IASB, Press Association Recognize School Board Coverage

  • Date Posted
    June 10, 2024
  • Category
The Illinois Association of School Boards and the Illinois Press Association have announced the latest recipients of the Robert M. Cole Awards. The awards, for material published in 2023, were presented June 6, 2024, at the Press Association Convention in Bloomington.

Taking top honors in the weekly newspaper category was Will Brumleve of the Ford County Chronicle in Paxton, for coverage of staff mentoring, community college collaborations, STEAM education, and athletic policies in well-rounded coverage of Paxton-Buckley-Loda CUSD 10.

Taking second place in the weekly division was Janice Hunt of the Oakland Independent. Larry Lough of the Woodstock Independent took third and Pamela Lannom of The Hinsdalean was fourth.
In the daily newspaper division, the winner of the Robert M. Cole Award was Ethan Simmons of the Champaign News-Gazette for coverage of bilingual education, attendance designations, and a school closure in Champaign CUSD 4.

Second place was won by Chicago Sun-Times staff in collaboration with WBEZ. Valerie Wells of the Herald & Review of Decatur took third place and Stephanie Markham of the Kankakee Daily Journal was fourth.

In its 44th year, the Robert M. Cole Award for Best School Board Coverage, named for the first full-time executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards, recognizes outstanding coverage of education issues that emphasize the community’s connection with its local public school district. Judges evaluate entries for contribution to public understanding of local school governance and support for effective dialogue that helps the community and school board define major public policy issues. Judging criteria also include enterprise, depth of reporting, and clarity of writing. 

Sponsored by IASB, the Robert M. Cole Award is part of the Illinois Press Association’s annual “Best of the Press” competition, which this year included nearly 100 daily and nondaily newspapers competing in 39 editorial categories.