Blog: The Educated Reporter

With Eye Toward Video Journalism, Education Week Acquires ‘Learning Matters’


In a move intended to broaden the breadth and depth of its multimedia reporting, Education Week announced today that it has acquired Learning Matters, the award-winning television production company founded by veteran reporter John Merrow.

“For more than three decades, Education Week has chronicled and analyzed the important shifts underway in education,” said Virginia B. Edwards, the president and editor-in-chief of Editorial Projects in Education, which publishes Education Week, in a statement. “The acquisition of Learning Matters represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to better serve EPE’s existing audiences and to reach new audiences with the nation’s most trusted, authoritative, and balanced news and information on education. Video engages consumers like no other medium, and EPE, through its trusted Education Week brand, is poised to leverage the new dissemination outlet to an ever-increasing audience.”

Learning Matters’ staff will work in partnership with Education Week’s reporters and editors to produce digital content on K-12 policy and practice – including video, audio, and podcasts — as well as continue to produce coverage for the PBS NewsHour. (The exception will be Merrow, who announced his retirement late last month.)

In the 20 years since its inception, Learning Matters has filed hundreds of reports for the PBS NewsHour and produced more than 30 documentaries. Learning Matters has received multiple awards from the Education Writers Association, as well as Emmy nominations, and a George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

“I spent 20 years working with some very talented people at Learning Matters producing compelling education coverage for television,” Merrow said in a statement, “so the thought that it might go away was keeping me up nights. But it was clear to me—and to everyone I asked for advice—that there is only one organization with the expertise, talent, and reputation to continue this work, and that’s EdWeek.”

Kathleen Kennedy Manzo, the managing editor of Education Week, told EWA that she’s looking forward to the synergy that will come from joining forces with Learning Matters’ talented reporters, producers, and editors. Education Week’s reporters have already been regularly contributing audio and video supplements to their stories, and produced video profiles for its Leaders to Learn From series, she noted. Also, the news outlet in 2013 created a documentary as part of a multi-part series on Native American education.

“Our reporters are already on the ground and in the classrooms talking to some of the biggest thinkers in education,” Manzo said. “They’ve done a good job bringing those voices to”

The new partnership will help take those projects to the next level, Manzo said.

“We’re envisioning an aligned integration, so that our (Education Week) reporters will have an opportunity to do more video storytelling and contribute to the broadcast work,” Manzo said. “Folks should stay tuned to see what the combined effort will bring to all the stories and coverage we have about the nation’s schools.”

For more on the announcement, read Mark Walsh’s piece for Education Week.