2017 Winners for the Hechinger, Moskowitz, Eddie Awards in Education Reporting

EWA is delighted to announce the major prize winners for the 2017 National Awards for Education Reporting.

The Education Writers Association is delighted to honor “Children and Gun Violence,” a feature series from The Washington Post, with the top prize in the 2017 National Awards for Education Reporting. This year’s Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting will go to the reporter behind the series — John Woodrow Cox.

“Beautifully and compellingly written. John Cox shows how much damage is done to children who are affected by gun violence, even when they’re not injured,” wrote one of the award competition’s judges. “Cox’s stories demonstrate the power of reporters to illuminate forgotten stories and to shine a light on the challenges of the vulnerable,” wrote another judge.

Six other journalists were also honored with premier prizes at the EWA’s 2018 National Seminar held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Bethany Barnes of The Oregonian was named the best education beat reporter in the country for her coverage of schools in Portland, OR.  Barnes won the EWA’s second annual Ronald Moskowitz Prize for Outstanding Beat Reporting, named for the late California education journalist and EWA board member. This prize singles out one of the four winners of the EWA’s beat reporting category prizes — the best beat reporters in small, medium-sized, large and broadcast newsrooms. “The diversity of Barnes’ work — from tough, investigative pieces to insightful profiles — sets her reporting apart,” wrote one of the competition judges.

The EWA judges also declared a tie for the fourth annual Eddie Prize, the journalism award from The Edwin Gould Foundation that recognizes the best work on the challenges low-income students face completing college. Besides a cash prize, each Eddie-winning team gets a bowler hat to honor the preferred headwear of the philanthropist who funded many services for children.

This year’s Eddie winners are:

  • The APM Reports team of Sasha Aslanian, Catherine Winter, Emily Hanford, and Stephen Smith won for their podcast documentary “Shadow Class: College DREAMers in Trump’s America.” Their radio documentary profiled undocumented students facing uncertain prospects as the embattled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was slated to end. “Nuanced, contextual, informed by history, and featuring some nicely intimate touches that really great radio is so good at capturing,” wrote an Eddie Prize judge of the APM Reports entry.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Eric Hoover won for his  feature “The Long, Difficult Journey to College.” “The article does an incredible job of capturing the faces behind so many of the issues that make it difficult for low-income students to succeed in their efforts to earn college degrees,” wrote one of the Eddie Prize judges. “The outstanding reporting by this year’s finalists and winners of the Eddie Prize are helping the public better understand the hurdles facing low-income students on their paths to postsecondary success,” said Mark Bieler, the chairman of the Edwin Gould Foundation’s board of trustees. “Helping them reach their goals can yield tremendous benefits, not only for the individual students but also for society as a whole.”

The EWA grand prize, named for the late New York Times education editor Fred M. Hechinger, carries an award of $10,000. The winner of the Eddie Prize receives a bowler hat — the signature headwear of the late New York philanthropist Edwin Gould — as well as a $7,500 cash award. The Moskowitz prize, honoring a bequest to EWA upon Moskowitz’s death in 2013, comes with a $2,500 cash award.

On Wednesday, EWA’s judges named winners in 16 categories. Qualifying category winners were eligible for the Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting. The Moskowitz Prize was picked from the winners of four beat-reporting categories. The Eddie Prize was drawn from a separate pool of entries.

The awards competition, an EWA tradition stretching back five decades, was independently judged across four rounds by nearly 70 current and former editors and reporters.

“This year’s awards’ entries were superb, making for some very tough decisions by our distinguished judges,” said Greg Toppo, the president of the EWA Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to showcase work of this caliber and to honor the dedicated and talented journalists behind these important stories.”