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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.

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StateImpact Finalist In ONA Awards

The Online News Association has announced the finalists for the 2012 Online Journalism Awards, and we are thrilled to report that StateImpact and its NPR member station partners are finalists in not just one, but two categories.

1. Explanatory Reporting, Large:  StateImpact

Other nominees include:

2. Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Small:

No Choice: Florida Charter Schools Failing to Serve Students with Disabilities (StateImpact Florida)

  • No other nominees are listed.

The Explanatory Reporting nomination covers all eight StateImpact states. The “No Choice” investigation was reported by StateImpact Florida reporters Sarah Gonzalez of WLRN-Miami Herald News and John O’Connor of WUSF.

You can find the full list of finalists on the ONA website.

The fact that we were selected as a finalist in the overall Explanatory Reporting category is a nod to the excellence of the project in all eight states. And being recognized in the “Large” category — alongside NewYorkTimes.com, The Guardian and The Toronto Star–is astounding.  What a testament to the hard work and dedication of our small but mighty team. We are extremely honored.

This recognition is a nod to the talents of our reporters, news directors, general managers and support teams in each of our eight states, and to the phenomenal core team at NPR who work every day to make StateImpact a strong and able network. Thank you to all of you — and all of our supporters — for making this project a success.

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