For the third consecutive year, the Dallas Observer has been named a winner of the national Benjamin Fine Award for Outstanding Education Reporting. Observer Editor Julie Lyons won in the editorial writing category for her November 27, 1998, column "Bad boys," about the election runoff between DISD board candidates Don Venable and Jesse Diaz.
The Benjamin Fine Awards are sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. This year's grand-prize winner was a series in the Cape Cod Times titled "Attention Deficit: A Very Real Disorder Affecting Our Children."
Other winners this year included the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and the Observer's sister newspaper, the Houston Press.
Lyons' column summed up the race between controversial candidates Venable and Diaz as follows: "Some choice: baloney on white, or baloney on wheat." Venable won the runoff, but later resigned his position as trustee because of health problems and frustration with board politics.
The Observer won a Benjamin Fine award in 1998 for staff writer Miriam Rozen's investigative story on former DISD Superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez, "See Yvonne. See Yvonne run. See Yvonne run from the truth."
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In 1997, staff writer Thomas Korosec and former staff writer Kaylois Henry picked up separate awards for their education reporting.