2011 Winners of the National Awards for Education Reporting

The 2011 education journalism awards winners are announced!

A series of stories looking at how education in the United States profits from Chinese students won EWA’s top prize for education reporting.

Bloomberg News won the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting for the second year in a row for “Lost in Translation,” a series of stories that looked at the predatory recruiting fees Chinese students pay to attend satellite college campuses; the exorbitant tuition rates private boarding schools charge Chinese students; and the effect that Chinese students paying full tuition has on Asian American students’ opportunities to attend selective colleges in the United States.

Daniel Golden and Oliver Staley wrote the 10 stories in the series. Golden was a part of the Bloomberg team that won the 2011 grand prize for “Education Inc.,” a hard-nosed investigative examination of for-profit higher education.

“This series does an excellent job of uncovering a large issue of great national interest that had been flying under the radar,” wrote one of the judges. “Great breadth of coverage and excellent personal stories come together in top-notch storytelling and public service journalism.”

EWA announced the winners of the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting at its annual conference in Philadelphia on May 19. The award includes a cash prize of $1,500. The grand prize winner is selected out of the 18 first-prize winners.

The other winners of the 2011 National Awards for Education Reporting were also recognized at the annual conference.

EWA – the only professional organization for members of the news media who specialize in education – each year recognizes excellence on the education beat across multiple media through its National Awards for Education Reporting. In print, radio, television and online, the work of EWA award-winners reaches millions, furthering the association’s mission of increasing the quantity and quality of education coverage across the nation.

For this year’s contest, our panel of judges has selected 61 winning entries from a total of 340 submissions. The winner of the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting will be selected from among the first-place award recipients and will be announced at EWA’s 65th National Seminar in May.

“Recognizing the contest winners will be a highlight of our upcoming conference, which is shaping up to be our most timely and energizing yet,” said Caroline Hendrie, EWA’s executive director.

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Chief Judge Tamara M. Cooke Henry, Ph.D., of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland.

This year’s panel of distinguished judges were: Abby Brownback, The Gazette; Doug Cumming, Washington & Lee University; Wayne Dawkins, Hampton University; Duchesne Drew, Star Tribune; Steven Drummond, National Public Radio; Elliott Francis, WAMU 88.5; Sarahmaria Gomez, TU Multimedia and Medill School of Journalism,  Northwestern University; Steve Henderson, Detroit Free Press; Christy DeBoe Hicks, The Century Foundation; Maureen McCarthy, Star Tribune; Carrie Porter, AOL’s Patch; Tracey Wong Briggs, Graduate Management Admission Council; and Mary Jane Smetanka, Star Tribune.


A. Single-Day News Coverage or Feature:

First Prize – Fawn JohnsonNational JournalReport Card

Second Prize – Albert SamahaRiverfront TimesIntentional Grounding


Dave Breitenstein, The News-Press, Edison Admits Course Swaps

Special Citation – Dana GoldsteinThe American ProspectThe Test Generation

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize – Goldie BlumenstykThe Chronicle of Higher Education, The Business of Higher Education

Second Prize – Rebecca HarrisCatalyst ChicagoEarly Childhood Beat Reporting


Dave Breitenstein, The News-PressEducation Beat Reporting


Kay Luna, Steven Martens and Rashah McChesney, Quad-City TimesEducation in the Quad-Cities

Special Citation – Colleen Gillard, Lucy Hood, Patti Hartigan, Laura Pappano, Brigid Schulte, David McKay WilsonHarvard Education Letter, Harvard Education Letter’s Education Coverage

C. Series:

First Prize – Craig DeVrieze and Kay LunaQuad-City Times, Hidden Homeless

Second Prize – Dave SaltmanHarvard Education Letter, Tech Talk

Special Citation – Rena Havner PhilipsPress-Register, Alabama’s Immigration Law


Charis Anderson, The Standard-Times, Building Better Schools

D. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize – Cathey O’Donnell and Gary SternThe Journal NewsToo Big to Fix

Second Prize – Nina ShapiroSeattle WeeklyDeaf Jam

Special Citation – Mc Nelly Torres, Florida Center for Investigative ReportingSchool of Hard Financial Knocks

E. Opinion:

First Prize – James Warren,Chicago News CooperativeJames Warren Columns

Second Prize – Colleen GillardHarvard Education Letter, Good Teachers (the Movie You Won’t See)

Special Citation – Stephen LemonsPhoenix New Times, White Lies


Caryl Rivers, Boston University, and Rosalind Barnett, Brandeis University,Opinion Columns



A. Single-Day News Coverage or Feature:

First Prize – Gendy AlimurungLA Weekly, Bad Lunch

Second Prize – Linda Wertheimer, The Boston Globe MagazineTest of Faith

Special Citation – Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun, Slow Turnaround


Erin RichardsMilwaukee Journal SentinelFinland


Lillian MongeauThe Dallas Morning NewsBringing Lessons to Life

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize – John HechingerBloomberg News, Charter Schools, Broken Promises

Second Prize – Daniel de ViseThe Washington Post, The College Beat 2011

Special Citation – Sarah Garland, Sarah Butrymowicz, Jon Marcus, Jill BarshayThe Hechinger ReportHechinger Report Beat Reporting

