Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
BURLINGAME – Media stories ranging from how school districts cope with high costs of some special education programs to why an audit showed too many administrators were being hired in another district to a careful look at California’s high school exit exam are among the works honored by the California Teachers Association’s 48th Annual John Swett Awards for Media Excellence.
Eleven entries by 13 journalists in the prestigious CTA awards contest were recently chosen by an independent panel of media professionals. The awards honor individuals, publications and television and radio stations for their outstanding achievements in reporting and interpreting public education issues during 2006.
“These winners have shown how to tell the story of public education with fair and accurate reporting,” said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the 340,000-member CTA. “These journalists and editors provided both with their outstanding coverage of our schools and students. The John Swett Award is our top award for media professionals and outlets. All of this year’s winners showed the kind of talent and insight that deserves special recognition.”
There were 51 entries this year. The winners will receive their awards during a reception in their honor at the CTA State Council of Education meeting in Los Angeles on June 8. CTA also will take out a full-page advertisement in the July/August issue of Columbia Journalism Review magazine to list the winners and give them national recognition.
The award is named in honor of the founder of CTA, who was California’s fourth superintendent of public instruction. This year’s eleven John Swett Award winning entries:
• Nanette Asimov, the San Francisco Chronicle, for a thought-provoking feature story package examining California’s special education program and how school districts are coping financially with some parents seeking “extra-special education at public expense” for their children.
• Jill Tucker, the San Francisco Chronicle, for her news series on the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps within the San Francisco Unified School District. The series examined the program and the controversy when the school board ended the program last year after 90 years.
• Paul Clinton, the Daily Breeze in Torrance, for a news story about how a state audit of the
Los Angeles Unified School District discovered that its ranks of administrators were swelling
out of proportion to teachers and other classroom personnel.
• Teresa Mills-Faraudo and Allison Louie, the San Mateo County Times, for a two-part series on the cost of education that looked at local school funding inequities, their impacts on students and teachers, and also examined the high costs of higher education.
• Heather Murtagh, the San Mateo Daily Journal, for a moving series of portraits of local graduating high school seniors. She profiled public school students of diverse backgrounds and hardships who excelled against great odds.
• Alexandra Rocha, the Palo Alto Weekly, for a news story about how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students were treated by other students last year in the Palo Alto Unified School District, and about how the district responded with special trainings for educators and administrators.
• Eli Segall, the Willow Glen Resident, a weekly in San Jose, for a feature story titled “My Pal Al” about the Willow Glen High School vice principal of discipline, Al Gallegos. The profile includes insightful interviews with teachers.
• Kathryn Baron, KQED-FM Public Radio, San Francisco, for a series of stories titled “Language of Learning” about dual-language immersion programs in public schools, how teachers are trained for these programs, and language as a civil rights issue.
• KQED-FM, public radio, San Francisco, won as a station for its continuous coverage of the California high school exit exam as part of its “California Report” news program. Reporters Kathryn Baron, Sasha Khokha and Tara Siler looked at the exam from many sides, covering a lawsuit filed over it, a Fresno school with low pass rates, and how seniors who don’t pass the test take measures to eventually graduate.
• Karen Massie and Dana Howard, News10 KXTV, Sacramento, an ABC affiliate, for a series of in-depth stories about the student achievement gaps in local schools and how steps are being taken to help close the gaps.
• Esmeralda Montenegro, KSMS-TV, a Univision affiliate in Monterey, for a series of stories in Spanish about how low-income high school students in the Salinas area can obtain financial aid for their college education.