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City Paper recognizes Notebook for 'Big Vision'

Photo: Harvey Finkle

Here taking a quick break from all their newsgathering and organizational tasks is the eight-person Notebook staff: (front from left) Allison Budschalow, Wendy Harris, Dale Mezzacappa, and Erika Owens, and (back from left) Benjamin Herold, Paul Socolar, Jason Lozada, and Corey Mark.

The Notebook, now in its 18th year as an award-winning news organization offering in-depth local news, commentary, and dialogue on public education, corralled a new honor in December: It was recognized by Philadelphia City Paper as one of that paper's "Big Vision" winners for 2011. 

The Notebook was named the "Class Act" in the category of journalism and media, and a page was devoted to the honor in the December 15 edition of the local weekly.

In all, seven winners were highlighted for their contributions to Philadelphia in the City Paper's annual Big Vision issue. Besides the Notebook, others recognized included Occupy Philly, the nonprofit group Partners for Sacred Spaces, and newly elected City Commissioners Stephanie Singer and Al Schmidt.

City Paper Editor in Chief Theresa Everline, in her introduction to the edition, wrote that the Notebook's reporters in 2011 were "impressively on top of several major, high-impact education stories … with their reporting even earning kudos from The New York Times."

In her write-up of the Notebook, News Editor Samantha Melamed said that it has "made a name for itself by being the go-to source for major education news. The Notebook has broken stories like widespread cheating on standardized tests, gone in depth on topics like the political demise of former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, and gotten major scoops like the leaked list of schools now slated for closure."

Earlier in 2011, the Notebook received recognition from the national Education Writers' Association for its blog, winning second place in the Community Blogging category.

Notebook editor Paul Socolar said, "The whole team is thrilled. Thanks to our journalist colleagues at the City Paper for this honor!"

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