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WAMU 88.5 News’ “American Graduate” series wins first place in National Awards for Education Reporting

Senior reporter wins award for series on dropout crisis, special citation for homelessness coverage

“American Graduate,” a news series by WAMU 88.5 News education reporter Kavitha Cardoza examining the high school dropout crisis in the D.C. region, has won first place in the Broadcast category in the 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting.

The awards are given by the Education Writers Association (EWA) and recognize dogged journalism, accomplished storytelling, and insightful analysis produced by print, radio and online media outlets across the country.

Cardoza teamed with producer Ginger Moored to complete the nine-part series, which aired January through March 2012. The team interviewed teachers, parents, researchers, and dropouts and examined the causes and consequences of the problem, which affects approximately 1 million students each year.

The in-depth series took a careful look at the issue from many perspectives, from examining the impact of the dropout crisis on the local economy to comparing graduation rates in the United States with outcomes around the globe. The series also spotlighted early indicators that a student might drop out before graduation, experimental schools working to stem the trend, and efforts to re-engage truant students.   

WAMU 88.5 News’ series was reported as part of “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen,” a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis.

Cardoza also received a special citation from EWA for “No Place Like Home,” her report on college students coping with homelessness. The piece aired during WAMU 88.5’s week of special programming in honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in November.

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Episode 5: Why 1986 Still Matters

In 1986, a federal official issued a warning: If Metro continued to expand rapidly, the system faced a future of stark choices over maintaining existing infrastructure. Metro chose expansion. We talk to a historian about that decision. We also hear from a former Metro general manager about the following years, and from an Arlington planner about measuring how riders are responding to SafeTrack.

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