ICYMI: Goldstein’s winning NYT teacher strike story, rethinking graphic images in gun violence journalism, & best education journalism of the week

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Story snippet Goldstein shared on Twitter

The NYT’s Dana Goldstein seems to have made a grand return this week with her piece on the West Virginia teachers strike and the history behind teacher labor actions: Fighting Poverty, Drugs, and Even Violence, All on a Teacher’s Salary.

“The politics of teacher strikes shift over time, but in every generation, their leaders have forged ties to broader social movements,” notes Goldstein, who elsewhere described the story as a 1200-word version of her book, “The Teacher Wars.”

New York magazine’s Rebecca Traister praised it for situating current events in the history of teacher unionism. Colleague (and awesome compliment-giver) Erica Green quipped, “Yea. It was the jam.”

You can hear more from Goldstein about her reporting via the 100 Days in Appalachia podcast and on WBUR’s On Point.

A big part of the interest in the story has to do with the notion that teachers in other states — OK, AZ, & KY are said to be in the mix — are going to emulate West Virginia. That seems pretty speculative to me, but I understand the appeal of writing to that angle.


With so much education news, and so many great stories being produced, it’s hard to fit them all in!

🏆 Buzzfeed: What It’s Like To Be The Face Of A National Movement
🏆 Miami Herald: How a Republican AP teacher groomed Parkland teens for fight of their lives
🏆 WLRN: A Shooting Survivor And Her Mom’s Up-Close Look At Florida’s ‘Sneaky’ Political Process
🏆 EdSource: Some districts downplaying the National School Walkout, others embrace it
🏆 WRLN: Betsy DeVos, Dwyane Wade Visit (Separately) Stoneman Douglas High

🏆 Times Union: In letter, East Greenbush school shooter praises Florida advocates
🏆 Miami Herald: Could school system have done more?
🏆 Baltimore Sun: These Baltimore students face gun violence in their everyday lives.

🏆 Washington Post: ‘I feel really bad for the Class of 2018’: D.C. students’ graduation may be imperiled
🏆 Washington Post: D.C. mayor called her ousted school chancellor’s action ‘indefensible.’ He says she knew about it for months.

🏆 USA Today: DACA was supposed to end Monday. It didn’t, but DREAMERs remain anxious.
🏆 The Economist: School choice does not work as well as its advocates hope
🏆 WashPost: Exodus from PR grows as island struggles to rebound from Hurricane Maria
🏆 Salt Lake Tribune: While the principal made thousands marketing this school, students’ grades were mediocre
🏆 Voice of San Diego: Tormented by a Student’s Sexual Assault, a Teacher Falls
🏆 NPR: More Than Half Of Transgender Teachers Surveyed Tell NPR They Are Harassed
🏆 Crain’s Detroit: Duggan aims to knit public schools, charters with transportation

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. 


Screengrab of social media from inside Parkland, which many media outlets decided not to share with readers.

For better or worse, explicit images of the Parkland school shooting are out there. Graphic, disturbing crime scene images are among them. Given Florida’s open records law and the nature of the Internet, they are likely to get out. The only question is whether mainstream news outlets will sit on their hands or help readers understand what they’re seeing.

That’s the issue addressed in this week’s column from The Grade, which makes the case that mainstream news outlets need to reconsider their traditional ban on graphic images of injured or dying American. The piece includes a range of viewpoints from several journalists who have written about gun violence, as well as from Poynter and Columbia experts.

Note that there are links to some disturbing visuals but nothing actually presented in the piece itself.


📰 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Thursday was International Women’s Day. The 74 celebrated by profiling Ella Flagg Young, the first female superintendent of a major urban school district in 1909. The NYT celebrated by publishing belated obituaries for women including journalist Ida B. Wells.

📰 WOMEN OF COLOR IN JOURNALISM: The news of the week wasn’t all good for women journalists of color: “People of color make nearly 40% of the U.S. population, and women make up more than half,” noted NPR about a new report. “But women of color make up less than 8% of U.S. print newsrooms and just over 6% of local radio staff.” See more report coverage from the Nieman Lab and Poynter.

“This report, and these numbers, on the status of women of color in journalism, should be an embarrassment to our industry. It likely won’t be, though,” tweetedNikole Hannah Jones. “Unacceptable,” Mónica Rhor commented. “But it’s been unacceptable for decades and nothing has changed.”

📰 INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS, UNITE! NICAR18 has been taking place this week, and at least a few familiar names have been there. They include EdWeek’s Francisco Vara-Orta and Alex Harwin, and WNYC’s former education reporter Beth Fertig. Anyone else? Can we see the deck?

📰 SCHOOLS AND SHOOTERS: The Parkland shooting raises questions about the role of schools in dealing with students who may pose a threat to campus safety. Suspend them, support them, refer them to law enforcement, place them in alternative settings? EWA has a piece about several of these issues worth checking out.

📰 POOR NYC REPORTERS: It’s been a rough two weeks for NYC education reporters trying to keep up with events without getting out in front of them. First, Alberto Carvalho turned out not to be leaving Miami. (Only after the fact did we find out that he’d backed out of previous job offer and that those who’d covered him weren’t surprised he backed out.)  Now — after everyone wrote their initial stories — it’s being reported that his replacement nominee, Houston’s Richard Carranza, has #metoo allegations against him from his stint in San Francisco. Oops! According to Chalkbeat, City Hall knew about the allegations but is dismissing them as false.

