1998 Winners of the National Awards for Education Reporting

The 1998 education journalism awards winners are announced!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Sacramento Bee reporter Deb Kollars won Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting for her investigative series looking at California dropouts, called Nobody’s Kids. The series questioned the haphazard way school districts tracked their dropouts, often artificially lowering their dropout rates by not reporting all the students who left.

The Education Writers Association (EWA), the national professional association of education reporters and writers, today announced the winners of the 1998 National Awards for Education Reporting, the most prestigious national competition for education writing. The annual contest, open to all education reporters and writers, honors the best education reporting in the print and broadcast media and is the only independent contest of its kind in the United States. Contest entries were limited to stories produced by individuals and published or broadcast for the first time during the 1998 calendar year.

A total of 433 entries were judged in this year’s contest. First place winners receive a cash prize of $250 and a plaque. Winners of second prizes and special citations each receive a certificate. The Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, which includes an award of $1,000 and a plaque, will be presented to the best of the first-place winners. All prizes, including the announcement of the Grand Prize, were presented at the annual awards banquet April 17 during the Education Writers Association’s 52nd National Seminar, April 15-17, 1999, at the Midland Hotel in Chicago.

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Chief Judge Steve Barkin of the College of Journalism, University of Maryland. This year’s panel of distinguished judges included: Ron Cohen, Executive Editor, Gannett News Service, Arlington, Va.; Gay Cliburn, Director of Communications, American Association of State Colleges and Universities; John Doolittle, Director of Journalism Programs, American University; Mike Doyle, Washington Bureau Reporter, McClatchy Newspapers; Virginia Edwards, Editor, Education Week; Karen James Cody, Media Relations Manager, Bureau of National Affairs; Frank Quine, College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Gene Roberts, Professor, College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Lori Robertson, Associate Editor, American Journalism Review; Miranda Spivack, Editor, Prince George’s Extra, Washington Post.

Recent winners of the Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting include Jacques Steinberg, The New York Times; Robert Frahm and Rick Green, The Hartford Courant; Dudley Aldhaus, Houston Chronicle; and Education Team, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 1998 recipients are as follows:

I. Newspapers under 100,000 Circulation

A. Breaking News

  • 1st Prize: Lisa Elliott The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News – “Desegregation Promises”
  • 2nd Prize: Marisa Samuelson Tucson Citizen– “Bilingual Education”
  • Special Citation: Catherine Ann Velasco -The Herald News, Joliet, Ill. – “Avoiding a Strike”

B. Features

  • 1st Prize: Nigel Jaquiss – Willamette Week, Portland, Oreg.– The Education of Brandon Brooks
  • 2nd Prize: Eric Eyre Gazette-Mail, Charleston, W.Va. – “A Long Road North”
  • Special Citation: Gail Russell Chaddock –The Christian Science Monitor – “Public School Exit Visas”

C. News Feature or Issue Package

  • 1st Prize: Jacqueline Smith, John Pettit, Glenn Smith Record-Journal, Meriden, Ct. – “Minority Teachers Stuck at Half a Percent”
  • 2nd Prize: Jonathan Schorr – Oakland Tribune– “Are Oakland’s Schools Improving?”
  • Special Citation: Robin Reale – The Herald Sun, Durham, N.C. – “Vocational Education Tackles Tough Job”

D. Series or Group of Articles

  • 1st Prize: John Newsom – News & Record of Greensboro – Our Schools: A Report Card
  • 2nd Prize: Kristin King – The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. – “School Fund-Raising”
  • Special Citation: Michael Ann Straughan –The Huntsville (Tex.) Item – “HISD Bond Issue”

E. Investigative Reporting

  • 1st Prize: Marjorie Hack – Staten Island Advance – “Petrides School Investigation”
  • 2nd Prize: Lisa Elliott –The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News – “Cheating on the Test”
  • Special Citation: Bruce Buchanan and Skip Foster The Shelby (N.C.) Star – “ABC Program Investigation”
  • Special Citation: Sarah Tully Tapia – The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Ariz. – “Sexual Harassment”

F. Opinion

  • 1st Prize: David Barham The News-Star, Monroe, La. – “Education Reform”
  • 2nd Prize: Steve Hallock –The Daily Standard, Celina, Oh. – “School Bonuses”
  • Special Citation: Margaretta Downey –Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal – “Contract Talks”
  • Special Citation: Dick Hughes and Richard Aguirre – The Statesman Journal – “Editorials”

G. Special Section or Page

  • 1st Prize: Jondi Gumz – Santa Cruz County Sentinel – “Education Page”
  • 2nd Prize: Gary Jahrig – The (Mont.) Missoulian – Schools Section

