Blog: The Educated Reporter
School safety is an important part of every education journalist’s beat, as states and districts invest billions in preventative measures, including those intended to stop the next campus shooting.
But how much of those investments are reactions to public perceptions about potential risks rather than grounded in best practices? And what questions should reporters ask when it comes to not just the financial costs but also the potential emotional toll such efforts take on students and staff?
It’s probably every reporter’s worst nightmare: Your co-worker rushes over from the police scanner and blurts out, “Active shooter at Such-and-Such School.”
When that happened to South Florida Sun-Sentinel education reporter Scott Travis on Valentine’s Day 2018, “I headed there hoping more than anything that this was a false alarm,” he told EWA seminar attendees May 6. But he was headed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Can Kansas Keep Its Best Students?
Sunflower State students face realities of 'College Economy'
(EWA Radio: Episode 203)
Kansas, like many states, is pouring millions of dollars into dual-credit programs, technical colleges and other initiatives aimed at preparing more students for the so-called “college economy,” where advanced training is a prerequisite for well-paying jobs. But are those investments paying off? In an eight-part series for the Kansas News Service, reporters Celia Llopis-Jepsen and Stephen Bisaha look at the state’s push to get more students into postsecondary programs, and to keep them from taking their highly desirable skill sets to employers in other states.
Mental health can influence all sorts of basic issues in education, from test scores to attendance and school discipline. Yet it’s a topic that education journalists often overlook.
That was the message of Steve Drummond, education editor and an executive producer at NPR, who moderated the panel, “Mental Health: A Hidden Crisis in Schools?” at this year’s EWA national conference. NPR chronicled the problem in a 2016 package called “A Silent Epidemic; The Mental Health Crisis in Our Schools.”
A School Where Career Training and Academics Go Hand in Hand
Popular magnet prepares youths for jobs in health sciences, plumbing and more
Leonard Ferguson is having the last laugh. A senior at the Western School of Technology and Environmental Science in Catonsville, Maryland, he’s on track to graduate this spring with both a good job and his continuing education paid for.
Many instructors still use traditional-style lectures despite growing scientific evidence that less-passive approaches are more effective in building students’ skills and knowledge. At the Education Writers Association 2019 National Seminar, Harvard professor Eric Mazur demonstrated to journalists how active engagement – both inside and outside the classroom – stimulates higher-order thinking and motivates students to learn.
Reporters can use Facebook to create communities, start conversations, find story tips and sources, and build their individual brands. Lynn Walsh, a veteran reporter, walked journalists through ways to make the most of Facebook at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore
The Criminalization of Black Girls
How biases are influencing discipline and punishment, in school and out
(EWA Radio: Episode 208)
As a teacher and later as a criminal justice reporter, USA Today’s Monica Rhor saw firsthand that black girls were often treated more harshly than their white peers. That awareness drove her determination to investigate the prevalence of the problem. She found stunning examples of how bias among educators and law enforcement drive what researchers call the “adultification” of black girls.
Examples of Americans — from prominent political and college leaders to teenagers – making tone-deaf or racist comments continue to make headlines in 2019. Journalists covering such incidents, or just reporting on people from different backgrounds, also need to be vigilant against committing their own faux pas. Deadline pressure, space constraints and implicit biases or lack of knowledge of other cultures can cause journalists to inadvertently make a hurtful statement.
Four Questions on the Surprise Gift to Morehouse Students
Billionaire Robert Smith's announcement boosts national conversation on college affordability and equity
During his commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta on May 19, private equity investor and billionaire Robert Smith shocked the audience by announcing he was setting up a grant to pay off the class of 2019’s student loans. The news set off a standing ovation, cheers and plenty of tears among the grateful graduates and their families. But it also raises some important questions for education reporters to consider. Here are four to keep in mind.
Governors across the country are pledging to pump billions of dollars into early childhood education – historic investments that could have a far-reaching impact on the lives of young people.
But their success will depend on how well states implement those initiatives and the scope and quality of the programs put in place, advocates said during the Education Writers Association’s annual conference this month. And it will be up to journalists, the speakers said, to hold those states accountable.
Want to tell a gripping tale? Be prepared to be patient — and really listen — when you do the reporting for your story.
That’s what Chalkbeat Chicago education reporter Adeshina Emmanuel said as he spoke to a room full of education reporters in the EWA session “How I Did The Story, K-12,” describing his method for a story about a 16-year-old Chicago student who could not read.