We’re thrilled to say that, in its debut year, Why Don’t We Know walked away with top honors in the annual Educational Writers Association national journalism awards. 

Our podcast was recognized with first place in the Public Service category, which according to the EWA, “recognizes journalism that makes a substantive contribution to the public’s understanding of critical issues of common concern and/or makes a demonstrable positive impact on individuals or a community.”  

The award specifically recognized the podcast’s coverage of the lockdown secrecy surrounding Title IX sexual misconduct investigations in higher education, which are so obsessively secretive that some complainants have even been denied access to records about their own cases. One EWA judge called the series a “deeply reported, compelling account that lays bare how universities have manipulated federal law to cover up student and staff wrongdoing — and protect the institutions’ reputations.”

The EWA is a nationwide nonprofit organization run by a board of journalism professionals that, for more than 70 years, has supported high-quality coverage of K-12 and higher education through trainings, awards, and community-building. 

Host Sara Ganim, executive producer Frank LoMonte, and staffers Tori Whidden, Camille Respess, Amy Fu, James Sullivan, Daniel Townsend, Gabriella Paul, Marianna Faiello were named as recipients of the award, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize.

Other finalists in the category were Ann Schimke of Chalkbeat Colorado for her story, “Reading Curriculum in Colorado Schools,” and a collaborative of Chalkbeat Chicago, Block Club Chicago and DataMade, for their series, “Demystifying Chicago’s Local School Councils.”