II. Newspapers over 100,000 Circulation

A. Breaking News

  • 1st Prize: Dana Tims, Brian T. Meehan, Ashbel S. Green, Janet Filips, Gail Kinsey Hall, Romel Hernandez, Patrick O’Neill, Betsy Hammond, Kate Taylor, Maya Blackmun, Laura Trujillo, Steve Jones, Katy Muldoon, Erin Hoover, Tom Hallman, Jr., Dave Hogan, Scott Learn, Angela Cara Pancrazio, Nena Baker –The Oregonian – {C}{C}”Springfield’s Agony”
  • (TIE)2nd Prize: Richard Jones – The Philadelphia Inquirer – “School Districts Financial Plight”
  • Robert Frahm, Anne Hamilton, Rick Green and Lisa Chedekel – The Hartford Courant – “Hartford Schools in Turmoil”

B. Feature

  • 1st Prize: Dale Mezzacappa – The Philadelphia Inquirer – “A Mother’s Day Worth the Wait”
  • 2nd Prize: Phyllis Brasch Librach – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – “A Time To Let Go”
  • Special Citation: Steve Stecklow – The Wall Street Journal– “Higher Yearning”

C. News Feature Package

  • 1st Prize: Kent Fischer – St. Petersburg Times – Promoting Failure
  • 2nd Prize: Bill Scanlon – Rocky Mountain News – “Feelings of Confusion”
  • Special Citation: Pam Kelley – The Charlotte Observer – “Who Got In?”
  • Special Citation: Martin Evans – Newsday – “Wanted: Diversity”

D. Series

  • (TIE) 1st Prize: Dale Mezzacappa – The Philadelphia Inquirer – “Keys to the Classroom”
  • Rick Green, Robert Frahm –The Hartford Courant – “When Children are Labeled”
  • Special Citation: Linda B. Blackford, Linda J. Johnson and Holly E. Stepp –Lexington Herald-Leader – “The Learning Gap”
  • Special Citation: Hunt Helm, Grace Scheider and Jim Hopkins –The Courier-Journal – “Left on the Sidelines”

E. Investigative Reporting

  • 1st Prize: Deb Kollars – Sacramento Bee – Nobody’s Kids
  • 2nd Prize: Mike Fish and David Milliron – The Atlanta Journal Constitution – “Pay Dirt!”
  • Special Citation: Michael Matza –The Philadelphia Inquirer -”Disclosing Campus Crime”

F. Opinion

  • 1st Prize: Andrea Neal – The Indianapolis Star – “Reading Wars”
  • 2nd Prize: Linda Lantor Fandel – Des Moines Register – “Schools”
  • Special Citation: Audrey Lee – Lexington Herald-Leader – “Knocking Down Barriers at a Middle School”

G. Special Section or Page

  • 1st Prize: Connie Langland, Monica Rohr, Richard Jones, and Neill A. Borowski – The Philadelphia Inquirer – “Report Card on the Schools”
  • 2nd Prize: Bill Ristow, Katherine Long, Dionne Searcey, Jolayne Houtz, Tom Brown, Mike Lindblom, and Roberto Sanchez – Seattle Times – “Schools In Pursuit of Excellence”
  • Special Citation: John Gittelsohn –The Orange County Register – “Lessons from Japan”

III. National Magazine

  • 1st Prize: Claudia Wallis, Wendy Cole, Margot Hornblower, James Collins – Time Magazine – “How to Make Your Kid a Better Student”

IV. Regional/Local Magazine

  • 1st Prize: Larry Van Dyne –Washingtonian– “Paradise Lost”
  • Special Citation: Marty Dobrow – Hampshire Life, Northampton, Mass. – “A Different World”
  • Special Citation: Scott Stephens – Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine – “The Principal and His Past”

V. Special Interest, Trade Publications

  • 1st Prize: Caroline Hendrie – Education Week – “A Trust Betrayed”
  • 2nd Prize: Goldie Blumenstyk, Lisa Guernsey, Vincent Kiernan, Jeffrey R. Young – The Chronicle of Higher Education – “Microsoft’s Reach in Higher Education”

VI. Television

A. Hard News and Investigative

  • 1st Prize: Becky Oliver – KDFW-TV, Dallas, Tex. – “School Busted”
  • 2nd Prize: Travis Rundlet – Dateline NBC – “Grapes of Wrath”

B. Documentary and Feature

  • 1st Prize: Howard Weinberg and Karen Frenkel – Anytime/Anywhere Productions, N.Y. – “net.Learning: Anytime Anywhere”
  • 2nd Prize: John Hammarley – KDFW-TV, Dallas, Tex. – “Healing Hearts”
  • Special Citation: John Merrow and Sonia Slutsky – The Merrow Report (PBS) – “Lost in Translation: Latinos, Schools and Society”

VII. Radio

  • 1st Prize: Kathryn Baron – KQED FM – “SAT 9 Exam”
  • 2nd Prize: Tim Pugmire – Minnesota Public Radio – “Studio 4″