February 28, 2008
Contact:
Laura Perloff, NPR

   

NPR NEWS' LARRY ABRAMSON AND MARISA PENALOZA
WIN EDUCATION WRITERS ASSOCIATION AWARD
FOR 12-PART SERIES CHRONICLING
A BALTIMORE HIGH SCHOOL'S
EFFORTS TO MEET THE STANDARDS SET BY LAW



February 28, 2008; Washington, D.C. – NPR News journalists Larry Abramson and Marisa Penaloza have been honored by the Education Writers Association with its “National Award for Education Reporting” in the radio category for a year-long NPR on-air and online series following a Baltimore-area high school's efforts to improve student achievement.

Abramson and Penaloza spent 2006-2007 reporting on Northwestern High School, a public school in Baltimore that had been failing testing requirements for years and is now working to advance student performance to comply with legal standards. The journalists produced 12 features, which aired on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and provided additional content for NPR.org. The series can be found at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7873385

The series captured a year in the life of the school, through the graduation of 200 students. Among the people and efforts examined in the project is sophomore Davon Fleming, a standout for his academic performance and his vocal talent; teachers who learned that they will have to reapply for their jobs, questioning whether changes in the school’s staff will change the future for their students. They also interviewed student cadets who joined the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps to learn discipline and hard work at a school wrestling with high absenteeism and low test scores.

Abramson is NPR Education Correspondent, who has reported on such topics as federal policy to testing to instructional techniques in the classroom. From 1997-2006, he covered national security and technology issues. Abramson was part of the NPR News team honored with the duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Black Americans and AIDS.

Penaloza, a Producer with NPR’s National Desk, was part of the NPR News team recognized with the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for Excellence in Reporting on Drug and Alcohol Problems, for the five-part series investigating the status of the United States’ war on drugs on numerous fronts. Penaloza was also honored with the National Headliner Award for Investigative Reporting examining the culture of drug money and corruption along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Comprised of education reporters and writers, the Education Writers Association’s annual awards honor the best education journalism in print and broadcast media. A total of 326 entries were judged in this year's contest.