Chronicle wins national reporting award

| 22 Feb 2012 | 05:03

    National Education Writers Association recognizes newspaper’s ongoing coverage of Chester schools Chester - The Chronicle’s education reporting won national recognition from the National Education Writers Association last week in Washington, D.C. For her reporting of school administrators’ visit to the home of a student absent from school, Becca Tucker won second place in the series category for “small markets” for her story “Middle School principal tests boundaries with home visit.” The annual National Education Writers Association competition highlights the best coverage of education in print and broadcast media. It is a prestigious event, watched closely in elite journalism circles. A total of 345 entries were judged in this year’s contest; 59 entries won awards. “In lean times, it’s especially important to recognize journalists who are managing to produce high-quality coverage,” said Caroline Hendrie, the organization’s executive director. “We’re proud of The Chronicle and its ongoing commitment to report what matters to people who live here,” said Jeanne Straus, president and publisher of Straus News, which includes The Chronicle, its sister publication, The Photo News, and seven other newspapers. “And we’re particularly honored and excited to receive this highly competitive national award.” Ongoing reporting and recognition Chronicle reporting in the last two years has received other recognition, including: The Chronicle took first place for “in-depth reporting” from the New York Press Association and an honorable mention from the Suburban Newspapers of America for coverage of the Chester schools for work done in 2009. During that year, parents brought a lawsuit alleging their children were illegally strip-searched, the school district banned The Chronicle, the schools superintendent was arrested for harassment, a parent was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct, the superintendent resigned and grand jury subpoena was served on the paper to reveal the identities of school critics posting comments on the paper’s Web site. In granting The Chronicle’s award, the New York Press Association judges wrote: “An amazing series of stories that chronicles the Chester school district’s often bizarre behavior toward parents — banning the public from public meetings? Strip-searching children? A superintendent charged with harassment? There’s no doubt that readers found this yearlong saga interesting, thanks to well-reported and well-written stories.” Tucker was the principal reporter covering the ongoing story. Tucker and Linda Smith Hancharick took second place in the education category from the New York Press Association for their coverage of Chester Schools in 2008. The judges wrote: “Great defense of the newspaper’s attempt to provide a community forum on its blogging site; involving the reader in the newspaper’s efforts to explain its actions is commendable.” Other organizations who won this year’s nation Education Writers Association award included The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, The Washington Post and The New York Times.