EdMedia Commons Archive

The more things change….

While doing research on the history of education reporting, I came across a 1966 article called
“Newsmen and Schoolmen: The state and Problems of Education Reporting.”

The article, which was written by George Gerbner, former dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, is available here:

 http://www.asc.upenn.edu/gerbner/Asset.aspx?assetID=321

It lays out the issues faced by education reporters half a century ago. Many of the problems described rang familiar to me: Reporters complained that school personnel were secretive, that they hid behind jargon and that they flooded the newsroom with press releases full of “junk news” while neglecting newsworthy stories. A common complaint from school personnel could have been made this morning: “Your paper never gives us any publicity about the worthwhile things we do but jumps on every little controversy and blows it up into a big deal.”

Other issues were more specific to a certain place and time. For instance, one reporter “claimed  that  he resigned from a Texas newspaper after the publisher decided to suppress advance news of a school  integration in order to assure a more orderly transition.” 

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the article. What about education reporting has changed? What has remained the same?


This post originally appeared on EWA’s now-defunct online community, EdMedia Commons. Old content from EMC will appear in the Ed Beat archives.