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Jessica Bakeman

Education reporter

Jessica Bakeman reports on K-12 and higher education for WLRN, South Florida's NPR affiliate. She is an investigative journalist who has also covered education policymaking and politics in three state capitals: Tallahassee, Fla.; Albany, N.Y.; and Jackson, Miss.

Bakeman is the reporter and producer behind WLRN's 2019 audio documentary and investigative series, "Chartered: Florida's First Private Takeover Of A Public School System," which earned a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for news documentary and an honorable mention for the inaugural Esserman-Knight Journalism Prize. She also played a leading role in WLRN's coverage of the aftermath of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Bakeman was awarded the 2020 Journalist of the Year award from the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She also won national first-place awards for audio storytelling in 2019 and education beat reporting in 2018 from the Education Writers Association. Other honors include a Salute to Excellence award from the National Association of Black Journalists and a Journalism Award of Excellence from the American College of Emergency Physicians, both for work in 2018.

Previously, Bakeman helped establish POLITICO's national network of state capital coverage, serving as an original member of the company's bureaus in both Albany and Tallahassee. She also covered New York state politics for The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Bakeman is the past president of the Capitol Press Club of Florida, a nonprofit organization that raises money for college scholarships benefiting journalism students. Also, she twice chaired a planning committee for the New York State Legislative Correspondents Association's annual political satire show, the oldest of its kind in the country.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English literature from SUNY Plattsburgh, a public liberal arts college in northeastern New York. She proudly hails from Rochester, N.Y.

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