📰 CHALKBEAT AT SXSW: With a whopping seven staffers in attendance, Chalkbeat was all in at this year’s SXEDU. A major focus was Chalkbeat’s Great American Teach-Off, which co-founder Elizabeth Green says was born out of her 2015 keynote at the conference. It’s an impressive accomplishment, especially given the costs of implementing the Teach-Off and that Chalkbeat wasn’t a media sponsor. “We had an amazing experience that also leaves us with a bunch of ideas for next year,” said Green.

📰 RAZZIES… FOR EDUCATION JOURNALISM: Last weekend’s Razzies — the annual awards for the worst movies of the year that are given out on Oscar weekend — is a good reminder that, the 2nd Annual Edu-Razzies: Worst Education Journalism Of The Year are coming out later this year. Check out last year’s version. This is a list you do not want to be on.


🔥Spotted at SXSWEDU: It was fun seeing Chalkbeat’s Elizabeth Green moderating a panel with Steve Perry and Robert Enlow, and also seeing NBC’s Rehema Ellis moderating a panel with Howard Fuller, Chris Stewart, and Margaret Fortune. I missed Rebecca Klein’s panel with Eric Waldo and kept narrowly missing EdSurge’s Ton Wan, but I got to see EdWeek’s Sean Cavanaugh heading an ESSA panel with David DeSchryver. Jessica Lahey and I finally met in real life. And EdSurge’s Jenny Abamu and I got to chat for a few minutes as well. It’s always great to see and meet education reporters.

🔥BBC Scotland asked WLRN reporter Jessica Bakeman to participate in their series of “reporter’s notebook” reflections. She wrote an essay about what it has been like to cover the Parkland shooting. You can hear it here.

🔥Former Slate education columnist Laura Moser made it through the primaries and is advancing to the runoff — despite (or is it because of?) the meddling of the DCCC. Read all about it in Vox.

🔥Over at Vox, Albert Chang clapped back against several folks (including colleague/boss Matt Yglesias) about school segregation trends. The data proves that school segregation is getting worse, says Chang.  To see some interesting discussion among Chang, Chait, Yglesias, and VerBruggen, go here.

🔥U.S. News & World Report is shutting down its opinion section — good riddance, I say — and pushing beat reporters like Lauren Camera away toward more real-world coverage, according to this Erik Wemple writeup of a recent announcement. Very exciting. Wish more outlets would do the same.

🔥Politico’s Eliza Shapiro says she’s “pretty confident I’m the only education reporter in NYC who actually took the specialized high school test as a kid. Months of $$ test prep, went to an honors middle school w/ fellow UWS white kids. Didn’t get into any of the schools! That test is hard.”

🔥It gave me great pleasure to Twitter-introduce Michael Hobbes and William Brennan , each of whom has written about the 1996 “Ebonics” panic and recent reconsideration of what some still  call “Black English.” Brennan’s Atlantic piece is here. Hobbes’ HuffPost Highline video and essay are here. Read their Twitter exchange here.


⏰ On Monday, the Ford Foundation hosted an event focused on journalism and media diversity featuring Farai Chideya, Jelani Cobb, Jon Funabiki, Martina Guzmán, Jenny Lee, Ed Lewis, Marie Nelson, Bill Plante, Richard Prince, Kevin Ryan, and Jerome Vaughn.

⏰ Entries closing out TODAY: If your U.S.-based news organization published or broadcast work during 2017 advancing the public’s right-to-know, the Brechner Award carries a $3,000 cash award. 

⏰ Last week’s Newseum event on media and diversity (featuring Richard Prince, EdWeek’s Francisco Vara-Orta, and the WashPost’s Tracy Jan) is going to be posted online here by Monday, I’m told.

⏰ The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism is holding a webinar on covering gun violence. It will be from 1-2 p.m. (Eastern) on March 13.

⏰ An hour later on the same day, the Education Writers Association is hosting a webinar with reporter Kate McGee of WAMU and her editor Acacia Squires of NPR Education, “How Careful Data Analysis, Shoe-Leather Reporting Exposed Inflated Graduation Rates.”

⏰ The Ida B. Wells Society and National Association of Hispanic Journalists have partnered to bring their first dual language investigative boot camp to Miami March 16-17. Journalists of color can apply to take the trainings in Spanish or in English.

⏰ Love local news? You have until March 30th to apply to the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund.

⏰ Have you heard about the Pineapple media Fellowship for Underrepresented Voices in Podcasting? The fellowship is a full-time, producer-in-residence positionthat pays $3,000 a month and provides weekly mentorship meetings and introductions to people in the audio world. A heads up: The deadline, April 15, 2018, is right before Tax Day, so get your information in early.


Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.57.18 AM

A Philando Castile charity wiped out school lunch debt in his old district, reportedMother Jones: “Thousands of school kids in Minnesota can now eat school lunches without incurring more debt, thanks to Philando Castile,” write MoJo’s Jamilah King.

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. 

ALEXANDER RUSSO (@alexanderrusso) is editor of The Grade.

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