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Cole Award Honors School Board News Coverage
May 10, 2010

Winners of the 2010 “Robert M. Cole Award” were announced April 30 at the Illinois Press Association convention in Springfield.

The award is sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards and conducted by the IPA to recognize newspapers that are doing an outstanding job of covering local school boards and emphasizing the community's connection with local public school districts.

This is the 29 th year that the award, named for IASB’s first full-time executive director, has been presented to Illinois newspapers. Here is the list of first-place winners, including the name of the individual reporter, their newspaper and circulation category, and a brief judge’s comment:

  • Jana Michaels - The Doings, Hinsdale (weeklies division A) “Terrific reporting on schools’ response to a suicide.”
  • Erin Sauder - Lemont Reporter/Met, Suburban Life Publications (weeklies division B) “Delineates the road to a school finance referendum.”
  • Terry Dean - Wednesday Journal, Oak Park (weeklies division C) “Describes why a district superintendent chose to retire.”
  • Mark Malone - Morris Daily Herald (dailies division D) “Examines one school district’s journey to become a beacon of student achievement.”
  • Holly Wagner - Quincy Herald-Whig (dailies division E) “On spending cuts: There is no joy in what we’re doing.”
  • Jodi Heckel - The News-Gazette, Champaign (dailies division F) “Great coverage regarding the end of a consent decree, and other major board issues.”

All entries for the award were judged on:

  • their contribution to public understanding of local school governance
  • their support for effective dialogue that helps the community and school board define major public policy issues

Members of the IASB communications staff judged the entries and also considered enterprise, depth of reporting and clarity of writing.

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