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People & Places

Best News Reporter 

Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer

P.O.D.! The Plain Dealer’s education reporter has knocked the socks off every journalist statewide; they’re trying to keep up with him as he uncovers the education morass in Ohio. And while readers mostly don’t know or care about the names in the bylines, it’s a different story when they’re seeking out news on their kids’ education. O’Donnell has guided Clevelanders through the data-rigging by state superintendent Richard Ross of low-performing online charter schools. He’s also kept CMSD CEO Eric Gordon on his toes, reporting on the botched collection of E-rate rebates. He’s a crisp, prolific writer and a dogged reporter. And, much like the PD’s Brie Zeltner and Rachel Dissell, who reported on lead poisoning, and Michelle Jarboe, who reports on real estate, O’Donnell represents the value of hard-hitting, in-depth beat reporting, even in the face of digital restructuring at

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October 20, 2021

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