PHILADELPHIA – An immersive, multimedia investigation of violence and unsafe learning conditions within Philadelphia public schools has earned a team of reporters from the Philadelphia Inquirer a $10,000 prize and the inaugural Weiss Award for Investigative Journalism.
The top prize winner, “Assault on Learning,” is by John Sullivan, Susan Snyder, Kristen A. Graham, Dylan Purcell and Jeff Gammage. The seven-part series spurred an overhaul of the schools’ incident-reporting processes and the hiring of a state-funded safe schools advocate.
The Weiss Award was created through the vision and generosity of local businessman Larry Weiss and is sponsored by the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater.
“We are fortunate to have many excellent investigative journalists working in our communities. The work they do is essential,” said Weiss, an entrepreneur focusing his efforts in the graphic arts. “The purpose of the Weiss Award is to encourage more of this kind of work.”
In addition to the winner, the judges awarded two other entries “Special Recognition” prizes and $2,500 each:
• Patrick Kerkstra – Inquirer/PlanPhilly –“Deluge of Deadbeats”
• Jeff Cole, Gary Scurka and Mark LaValla – FOX 29 – “Drinking Postal Workers”