Too Much High School, Too Little Good News, Higher Ed Fight, and More (Media Coverage)

Too Much High School - Not Enough Depth? For the second week in a row at least, high schools dominated education news coverage, raising questions about the relationship between the amount of coverage being given compared to the amount of action actually taking place. At one point during the week, Google News generated over 450 (mostly superficial) stories on the high school “crisis” and its possible remedies.

It’s an important issue and a newsworthy effort -- but should we be covering it so enthusiastically and credulously? For a look at what it really might take to revamp high schools (and how much it might cost), take a look at the plan outlined by The National Association of Secondary School Principals. Or, take a look at the few pieces this week that seem to go beyond the surface or take a different angle: A new read on teen literacy (US News and World Report), Revisiting 'small schools': Some North Eugene staff members have ... (Register-Guard), Education reform meets the gatekeepers of mediocrity (Seattle Times).

Too Little Good News? If high school reform is getting mostly superficial coverage (and too much of it), then school success stories -- especially those related to NCLB -- still seem to be getting much too little, for reasons that I've speculated about in the past. But there are a few pieces that buck that trend this week, showing that it can be done -- and that it may be happening in schools under reporters' and editors' noses: Eight area schools get honors for meeting AYP (Daily Press), Brookview celebrates its victories (AJC), Schools work hard to improve AYP marks (Portales News-Tribune), Two schools recognized for achievement (Cherokee County Herald), WO-C meets NCLB targets (Orange Leader), and Ore. schools honored for closing gap (Oregonian).

Is Higher Education Big Enough For Both? There’s apparently no love lost between the Chronicle of Higher Education and its new rival, Insidehighereducation.com, which is being headed by former Chronicle staffers and recently got favorable coverage from the NYT: New website for academics roils higher education journalism (NYT). Will the new guys do any of their own reporting and analysis? How did they get such great coverage in the Times? Will the competition make higher education coverage better?

03/08 APOLOGIES : I got the name of the new higher education site wrong: it's insidehighered.com

Out of Sequence at the Tribune: Last but not least, what's going on with the Chicago Tribune's education coverage? On Tuesday, the editorial page ran a great piece about Renaissance 2010 that reported several things that had not previously been covered by the paper’s beat reporters, some of whom are among the best in the business.

This wasn't the first time it’s happened at the paper. The editorial page ran a piece that included new reporting about unfilled preschool slots a few months ago. Most papers do it the other way around, giving beat reporters first crack at stories and then mopping up with an editorial. Is the editorial page "bigfooting" the beat reporters, or is something else going on?

Best of the Rest:

The Best Education Writing of the Year -- Sort Of (TWIE)


Blogger sbanch said...

In response to “Out of Sequence at the Tribune,” I’d like to offer the following comment:
The Tribune editorial board is lucky enough to have Cornelia Grumman writing about local, state and national education issues. Grumman - a Pulitzer Prize winner for her series on death penalty reform - is a seasoned reporter who doesn’t just pontificate about what she reads on the news pages. Rather, she does her own reporting.
A good editorial page would not serve as “mop up” as you suggest. Instead, a good editorial page is filled with comments that are both well reasoned and exhaustively reported.
As an education reporter at the Tribune, I don’t consider that I am being "big-footed," as you suggest, when education news appears in an editorial and not on the news pages first. Rather, I believe it shows the strength of both side of the paper.

Stephanie Banchero
Education Reporter
Chicago Tribune

1:48 PM  

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