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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

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.   

Seminar

Higher Education Seminar Fall 2021
"This Critical Moment" to be explored online Oct. 18-22.

The Education Writers Association is delighted to announce that we will hold our 2021 Higher Education Seminar during the week of Oct. 18-22 as a series of interactive online gatherings on how journalists can cover today’s most pressing issues in education beyond high school. 

Centered on the theme of “This Critical Moment,” the event will offer journalists high-quality, convenient training on issues, including the health challenges confronting campuses, the growing debate over how to teach about racism, and the causes and impact of declining enrollment. 

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EWA Radio

The Real Story Behind Teacher Shortages
How the pandemic is impacting districts already short on highly qualified teachers, and could slow efforts to spend federal pandemic relief dollars earmarked for student programs and services (EWA Radio Episode 278)

Across the country, school districts are grappling with staffing shortages that are making it tough to recover from the disruptions of the COVD-19 pandemic. Matt Barnum, a national reporter at Chalkbeat…

EWA Radio

How Rural Schools Get Left Behind
Journalist Casey Parks shares insights on culturally competent reporting, building trust with sources, and why more reporters should pay attention to rural education. (EWA Radio Episode 277)

Writing for The New York Times Magazine, veteran education journalist Casey Parks takes readers deep inside the struggles of a rural school district in the Mississippi delta that is poised for a state takeover. She also profiles Harvey Ellington, a 16-year-old Black student with big college dreams but few opportunities for advanced learning in his cash-strapped and understaffed high school. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering School Board Meetings? Tips to Tackle the COVID-19, Critical Race Theory Culture Wars
Attending hyper politicized school board meetings in this day and age requires much preparation.

Division over COVID-19 and racial justice is playing out in school board meetings across the country, turning typically sleepy gatherings into politicized and, at times, volatile events.

When meetings turn contentious, reporters need to take care to avoid amplifying misinformation, and provide context on key issues and the board’s authority.

Announcement

EWA Reporting Fellowships: Up to $10,000 for Ambitious News Projects on Education

The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce a call for proposals for its next class of EWA Reporting Fellows, in support of enterprising news coverage of education. The fellowships provide financial awards to journalists to undertake ambitious reporting and writing projects. This will be the 13th class of EWA Reporting Fellows. 

To date, EWA has supported more than 100 projects, resulting in a rich array of high-quality education stories in various media in communities across the country.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Critical Race Theory: Resources and Tips to Debunk Misinformation
How reporters can arm themselves with knowledge to prevent the spread of intentional and unintentional incorrect information.

This story was updated on Sept. 23, 2021. 

After a more than 40-year-old graduate-level, academic research framework became the center of a national culture war that began last year, misinformation and disinformation infiltrated the public sphere, and internet searches increased.

In 2019, Nexis listed a total of 635 news articles mentioning “critical race theory.” Today, the phrase is cited in more than 5,000 pieces a month. And the vast majority of those stories focus on how history and race are taught in schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

All Eyes on Enrollment as K-12 Students Return to School
Pandemic-driven shifts may have lasting repercussions.

Enrollment in K-12 schools, which plunged by 1.5 million students during the first wave of COVID-19, appeared poised to bounce back this fall. But then, the delta variant of COVID-19 raced across the nation, and school districts confronted the possibility of further shutdowns and lost students.  

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Teaching 9/11 Is Changing

For many of us who remember Sept. 11, it’s difficult to process that two full decades have passed since the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Some of those moments remain so clear  – and so painful – that the wounds feel fresh. 

EWA Radio

Home Ec’s ‘Secret History’
New book explores how home economics influenced American life and public education beyond 'stitching and stirring' (EWA Radio Episode 276)

Often overlooked and misunderstood, home economics is about far more than learning to bake cakes or sew lopsided oven mitts, argues education journalist Danielle Dreilinger. She discusses her new book, “The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live.” 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Fund Your Dream Reporting Project
13 organizations will provide financial and editorial support to education journalists.

Editor’s note: This story was updated August 23, 2021.

Here’s some rare good financial news for education journalists: If you have an idea for an ambitious education-related story – and a realistic plan for executing it – a growing number of organizations will provide grants or other resources to support your reporting.

Representatives from several organizations, and some fellowship winners, shared tips and strategies for getting help to make reporting dreams a reality.

Online Learning Will Continue This Fall. What Do Reporters Need to Know?
Webinar

Online Learning Will Continue This Fall. What Do Reporters Need to Know?

Although school districts nationwide are expected to offer full-time, in-person instruction during the 2021-22 academic year, millions of students are poised to stick with online learning, with the number of virtual options growing. This raises a host of important questions for families, communities, and educators.

Watch the Education Writers Association’s timely webinar on remote learning. Experts identified critical questions education reporters should be asking in their local communities and provided some early answers.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

8 Questions to Ask About College Enrollment Numbers
COVID-19 sparked enrollment declines at universities, especially among low-income students.

As students and higher learning institutions prepare for the fall semester, lagging vaccination rates and the rise of the delta variant present unanticipated challenges.

For reporters looking to tell stories about how the ongoing public health crisis is affecting higher education access, enrollment numbers are a good place to start.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Cover COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Bans at Colleges
Learn about the key players, find data, get story ideas and more. 

The fast-spreading COVID-19 Delta variant is forcing rapid changes in colleges’ vaccination plans and requirements. And these changes are encountering backlash from state legislatures and students as they roll out.

Reporters covering the vaccine and its usage among students, faculty and staff at colleges need to provide context on how policies comport with state laws or preemptions, how students and local communities are affected by these decisions, and how to track vaccine mandates’ rollout and potential outbreaks.