Benjamin B. Herold, education reporter for WHYY/NewsWorks, has been honored by the Education Writers Association as the best schools beat writer in the nation, among mid-sized news operations.
In honors released today, the EWA cited him for his body of work covering the Philadelphia schools, including stories on school closings, test cheating and the “broken pipeline” between city schools and colleges.
Herold’s work is supported by a partnership in education coverage between WHYY/NewsWorks and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook.
For part of the period covered by the award, Herold was on staff at the Notebook, in a position partially underwritten by WHYY. In August, he moved to WHYY full-time, but continues to collaborate with Notebook staff on projects.
The Notebook itself was honored with a second-place prize for news feature by an education-only publication.
Judges cited the Notebook’s special edition last May on the broken college pipeline, a project for which Herold was a lead writer.
Also mentioned in that award, along with the Notebook’s editor Paul Socolar and other Notebook contributers, was WHYY/NewsWorks web producer Todd Vachon, for his news graphics on education topics.
According to the EWA website, comments from content judges about Herold’s beat coverage included:
“Terrific reporting and writing — heartening to see this kind of collaboration across news outlets, too. Some of the best work I’ve read in this contest. The profile of a mother searching for school for her son was heartbreaking.”
“The graphics, the photos — it all works in these. It’s obvious that Benjamin is an expert story-teller and is given the time and the access to do these stories the way they are supposed to be done. I was drawn to the graphics in the pipeline story. So striking.”
Herold, a University of Delaware graduate, has a masters in urban education from Temple University. He’s also an award-winning documentary filmmaker. He started as lead writer in the Notebook-NewsWorks reporting parnership in 2010.
Vachon, a resident of Wallingford, joined WHYY in 2008.