C. Series:

First Prize – Daniel Golden and Oliver StaleyBloomberg News, Lost in Translation 

Second Prize – Todd Lighty, Stacy St. Clair, Jodi S. Cohen and Ryan Haggerty, Chicago Tribune, Campus Sexual Assaults

Special Citation –Stephanie Ebbert, Jenna Russell, James Vaznis, Akilah Johnson, Meghan E. Irons, Patricia Wen, Andrew Ryan, Maria Sacchetti and the Globe’s video and graphics staffThe Boston GlobeGetting In

D. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize – Marisol Bello, Jack Gillum, Greg Toppo, and Jodi Upton (Primary Reporters), Linda Mathews (Project Editor), USA Today; additional reporting by Dennis Cauchon, USA Today; Denise Amos, The Cincinnati Enquirer; Chastity Pratt Dawsey, Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki and Kristi Tanner-WhiteDetroit Free Press; Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, Nancy Mitchell, Ed News Colorado; and Jennifer Oldham and April DemboskyThe Hechinger Report, Testing the System

Second Prize – Heather Vogell and Alan JuddThe Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionAtlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal

Special Citation –Michael Finnegan and Gale HollandLos Angeles Times, Billions to Spend

E. Opinion:

First Prize – William McKenzie, The Dallas Morning News, Education Reform

Second Prize – Monica Yant Kinney,Philadelphia Inquirer, Monica Yant Kinney’s Opinion

Special Citation – Paul OwensOrlando Sentinel, Student Debt


Sharon BroussardThe Plain Dealer, Cleveland Schools



A. Short-Form Coverage:

First Prize – Jim Bell, Don Nash, Dee Dee Thomas and Antoinette MachiavernaNBC News/TODAYInside the College Admissions Process

Second Prize – Jim Bell, Don Nash, Debbie Kosofsky, Jennifer Long and Amy RobachNBC News/TODAYJudge Jimmie Edwards

Special Citation – Dan CarsenSouthern Education Desk at WBHMPolice Pepper-Spraying Students on Campus

B. Beat Reporting:

First Prize – Phyllis Fletcher, Jim Gates and Guy Nelson, KUOW Public RadioKUOW’s Phyllis Fletcher Reports

Second Prize – Maura Walz, Georgia Public BroadcastingMaura Walz on Georgia schools

Special Citation – John Merrow, John Tulenko, Cat McGrath and David Wald, PBS NewsHour/Learning Matters, 2010-2011 Learning Matters Compilation

C. Feature, News Feature, or Issue Package:

First Prize – Emily Hanford, Catherine Winter and Stephen SmithAmerican Public MediaDon’t Lecture Me

Second Prize – Dan CarsenSouthern Education Desk at WBHMPoor Neighborhoods, Polluted Schools


Bob Holtzman, Nicole Noren, Tim Hays, Dwayne Bray, Douglas Colby, Marc Lustig and Vince Doria, ESPN, ESPN Outside the Lines, “Burt Grossman”

Special Citation – Ana Tintocalis and Tyche HendricksKQED Public MediaHow School Budgets Passed From Local to State Control and Untangling the Web of California School Funding

D. Series:

First Prize – Kavitha Cardoza, Ginger Moored and Rebecca Blatt, WAMU Public RadioThe Heavy Burden of Childhood Obesity 

Second Prize – Jim Bell, Don Nash, Natalie Morales ,Curtis Vogel, Marc Victor and Audrey Kolina, NBC News/TODAYClass of 2020

Special Citation – Noreen O’Donnell, Jackson Loo and Devon PugliaThe DailyNew Orleans’ New Start

E. Investigative Reporting:

First Prize – Rob Schmitz and Amy ScottMarketplaceThe Chinese Student Syndrome

Second Prize – Sarah Gonzalez and John O’Connor, StateImpact Florida (in collaboration with The Miami Herald)No Choice: Florida Charter Schools Failing to Serve Students with Disabilities



A. Journalism blogging:

First Prize – John O’Connor and Sarah GonzalezStateImpact Florida (a project of NPR, WUSF Public Media, WJCT Public Broadcasting and WLRN Public Media)StateImpact Florida Blog Coverage

Second Prize – Elizabeth Green, Philissa Cramer, Geoffrey Decker, Rachel Cromidas, Jessica Campbell, Sarah Darville, Anna Phillips, Maura Walz, Chris ArpGothamSchoolsGothamSchools

Special Citation – Benjamin Herold, Dale Mezzacappa, Paul Socolar and Chris Satullo (of WHYY/Newsworks)Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Cheating coverage

B. Community blogging:

First Prize – Dana Chivvis, Christopher Tine, Soraya Gage and Colleen NowersNBC News / Education Nation / NBC Learn, Education Nation’s The Learning Curve Blog

Second Prize  Mary Churchill and Meg Palladino, Inside Higher Ed, University of Venus

Special Citation – Jessica StahlVoice of America, The Student Union



First Prize – Sarah KarpCatalyst Chicago, The Right Move?

Second Prize – Ben WildavskyForeign Policy, Think Again: Education

Special Citation – Jack Stripling, Andrea Fuller and Josh Keller, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Executive Compensation: What Private College Presidents Make