The 2007 Casey Journalism awards are out, including a ton of great work around children, youth, and family issues. As you’ll see, the awardees make for some tough reading. This is no Paris Hilton goes to jail type of journalism. But it’s worth it. Some of my favorites include Jean Rimbach and Kathleen Carroll, The (Bergen) Record, “Lessons in Waste.” A four-month investigation into fraud and waste in New Jersey’s preschool program – the most ambitious and expensive in the nation – demonstrates masterful dissection of records, crowned with skilled storytelling. Jennifer Torres, The (Stockton) Record, “A Future in the Fields.” The series explores the benefits and barriers in schooling nearly 11,000 children of migrant farm laborers in San Joaquin County. And two hometown stars -- Stephanie Banchero, Chicago Tribune, “Doing the Home Work.” Too few stories focus on the plight of single fathers; this one is beautifully written, meticulously researched, unflinching and fair. And Julia McEvoy and Chicago Public Radio staff, “Chicago Matters: Valuing Education” This yearlong project provides a powerful public service, accomplished with depth, breadth and creativity. In addition to the radio presentations, the production team convened community outreach meetings, developed a mentorship program for rookie reporters and launched an interactive Web site – complete with blogs, essays and student artwork.
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