Three Open Campus reporters have been named Education Writers Association finalists for beat reporting.

Charlotte West, an Open Campus staff reporter, was recognized for her coverage of higher education in prisons. The judges described her work as “an impressive package of articles about a topic that is not covered enough by education reporters.”

Kate McGee of the Texas Tribune and Molly Minta of Mississippi Today, both members of the growing Open Campus Local Network, were honored in the small newsroom category. Open Campus local reporters are employed by their newsroom and receive additional coaching and support from our team of subject-matter experts.

The awards recognize the country’s best education journalism. West, McGee, and Minta were selected from a pool of 440 entries.

West has covered the role of technology in prison education, the burden of student debt upon re-entry, and the return of Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated people after a 30-year ban. She also writes a biweekly newsletter that reaches incarcerated students.

McGee has regularly covered the influence of state politics on university campuses. Her reporting on Texas A&M’s botched hiring of a veteran Black journalist led to the resignation of the university’s president. She has also covered the impact of the state’s attacks on tenure and its ban on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. McGee was named a finalist for the award in 2022 and 2023.

“Using public record requests, gaining the trust of sources and dogged reporting, she was able to point out how the heavy hand of [the] state government was pressing on higher education in ways that could (and in some cases did) cause irreparable harm to the institutions in the system,” the judges said.

Minta’s reporting uncovered secrecy and unfairness in Mississippi’s education system. She used public records requests to shed light on the state governing board’s decisionmaking and broke news of private efforts to overhaul state financial aid. Her work was highlighted by judges for its “doggedness in the reporting and pursuit of confidential documents.” In 2022, Minta was a finalist in the feature writing category.

EWA announced its finalists on April 3. The winners will be named on May 30 at the EWA annual conference.

About Open Campus

Founded in 2019, Open Campus is the only nonprofit news organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to higher education. It’s built on an innovative collaborative model, combining a national newsroom that knows higher ed deeply with local newsrooms that know their communities deeply. Open Campus has put local reporters on the higher-ed beat in partnerships with 14 newsrooms around the country. Learn more about our model