Taylor/Tomlin Award for Investigative Journalism honors
Post and Courier series "Failing
education writer for the Post and Courier, has won the 2010
Taylor/Tomlin Award for Investigative Journalism for her series “Failing
ongoing series is about the literacy struggles of students
in the South Carolina Lowcountry. She spent a year observing
the students’ schools, personal lives, and relationships
The series drew attention to the number of high
school students with barely elementary school reading levels.
The newspaper’s reports have contributed to changes
in the way area school districts assess student reading skills,
provide assistance and prevent students from being passed from
grade to grade without addressing the underlying literacy problem.
Lauren Cohen, a senior broadcast journalism
major, reports for Carolina News
The competition judges said:
"The reporter was indefatigable
and her questions led to the uncovering of a serious
issue — that one out of five students going into
ninth grade read at a fifth-grade level. Her dedication
to the issues raised informed the Charleston community
and increased awareness about literacy. Her reporting
inspired a community uprising to make literacy a focus."
"The Post and Courier took the
issue and showed it in all its colors. It was a rare
case of investigative reporting with personality. The
reporting brought something to the floor that was being
ignored. She did a good job of reporting, going into
the classroom and following up with the students for
months and months."
The School of Journalism and Mass Communications
administers the annual competition, and the South Carolina
Press Association coordinates the judging.
“It’s important to recognize the role that in-depth
reporting has on shedding a light on things we often want to
keep hidden,” said Dr. Carol Pardun, director of the
SJMC. “The failure of some of our schools in teaching
students to read is one of those dark shadows we’d often
rather not investigate. But what could be more important? I’m
thankful that we have journalists like Diette who are willing
to dig for the deep story.”
Courrégé graduated in 2003 with a degree in
mass communications from Louisiana State University, where
she was honored as a Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society outstanding
senior. She has won two Education Writers Association National
Awards for Education Reporting. In 2006, she won the Beat Reporting
category second-place prize. In 2008, she won first prize in
Newspapers Under 100,000--Series or Group of Articles for her “Sanders-Clyde
Doug Pardue is Courrégé’s
mentor. He discusses the
significance of her series which began with a story about
Ridge Smith, a 16-year old functionally illiterate
student in Charleston County's public schools.
The Taylor/Tomlin Award for Investigative
Journalism recognizes enterprising, perceptive and beneficial
reporting by journalists whose work is published in a South
Carolina daily or weekly newspaper or wire service. The award
was created in 2005 by South Carolina businessmen Joe E. Taylor
Jr., currently state Secretary of Commerce, and Donald R. Tomlin
Jr. to honor and stimulate the work of investigative journalists.
A $5,000 stipend accompanies the award.