Three Education Series Were Finalists, But Not Winners, in Pulitzer Competition

By Mark Walsh — April 11, 2017 1 min read
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It was close, but no Pulitzer Prize, for three entries on education in the most prestigious award competition for the U.S. news business.

A Houston Chronicle series on arbitrary cost-cutting by the state of Texas on special education services was one of three finalists for public service, the most prestigious category in the awards administered by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York City and announced April 10.

(The public service award went to the New York Daily News and ProPublica for a series on abuses in evictions by the police.)

In the investigative category, Steve Reilly of USA Today was a finalist for his stories about 9,000 teachers across the country who should have been identified for past disciplinary offenses but were not. (The prize went to the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail for a series about the opioid problem in West Virginia.)

In the national reporting category, Renee Dudley, Steve Stecklow, Alexandra Harney, and other members of the staff of the Reuters wire service were a finalist for a series about how the U.S. college admissions process is corrupted by systematic cheating on tests in Asia taken by those seeking to attend college here. (The prize went to David A. Fahrenthold of The Washington Post for his series casting doubt about Donald Trump’s charitable contributions.)

There was one education-related winner. The staff of the Salt Lake Tribune won the Pulitzer in local reporting for a series on the poor treatment of sexual assault victims at Brigham Young University.

Education entries usually garner several finalist positions in the Pulitzers and often one or two category winners. Last year, two education-related entries won Pulitizers: A Tampa Bay Times series called “Failure Factories,” about the Pinellas County, Fla., school district’s failure to education its African-American children, which won the local reporting prize; and Farah Stockman of The Boston Globe, who won the commentary prize for her series called “Boston After Busing.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.