The Best Education Writing of the Year -- Sort Of

There were over 500 entries for the 2004 Education Writers Assocation contest, including some really great writing and reporting (sadly, none of it mine).

You can see the full list at the EWA website, but some of my favorites from the EWA list include:

Diane Rado, Ray Long, Stephanie Banchero, Christi Parsons - Chicago Tribune - "Education Takeover" (Large Circulation Breaking or Hard News Second Prize)

Stephanie Banchero - Chicago Tribune - "No Child Left Behind" (Series or Group of Articles First Prize)

Bill Graves, Betsy Hammond, Chris Broderick, Melissa Jones - The Oregonian - "Fixing High Schools" (Series Special Citation)

Joshua Benton, Holly Hacker, Herb Booth - Dallas Morning News - "Children Left Behind: Corruption and Cheating in Texas" (First Prize Investigative)

Chris Davis, Matthew Doig - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - "Teachers Who Fail" (Second Prize Investigative)

Alec MacGillis - Baltimore Sun - "Poor Schools, Rich Targets" (Special Citation Investigative)

Hara Estroff Marano - Psychology Today - "A Nation of Wimps" (Magazine Second Prize)

Congratulations to all.

However, I'm not sure that the contest includes everything out there that might have been considered in an ideal world, and, while impractical, perhaps there also might be some new categories for awards in the future.

For next year, however, I think that EWA should:

(a) only give awards to publications that allow live/free links to the stories that are being honored so we can easily find them;

(b) find a way to recognize great education writing that may not have been written by full-time education writers or een submitted to the contest (Kate Boo's piece on Pacific Rim charter school in the New Yorker, for example, or Ira Glass's NPR piece on the rise and fall of Washington Irving Elementary School); and,

(c) include new categories for lazy freelance writers and/or sloppy-thinking education bloggers -- we deserve recognition too, sort of.

What do you think? Any other new categories or missed articles out there? If so, I'd love to hear about them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for shining a light on the EWA awards. I'd love the third category, that for lazy freelancer!

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Investigative Reporters & Editors competition produces good ed stories with strong research. The process is open, honest and has good contact with sources. Nothing is hidden.

The Dallas Morning News, on the other hand, refused to provide the Texas Education Agency with access to their data and results. Instead of a dialogue intended to shed a light on weakenesses in the system, they played a game of "gotcha" that showed limited research skills. They served themselves, not the public, in this series of stories. If you can even call it a series. It really wasn't.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Walker said...

If you have a complaint about the EWA contest or an entry in the contest, the fair way to address it is to sign your name and to address the complaint to the Chief Judge Chris Harvey at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. 20742 or charvey@jmail.umd.edu

No anonymous statements will be investigated. All signed complaints will be investigated by the Chief Judge.

The EWA contest was created in the 1960's and has been operated continuously since then. It is judged independently of the Education Writers Association by a panel chosen by the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism under the direction of the Chief Judge, faculty member and former editor of the American Journalism Review, Chris Harvey. As noted above, signed complaints are investigated.

Responses to other comments:
Web links are added to the contest entries as we get them. If readers check now, you'll find additional links have been added and will continue to be as they are created or sent by the winners.

Outstanding stories identified during the year should be brought to the attention of the EWA staff who will contact the writers and encourgage them to enter the contest. Anyone may enter a story on behalf of the author (although you'll have to pay the entry fee.)

Lisa Walker
Executive Director

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there should be a special category for the incredibly prolific and always insightful jay mathews (wash post)

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely ... Jay says really great stuff. A great thinker. He would be worthy of recognition. I think EWA needs to go out and find stronger education writers and bring them into to association. Alexander here is an excellent example. Jay is really good. There are others that Alexander posts here on a regular basis who ought to be members.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Lori Crouch said...

For the record, both Jay and Alexander are members of EWA. Jay is an extremely active "dean of education reporting" on the EWA K-12 reporter listserv.

Lori Crouch
Education Writers Association

10:03 AM  

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