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Media: Why Did EWA Change Its 2015 Contest Categories?

I've gotten a handful of questions and seen a few tweets about EWA's decision not to award prizes to non-journalists as they have in the past, effectively cutting out teacher-writers like Chicago's Ray Salazar, NorCal's Anthony Cody, and the Fordham Institute.  The contest entry deadline is in a couple of weeks, and there's a FAQ page up that answers the question -- sort of:

1. Why did you remove categories for work of non-journalists?

There are many thoughtful writers in the teaching, think tank, and research communities who contribute much to education journalism by providing news tips, quotes, research and perspective. However, this contest honors the very best of independent education journalism. EWA is grateful to its community members for their continued support of expanding the breadth and depth of independent education journalism.
If I understand this correctly, EWA is defining "independent education journalism" as paid (full-time?) work of people who are primarily journalists and write for outlets that define themselves as newsrooms of some kind.  So-called "community" members -- who can be educators, advocates, and even communications professionals -- are welcome to attend EWA events and contribute to EWA training and panels but aren't eligible for the contest (and presumably aren't eligible for scholarships, either).
 
Other changes for this year's contest include ending the practice of separating general-interest and education-only outlets, so that they can compete against each other. 

EWA has evolved in several ways over the years, including dropping the annual membership fee (for journalists, at least), a major expansion in scholarships for journalists to travel to events, and relocating the annual conference from hotels to universities (ed schools, usually), and the sometimes-awkward mixing of advocates, educators, and journalists of various kinds at EWA events.

There have been some minor controversies along the way, too, including the 2007 creation of a "public editor" position (A New "Coach" For Education Reporters) and a 2011 prize to a Hechinger-funded LA Times report that published teachers' value-added ratings (Journalism Awards, Good And Bad).

All that being said -- turn in your award submissions ASAP!

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