PITTSBURGH – A CNHI-Pennsylvania project won a first-place honor at The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania’s 2019 Golden Quill awards.

“Merging Schools of Thought” – a multi-part CNHI Pa. News collaborative series on the idea of consolidating Pennsylvania public schools – won first place for “Excellence in Written Journalism” in the Education category.

Reporters John Finnerty and David Hurst were lead writers for the project, which was a joint effort involving reporters from eight newsrooms: The Tribune-Democrat, The (Sharon) Herald, The (Sunbury) Daily Item, the New Castle News and The Meadville Tribune in Pennsylvania; and The Times-News of Cumberland, Md., and The Star Beacon of Ashtabula, Ohio.

Two Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stories – one about the impact declining school revenues are having on Greene County school districts, and the other about absentee school board members – were other finalists in the category.

The Golden Quill Awards recognize professional excellence in written, photographic, illustration, broadcast and online journalism in the western half of Pennsylvania and nearby parts of Ohio and West Virginia.

Winners were announced during a ceremony Wednesday at Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.