Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Cover the Fight Against COVID-19 on Campus
Tips and story ideas for reporters covering mask and vaccine minefields on campus

Universities are a “microcosm” of society, so the same fraught debates happening in society over mask and vaccine mandates are happening on college campuses, too, according to Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick.

Frederick shared this insight during a virtual panel at the Education Writers Association’s 2021 Higher Education Seminar on Oct. 19. Moderated by Francie Diep with The Chronicle of Higher Education, three university officials discussed the legal, political and health care forces at work in the fight against COVID-19 on campus.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Member Spotlight: Educator Turned Journalist Takes on the Race Beat at Vox
Fabiola Cineas’ background as a teacher and education journalist helps her thrive in one of the newest - and most important - beats in journalism.

Less than 3% of journalists are Black women, according to the American Society of News Editors’ 2019 Newsroom Diversity Survey. An even tinier percentage of journalists have public school teaching experience. And on top of that remarkable history, Fabiola Cineas is a pioneer in a new beat.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

5 Tips for Reporting on Student Loan Debt After the Pandemic Pause
Get advice and ideas to localize stories that go beyond covering federal student loans.

The planned early 2022 restart of federal student loan payments will renew the nation’s attention to the approximately 42 million Americans who owe an estimated $1.6 trillion in education debt.

Reporters can find fresh angles and new information to help borrowers by pursuing accountability stories, and by paying particular attention to debt repayment, forgiveness and collections of overdue balances, three veteran reporters said at the Education Writers Association’s 2021 Higher Education Seminar.


Entries Are Open for the 2021 National Awards for Education Reporting
Journalists Working in All Media Invited to Compete

The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce the launch of the 2021 National Awards for Education Reporting. Journalists may submit entries  from Nov. 15, 2021, through Jan. 10, 2022.

Journalists who published work in 2021 on any education topic in any medium are encouraged to enter EWA’s annual journalism contest, which honors the best of education reporting across all news media. The awards program offers a total of 20 prizes, with cash awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How to Put the HBCU Story in Context
Journalists share strategies for reporting on the chronic underfunding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

If the disparity in underfunding Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) could be told through two schools, consider Texas Southern University (TSU) and the University of Houston (UH). Both started around the same time with similar missions, serving populations with similar economic backgrounds. The colleges were even located across the street from each other.


2022 New to the Beat Program

Do you have fewer than two years’ experience covering education? Need extra support and guidance from a veteran of the education beat (and from EWA)? 

Apply to join New to the Beat. Now in its sixth year, this popular EWA program offers a unique opportunity to sharpen your skills, connect with peers, and develop your knowledge of the essentials of K-12 and higher education.

Each participant is paired with a skilled mentor who brings extensive experience covering education. The program kicks off with a two-day workshop on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (EWA offers travel scholarships to cover the cost of airfare and hotel.) 

Rookies will also be expected to participate in EWA’s 75th National Seminar, to be held in July 2022 in Orlando, Florida.  

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Attendance at the in-person training is required.

The January event will cover beat basics like making the most of open records and how to find and use education research, plus provide a crash course in navigating education policy and politics. Participants will also learn how to use key federal databases, and how to take their writing and interviewing skills to the next level.

The mentorship program lasts six months. You will be required to produce a substantive piece of reporting that reflects your participation in the program, and we need your editor to approve your participation. Both K-12 and higher education reporters are encouraged to apply. (Do you cover preschool or a combination of education beats? We’d love to hear from you.)

In addition to the mentorship and additional support from EWA’s public editor, participants will benefit from specialized programming, webinars, and resources geared to their needs.

Questions? Start with the FAQ, which will also direct you to the online application portal.  

If you have additional questions, email EWA Public Editor Emily Richmond

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Navigating Politicized Arguments Over Academic Freedom? Lessons for Reporters
Journalists offer tips on tackling challenges to academic freedom while weighing facts and misinformation

Topics like “viewpoint diversity” and “critical race theory” have become controversial touchstones in higher education, primarily stemming from a September 2020 Trump administration executive order banning “divisive concepts” in diversity training.

