Friday, May 13, 2016

The Golden Age of Education Reporting? | The Merrow Report

The Golden Age of Education Reporting? | The Merrow Report:
The Golden Age of Education Reporting?

Education reporting has never been better than it is right now.  That said, there’s room for improvement.  That’s the conclusion I have come to after 41 years on the beat and after attending the annual meeting of the Education Writers Association in Boston last weekend.
When I got into the game in 1974, EWA was gasping for breath.  When I joined its Board in the late 70’s, I discovered that the executive director kept the organization’s financial records in a shoe box; moreover, there was no annual budget, just some numbers scribbled on a legal pad.  The education beat itself was, for most reporters, a way station, a stepping stone to something with prestige.  Only a handful of reporters like Mike Bowler, Anne Lewis, Ron Moskowitz and Fred Hechinger made a career out of reporting about schools.
When Lisa Walker became Executive Director of EWA, she and a revitalized Board brought EWA into the big leagues. Under current Executive Director Carolyn Hendrie, the organization now stands alone as a model–and the education beat has become a beacon for reporters assigned to cover other issues. The EWA’s powerful ‘listserve’ allows reporters to stay connected and share insights and, when appropriate, sources.  
National coverage is strong: Chalkbeat (now in 4 states and expanding), The Hechinger ReportPro Publica and Politico Education are providing outstanding national and local coverage. NPR (National Public Radio) has a strong education team, as does the PBS NewsHour (the latter team includes my former colleagues at Learning Matters).  Although Education Week is a trade publication, it remains a “must read” for anyone interested in the both the big picture and the weeds of the business.  (One of my regrets is that when we negotiated the merger into Ed Week, I did not ask for a lifetime subscription!)  There are more interesting education blogs than I could begin to count, and that’s a good thing.

Big Education Ape: Invisible: 1.4 Percent Coverage for Education is Not Enough - Brookings Institution

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