NPF Names El Paso Times' Moore Editor Of Year
The National Press Foundation has named El Paso (Texas) Times Editor Robert Moore the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year for leading the investigative reporting that uncovered a cheating scandal involving the El Paso Independent School District.
From 2011 to 2013, Moore and a team of El Paso Times reporters have documented a cheating scheme that kept Mexican immigrants and other students out of the school district’s testing pool to artificially raise scores. The Times also uncovered systemic failures that caused the Texas Education Agency to miss the cheating. As the Times reporters documented the scandal, Moore wrote a series of editorials that became a roadmap for reform.
Moore called the award an honor that reflects the work of a team of journalists who spent more than two years pursuing this story.
“Reporter Zahira Torres pushed hard for months and months to document what had happened, and how it affected students. Other reporters like Hayley Kappes, Andrew Kreighbaum and Alex Hinojosa have been dogged and persistent in telling an incredibly important story for our community,” Moore said in a statement. “That work paved the way for needed reforms that will improve education for children in El Paso and throughout Texas. Their efforts reflect the highest purpose of journalism in a free society.”
The Times’ coverage forced the state to remove the El Paso school board, saying the board had lost public trust, and also led to criminal charges and jail time for one superintendent as well as the resignation of multiple school administrators.
“The judges were impressed by Robert Moore’s commitment to the years-long investigation by the El Paso Times that ultimately sent people to jail and reformed a corrupt education system. As editor, Moore directed the work of the lead journalists, committed resources to the story, and used the power of his editorial voice in the best tradition of American newspapers,” stated the National Press Foundation’s Selection Committee.
“As a testament to Bob’s leadership he will always praise the work of the team of journalists. Bob will credit their work, their skills and their desire to follow the story but it takes an exceptional editor — one who understands how to cultivate talent, one who leads and one who is dedicated to the pursuit of truth — to do this work,” Jim Brady, editor in chief of Times’ parent Digital First Media. “This is a well-deserved honor for Bob that I know he will share with his team.”
The school district reporting has also earned Moore the 2013 Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership from the American Society of News Editors and recognition as Opinion Journalist of the Year by the Association of Opinion Journalists. He and Torres also received Texas’ most prestigious honor for advocacy of open government, the James Madison Award from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
This is the second straight year a Digital First Media editor has been awarded the Editor of the Year award. The Denver Post’s Gregory Moore received the honor in 2012 for leading coverage of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting.