By Mike Myslinski
Media stories ranging from a look at homeless students in one San Francisco Bay Area school district making academic gains, to an investigation of contaminated water in the Los Angeles Unified School District, to a look at how the foreclosure crisis is uprooting public school students, are among the works honored by the California Teachers Association's 50th annual John Swett Awards for Media Excellence.
Sixteen entries in the prestigious CTA awards contest were chosen by an independent panel of media professionals. The awards honor individuals, publications, websites, and television and radio stations for their outstanding achievements in reporting and interpreting public education issues during 2008.
"These winners have demonstrated their ability to capture the struggles and successes in our classrooms with candor and compassion," said CTA President David A. Sanchez. "These journalists and editors helped tell the compelling story of public education in California. All of this year's winners showed the kind of insight that deserves special recognition."
The award is named in honor of the founder of CTA, who was California's fourth superintendent of public instruction. There were 54 entries this year.
This year's winners are: Nanette Asimov, the San Francisco Chronicle; Ruben Moreno, La Opinión; Jason Song, the Los Angeles Times; Kimberly Wetzel, the Contra Costa Times; the Los Angeles Daily News; J.M. Brown, the Santa Cruz Sentinel; Mayra Flores De Marcotte, the Willow Glen Resident (winner of two awards); Anne Gelhaus, the Willow Glen Resident; New America Media (www.newamericamedia.org), based in San Francisco; Ronn Owens, KGO Radio, San Francisco; Bruce Robinson, KRCB Public Radio in Rohnert Park, Sonoma County; Lyanne Melendez, KGO-TV in San Francisco, an ABC affiliate; Elyse Miller, KESQ-TV in Palm Desert, an affiliate of ABC; KTVU, a Fox affiliate in Oakland; and Joel Grover, KNBC Channel 4 in Burbank.
The winners received their awards during a reception in their honor at the CTA State Council of Education meeting in Los Angeles on May 15. CTA also will take out a full-page advertisement in the July/August issue of Columbia Journalism Review to list the winners and give them national recognition.