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This week’s edition of the Best of the Week newsletter is highly abbreviated because of the EWA national conference in Los Angeles. 

BEST EDUCATION JOURNALISM OF THE YEAR

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The nation’s education writers met up in Los Angeles this week to learn, network, and find out who would win the Education Writers Association annual journalism awards.

One of the big winners was the Washington Post’s John Woodrow Cox (above), who wrote a compelling series about children and gun violence (and who only knew to submit his work thanks to being contacted by EWA). Image via Emily Richmond.

Other big winners included The Oregonian’s Bethany Barnes, WBEZ’s Linda Lutton, the folks at Chalkbeat, and yours truly (in the Opinion Writing category). Read more about that a couple of sections down.

This is the web archive version of the weekly newsletter, Best of the Week, which comes out on Fridays. Sign up here to get it first. 

#EWA18 CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

Student activist David Hogg surrounded by education journalists at #EWA18

Student activist David Hogg surrounded by education journalists at #EWA18

On Wednesday, the first day of the EWA18 conference in LA, we published 11 panel recommendations & conference tips, focusing on programming that pushes education journalists to reflect on their work and on the information and advocacy they’re experiencing.

Some of the recommended panels I found particularly interesting and helpful were Big Ideas on Equity, Race, and Inclusion in EducationUnderstanding Public School Segregation DataCovering Schools’ Preparation and Response to ShootingsRethinking Student DisciplineTransparency in Journalism, and Covering Race and Diversity in Education.

But the highlight for most of those attending was probably the Thursday morning appearance of four student gun safety advocates and the chance to interview Parkland student David Hogg after the event (depicted above).

Asked about media coverage, Hogg complained about helicopter reporting that made one student protest look “like a riot.” He also told the New York Times’ Erica Green that the school discipline system was a failure, having failed to eliminate disproportional referral rates for nonwhite students.

Want more? EdWeek’s Mark Walsh wrote up some of the major themes and highlights of the conference. Go here to see highlights from my Twitter feed.

This is the web archive version of the weekly newsletter, Best of the Week, which comes out on Fridays. Sign up here to get it first. 

SURPRISE RECOGNITION FOR “THE GRADE”

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A series of columns I wrote on topics — such as media coverage of ESSA, the New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones (above), coverage of Betsy DeVos, and the perils of data visualization — won the EWA contest in the Opinion Writing category.

What a surprise and delight — especially since I’ve been so critical of the EWA awards process.

Thanks to editor Karin Klein, host organization PDK International, and all of those who support this work — including especially education journalists who help make these columns smart and useful. And of course thanks to EWA and the judges.

KICKER: FAKE FOR-PROFIT UNIVERSITY AD

“So Betsy DeVos is stopping the people who are stopping the fraud,” said Noah. “She is like a reverse superhero. You know, flies into a bank robbery to help the robbers.”

This is the web archive version of the weekly newsletter, Best of the Week, which comes out on Fridays. Sign up here to get it first.