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BU And WBUR Announce 2012 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize Winner

Grace Hood, winner of the 2012 Dan Schorr Prize with WBUR board member Jim Bildner and WBUR Program Director Sam Fleming. (Photo: WBUR)
Grace Hood, winner of the 2012 Dan Schorr Prize with WBUR board member Jim Bildner and WBUR Program Director Sam Fleming. (Photo: WBUR)

Boston University and 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station, have announced reporter Grace Hood of Northern Colorado NPR member station KUNC as the winner of the 2012 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Now in its 11th year, the prize is named for the respected NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr, who died in 2010.

The $5,000 Schorr Prize — sponsored by WBUR and Boston University, and funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner — salutes a new generation of public radio journalists under the age of 35, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium.

Hood’s winning entry, “Investigating Colorado’s Online K-12 Education,” is a three-part investigative report on for-profit education that aired on KUNC starting in September 2011. It uncovered a mix of corporate profits, questionable state oversight and poor academic results at the state’s largest full-time online school, Colorado Virtual Academy.

Her story, however, had implications beyond Colorado, as other states — including North Carolina — are considering whether to allow corporations to operate such schools with public funds. The series is accessible online here.

Hood will be honored at the 11th Annual WBUR Gala on Monday, Oct. 15, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay.

“Her reports demonstrated the likely abuse of millions of dollars in public funds for an online education that was producing decidedly inferior results while at the same time enriching the for-profit management company,” said Schorr Prize judge Philip S. Balboni, CEO of Global Post.

A reporter at KUNC in Greeley, Colo., Hood has contributed to NPR’s Morning Edition, the National Radio Project’s Making Contact, Voice of America, Free Speech Radio and more. She won KUNC its first Edward R. Murrow Award in 2010 for her story “Two Men, Two Women and a Baby” – and then won two more, in 2011 and 2012, for her feature and investigative reporting.

Recent past recipients of the Schorr Prize include NPR host and correspondent David Greene (2011); WNYC reporter Ailsa Chang, who is now a reporter for NPR (2010); reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, who covers global economics for NPR’s multimedia project Planet Money (2009); former NPR defense correspondent Guy Raz, who is now the weekend host of All Things Considered (2008); and NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).

Public radio journalists from around the world competed for this prestigious recognition. Schorr had said he was honored to have this prize bear his name, as he believed strongly in supporting talented journalists as they rose through the ranks of the broadcast industry, and particularly those who found a calling in public radio.

This year’s distinguished panel of Schorr Prize judges, in addition to Balboni, included:

  • Julia McEvoy, managing editor of KQED
  • Ellen Weiss of The Center for Public Integrity
  • NPR producer Cindy Carpien
  • Joe O’Connor, general manager of Rhode Island Public Radio

This program aired on October 15, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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