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Ed Writers recognize Notebook’s reporting

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

For the second year in a row, the Notebook has garnered an honor from the national Education Writers Association. In this year’s National Awards for Education Reporting, the Notebook has received a special citation for its online coverage of the issue of cheating on standardized tests.

The citation recognizes the work of Notebook reporter Benjamin Herold and contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa, as well as the editing of Notebook editor/director, Paul Socolar, and Chris Satullo, vice president of news and civic dialogue for our partner, WHYY/NewsWorks. The stories on cheating were the first fruit of an innovative arrangement with WHYY that began last July when we brought on Herold as a reporter shared by both organizations.

And the Notebook would like to thank…

This type of recognition and the quality of our investigative reporting could not be sustained without the continuing support of our members and we thank all of our 2011 members for helping us bring this story to the public! If you have not already renewed your membership for 2012 or if you’ve never become a member of the Notebook, now is the time do so! By joining as a member by March 28, you will be sent our upcoming April edition right to your mailbox – hurry and join today!


It all started when we asked whether the state regularly commissions forensic analyses of PSSA test results. In response, to our surprise, we received a wealth of statistical information regarding the 2009 test administration that flagged 89 schools statewide for irregularities. Our coverage was picked up statewide and nationally, and it prompted a state investigation that continues today. Herold’s “Confessions of a Cheating Teacher,” in which a teacher explained why she helped her students even though she knew it was wrong, became the most widely read story ever on our site.

A total of 61 awards for excellence on the education beat will be presented at EWA’s annual national seminar here in Philadelphia May 17-19. Two of the Notebook’s sister publications devoted to urban education news – Gotham Schools and Catalyst-Chicago – also won awards, as did some of our fellow members of the Investigative News Network: the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch.

Last year the Notebook’s blog was honored with the prize for second place in EWA’s category of “community blogging.” Please help us continue this level of coverage and reporting by renewing or becoming a member.

A time to celebrate

We now celebrate the release of each new print edition with a happy hour. The celebration of the April edition release is Wednesday, April 4, from 4-6 p.m. at the Dock Street Brewing Co., 701 S. 50th St., at the corner of Baltimore Avenue and 50th Street in West Philly.

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