Network News: Florida Wins Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism

We are very pleased to announce that StateImpact Florida is now the official winner of the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism in the small newsroom category. The award went to both WUSF and WLRN-Miami Herald News Public Radio for “No Choice: Florida Charter Schools Failing to Serve Students with Disabilities.”

Becky Lettenberger / NPR StateImpact

The series has all of the hallmarks of a great StateImpact story:

  1. It illustrated the effect of state policy on people’s lives–in this case, some of the most underserved and underrepresented in our communities: children with disabilities. John O’Connor and Sarah Gonzalez‘s multi-platform story brought the people they met into their audience’s lives and made the issues they face real and immediate. 
  2. It was data- and document-driven. The team gathered and analyzed data from 14 school districts representing more than three-quarters of Florida’s total charter school enrollment in order to identify trends and oversights.
  3. It used the unique strengths of multiple platforms intelligently, keeping stats and figures online, in easy-to-access formats and putting some of the best, most human and interesting components in the broadcast piece.
  4. It was an example of the type of watchdog, public service journalism that we strive to produce every day. It questioned the efficacy of popular state policies and investigated whether scarce public resources were being wisely used.
  5. It was a successful, network-building collaboration—in this case, with the Miami Herald, one of the country’s most widely-circulated and well-respected newspapers.

The story also tackled an issue at the forefront of a national trend and, as such, continues to have both local and national relevance–and an audience to match. Well done, Florida!

StateImpact Last Week’s Reader Faves

Most visited stories from September 17-23, in raw numbers:

  1. TexasThe Drought Could Be Ending, Thank God. (And Thank Rick Perry?)
  2. Texas: Where is the Radioactive Rod? How Halliburton Lost a Tiny Fracking Tool
  3. TexasNew Report Aims to Hit Fracking Right in the Pocketbook
  4. PennsylvaniaDrilling Opponents Target Penn State’s Academic Accreditation
  5. Pennsylvania: Shale Play: Pennsylvania fracking map

Most visited content on each site, in order of popularity:

What does that mean? Well, we took the top post from each of your states, according to traffic. We adjusted those figures to reflect each state’s population and then ordered the results.

  1. Idaho: Romney’s 47 Percent Includes A Whole Lot Of Idahoans
  2. Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s Economy in One Chart
  3. Texas: The Drought Could Be Ending, Thank God. (And Thank Rick Perry?)
  4. New Hampshire: Lynch Promotes Lean Government at Summit
  5. PennsylvaniaDrilling Opponents Target Penn State’s Academic Accreditation
  6. Ohio: Issue 2
  7. Indiana: Independent Voters Seem To Favor Romney’s Education Policies Over Obama
  8. Florida: Why Florida Teachers Cannot Strike the Way Chicago Teachers Can

Traffic Sources:





Search engines
Social media
Top search terms:

  • issue 2
  • alpha natural resources
  • fracking
  • third grade guarantee
  • keystone pipeline
Top referrers:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • The Texas Tribune
  • mobile Facebook
Includes people who type in the URL or use a bookmark. Also includes referrals from mobile apps (eg Facebook iPhone app). Directed through email newsletters, etc.

Around the Network

Last week:

  • Several of our founding parents (this is 2012, people) had big weeks. First and foremost, Matt Stiles and Elise Hu welcomed their baby girl, Eva, into the world. On the other side of the country, at almost the exact same time, Chris Amico and his wife, Laura, had their hard work on Homicide Watch honored with the Knight Award for Public Service (also at the ONA conference). Congratulations, one and all.
  • Mose Buchele of StateImpact Texas moderated a panel on eminent domain and energy development last weekend at The Texas Tribune Festival. Taking the time to participate in events like these typically pays off in spades. “The festival was a great opportunity to get our name out to state decision makers, industry and activist people, and policy junkies,” Mose tells us. “My panel included a state rep who is tasked with reforming eminent domain in the upcoming legislative session, so it’s cool that our project could be involved in this process at such an early stage. In terms of immediate outcomes: we’ve already seen an increase in Twitter followers from people at the event. I also grabbed the tape from the panel and am using it to produce a radio feature on the same topic.”
  • John Stefany took a tour of the StateImpact states during his 50 States & 13 Colonies [Bike] Ride (it’s a DC thing)–and brought home this photo spread of his travels for all of us to enjoy. Feel free to download your state’s DC street sign and add it to your stock collection, should you be so inclined. 

This week:

  • Elle Moxley of StateImpact Indiana paid us a visit here in DC. We had a lovely time chatting on the rooftop terrace and meeting her significant other, who scored big on NPR’s famous book giveaway shelf (almost makes you want to book a flight right now, don’t it?). Please do come by if any of you are ever in town, and you might even get to have your picture taken with us in front of our fancy StateImpact sign!
  • We are working on getting all of you signed into Google Analytics so that you can see for yourself which stories are popular on the interwebs, how many new and returning visitors you have and all sorts of good stuff. If you’re just getting started using the tool, check out Media Bistro’s basics for a primer on some of the key elements to look for.  If you want to learn more about any specific feature, Google has a pretty comprehensive set of tutorials and how-tos on their site.

Thanks, everyone, for your great work this past week.

Your editorial team,

Chris Swope, Jessica Pupovac, Ken Rudin & Becky Lettenberger

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