EWA Radio

What Happened to $190 Billion in School COVID-19 Funds? 
New investigation raises questions on spending priorities of local districts  and whether states are prepared to effectively track the federal aid (EWA Radio Episode 280)

Reporter Annie Waldman and Reporting Fellow Bianca Fortis dug into the data from 16,000 provisional reports from state agencies and determined half the money was spent on programs, services or goods categorized as “other,” meaning no specifics are readily available.

How COVID-19, Climate Change and Other Crises Are Changing Science Instruction

How COVID-19, Climate Change and Other Crises Are Changing Science Instruction

Oftentimes, science is seen as taking a back seat in K-12 education, especially at the elementary level. Learn how current events are reinvigorating the teaching of science and how educators are leveraging phenomena, such as climate change and COVID-19, to answer pressing questions that students have. Along the way, these efforts are seeking to engage young people in deeper learning in the discipline.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Top Higher Education Stories Reporters Should Cover in 2022
The pandemic’s effects will continue to shape future coverage, policies and institutions.

From COVID-19 relief funding to massive endowments, money – which institutions have it, which don’t and how it is spent – will be key themes in higher education stories over the next year.

That’s the prediction Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik gave during his session on “The Top 10 Higher Education Stories You’ll Be Covering This Year” at the Education Writers Association’s Higher Education Seminar in October.           

logo image for EWA Diving Into Data seminar

Diving into Data Workshop 2021

The ability to use data effectively is key to powerful reporting on education issues, such as COVID-19 cases in schools and student loan defaults. Ready to take your data skills and savvy to a new level? The Education Writers Association is here to help.

Apply now for the next Diving into Data Workshop. The online training will be delivered Dec. 2-3 and Dec. 9-10 in four half-day sessions from noon to 5 p.m. Eastern.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Reporting on Biden’s Higher Education Policies in a Divisive Era
Tips for covering state and federal policies, enrollment declines, campus challenges and more

University leaders hope to take advantage of a potentially historic influx of federal funding, re-engage students who left during the pandemic and stave off longer-term enrollment drops. 

They face these challenges amid bitter fights over mask and vaccine mandates, and political polarization over affirmative action, freedom of speech and allegations of “cancel culture.” 

Learning in Quarantine: What Reporters Need to Know

Learning in Quarantine: What Reporters Need to Know

School leaders are scrambling, yet again, during the third academic year since the pandemic began disrupting education in spring 2020. Under pressure to keep schools open and close learning gaps, they must still provide instruction to students quarantined at home due to COVID-19 exposure.  

How is it going so far? What are the biggest challenges, and how are they being addressed? To get answers to these and other questions, watch the Education Writers Association’s webinar. 

Screenshot of School Board Meeting
EWA Radio

When School Board Meetings Become Battlegrounds
COVID-19 safety protocols, critical race theory fuel disputes over local control and education policy (EWA Radio Episode 279)

Across the nation, school boards find themselves on  the front lines for debates over COVID-19 mask mandates and teaching about racism. Heated exchanges during public comment periods have expanded to public protests, threats of violence, and a surge in conservative slates of candidates running for school board seats…

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Academic Freedom: The Basics

What is academic freedom?

Generally, it’s the concept that professors, in the pursuit of knowledge, should be free to take their inquiries wherever they deem necessary without fearing retaliation, and that the success and health of the academy rests on that freedom.


Agenda for EWA’s 2021 Higher Education Seminar
October 18-22, 2021

Higher education journalists face a torrent of news this fall, as the fallout from COVID-19 poses unprecedented academic, health, and enrollment challenges to colleges. Meanwhile, the country’s racial reckoning and intense political polarization are roiling campuses debating  decisions on campus police, faculty diversity, and the teaching of sensitive subjects.