"The Inquirer demonstrated the school system under-reported violent incidents and routinely failed to protect teachers and students. An intervention program was unmasked as nothing more than paper-shuffling. Following the project, the district has established a new protocol for reporting serious incidents and crime. For putting five reporters on this project for more than year, for overcoming the obstacles of closed environments and sealed records, and for putting a face on a violent school system and its victims, IRE honors The Inquirer for exemplary investigative work."
In a note to the staff, Inquirer editor Stan Wischnowski today said the award reminded everyone of "just how important our watchdog role remains in this community we serve."
He praised the staff who produced the series including reporters, editors, photographers and multi-media specialists. "This investigative work was highlighted by a series of gripping narratives, augmented by video narratives, and supported by dogged reporting and a sophisticated level of data analysis. The power of the reporting has made safety in the schools one of the top initiatives for a city grappling with serious crime."
The investigative report which included multi-media and school by school violence data can be found at http://www.philly.com/assaultonlearning
Named as finalists in the same category are: The Washington Post, "Million-Dollar Wasteland," Debbie Cenziper, Jennifer Jenkins, John Mummolo, Meg Smith; Los Angeles Times, "Billions to Spend," Michael Finnegan, Gale Holland, Paul Pringle, Doug Smith, Ben Welsh; McClatchy Newspapers, "Honor Tarnished," Jonathan S. Landay and The Associated Press, "NYPD Spying," Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan, Chris Hawley.
The contest covers 15 categories across media platforms and a range of market sizes. This year's winners were selected from among more than 430 entries. The award will be presented at the group's annual conference in June in Boston.
The awards, given by Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. since 1979, recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year.
The awards listing can be found at http://www.ire.org
IRE is the nation's premier journalism group for investigative reporting and sponsors worldwide training programs.
The Inquirer's work on school also recently won the inaugural Weiss Award for Investigative Journalism sponsored by the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University's School of Communications and Theater.