Why Reporters Should Cover Middle School
Learning about the middle school years will help journalists better cover youth learning and brain development.

Although middle school is often treated as just a way station between elementary and high school, there’s much more to the story. In fact, the middle school years are a time of profound change for young people – physically, emotionally, and intellectually. These years are a crucial time for learning and brain development, a reality that is often overlooked or misconstrued. 

So how can reporters better cover the middle grades? What should journalists understand so they can tell engaging stories about this pivotal stage of development with nuance and empathy? 

Get the answers to these and other important questions in EWA’s webinar. Experts and educators offer practical advice and fresh insights. They also offer perspective on the challenges facing school districts that are actively trying to change the middle school paradigm, including efforts to incorporate project-based learning and social and emotional learning in a systematic way.

In addition, the presenters offer story ideas on aspects of middle school journalists rarely report, including lack of resources compared to other grade levels and why engagement in school rapidly wanes at this age. 


  • Nancy Deutsch, professor and director of Youth-Nex, University of Virginia
  • Tanya Thompson, Reimagining Middle Grades project coordinator, Broward County Public Schools (Florida)
  • Kelly Field, freelance journalist (moderator)

(This webinar was presented May 10, 2022.)

Why Reporters Should Cover Middle School