remains on probation.” 

Bianca Vázquez Toness, Sharon Lurye, Jocelyn Gecker & Collin Binkley

The Associated Press

Pandemic Learning Loss: Data, Accountability and Community Reach

Comments From the Judges:

“Impressive, robust effort to go beyond national test scores reporting to examine how the pandemic devastated learning. This package also confronted some of the burning questions around the decisions to close schools and offered local news organizations exclusive district by district data analysis obtained from Harvard and Stanford researchers. This work offers a blueprint for all education reporters to examine what their own states are doing to address a dramatic learning loss among elementary students.”

“The AP pulled together an undeniably impactful set of stories that attempted to answer the question of the moment: just how had the pandemic affected children? Not only did the team write compelling stories of pandemic recovery, it shared its findings with other news organizations to use in their own reporting. That has kept the topic front and center in the education establishment.”