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2014 Feature, Medium Newsroom finalist

Running in Place: Education in Indian Country

 

About the Project

Our examination of the state of Native American education started with a single glaring fact: Every other racial and ethnic subgroup of students in the United States has made gains on most measures of educational success in recent years; Native American students have not.

We set out to find out why, and to look closely at the persistent challenges, and causes, of low student achievement in this often-overlooked population.

In a project that recently won awards from the Education Writers Association (www.ewa.org/first-prize/education-indian-country | www.ewa.org/third-prize/education-indian-country-running-place-tie) and Society for Features Journalism (featuresjournalism.org/contests-2/sfj-26th-annual-contest-winners-by-category), Education Week combined data, reporting, audio, photos, video, and months of research into an immersive, interactive, and responsive longform story package.

The package centered around a story that required months of intensive reporting, research, and travel.

It featured sprawling photos that welcomed our audience to the reservations we visited and intimate videos, capturing compelling personal accounts of the struggle for education and a better life there.

This coverage included five video portraits, an audio/photo slideshow, a traditional Web video, as well as great photography, graphics and illustrations.

This immersive package, which was designed to be responsive, was accompanied by an 8-minute documentary film offering viewers a deep look at life “on the rez.”

It also included Commentary essays with additional perspectives from Native leaders.

This full array of features helped us get behind the statistics and offer an authentic and multidimensional perspective on the realities facing Native students, parents, and teachers.

Worth noting was the immense praise this package received from leaders in the Native American community and the education community, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (twitter.com/arneduncan/status/408700263692636161).

We are proud to share this work with you. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of our entry.