2024 Alumni in the Media Honoree

Investigative Reporter/Data, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Dylan Purcell earned a journalism degree from Temple University in 2000. He was already working as an editorial assistant at the Philadelphia Inquirer when he graduated from Temple.  

His path at the paper wound from clerk to IT to editorial database analyst and, eventually to a reporter on the paper’s investigative team.   

Purcell was a reporter on the team that won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for administrative mismanagement that led to widespread school violence in the city’s public schools. Purcell’s other work helped expose how city police officers who shot at moving vehicles received only light punishment, despite millions paid out by the city to the victims or their survivors. He also helped uncover widespread cheating on public school state proficiency tests.  

More recently, he was a member of the team on Toxic City: Sick Schools, an investigation that uncovered invisible environmental hazards inside Philadelphia’s public schools. The series was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting.  

Purcell, another reporter and a photographer, were recipients of the 2020 Hillman Prize for The Probation Trap, an in-depth examination of the city’s criminal justice system’s reliance on lengthy probation. Purcell was also a reporter on the team named a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for Under Fire, a detailed look into the traumatic impacts of gun violence, particularly on communities of color.  

He lives in the area with his wife, Amy – whom he met at the bus stop when they both attended Owen J. Roberts High in Bucktown, Pa., but reconnected with at Temple – and their two teenage children.