Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Times' 'Failure Factories' series wins national journalism award

"Failure Factories," the Tampa Bay Times' investigation into Pinellas County public schools, has won a prestigious national award that recognizes the use of social science techniques in journalism.

Judges for the Philip Meyer award praised the reporters for "dogged work" and noted that "the results underscored what decades of sociological research has shown happens in racially segregated schools."

Times reporters analyzed millions of rows of data on black student performance and behavior and interviewed hundreds of parents, students and teachers.

Their investigation showed how the school district abandoned integration efforts in 2007 and then failed to follow through with promised resources for elementary schools that became predominantly poor and black. Today, the county's five most segregated schools are failing at rates far worse than almost any other schools in Florida.

In the wake of the stories, the Pinellas School District announced plans to turn several of the schools into magnet programs and hired a turnaround specialist to focus on its struggling schools.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan flew to St. Petersburg to meet with parents. He publicly accused the district of "education malpractice."

The Meyer award is administered through Investigative Reporters and Editors at the Missouri School of Journalism. First place went to Times reporters Cara Fitzpatrick, Lisa Gartner, Connie Humburg, Michael LaForgia, and Nathaniel Lash. Second place went to reporters from USA Today for their series "The Changing Face of America." Third place went to Thomson Reuters news service for "The Echo Chamber."

Times' 'Failure Factories' series wins national journalism award 01/21/16 [Last modified: Thursday, January 21, 2016 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  2. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  3. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida softball returns to World Series; FSU baseball in ACC title game


    GAINESVILLE — Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 Saturday to win the deciding Game 3 of their softball Super Region, putting the Gators in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history.

    Starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill, center, gets loud with her Gator teammates after their Super Region win over Alabama.
  5. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.