The 6 most-read columns of 2018 (so far) – plus a bonus recommendation

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The Grade is taking the week off for the July 4 holiday, so there’s no new column or Friday newsletter. But you should check out this year’s most-read columns from The Grade so far in 2018, in case you missed any:

Misleading coverage of school shootings in 2018
“Gunfire ringing out in American schools… seems to happen all the time,” stated a New York Times piece. But that’s not what’s really happening in schools, according to experts and government data sources. And this approach to covering school gun violence generates inflated fears among readers and discredits professional news.

2 education reporters … for a metro region of nearly 8 million people
Education is vital to the health of the technology-rich San Francisco Bay Area, a nine-county region that includes nearly a quarter of California’s public schools. Yet education reporting has been downsized in the Bay Area as much as any other metro area in the country [Note: Sharon Noguchi now works for Chalkbeat.]

How the Washington Post missed the DC schools graduation rate scandal so badly, for so long
This failure to catch and report what was going on inside DC schools is a serious disservice to local parents, an illustration of how hard it can be for reporters to penetrate dense bureaucracies like DCPS, and an example of how relentless turnover on an important beat can result in missed opportunities. Most of all, it’s a substantial journalistic failure by a news outlet that should — and could — be doing much better work.

Favorite education bylines, teams, and outlets for Spring 2018
One of the great pleasures of producing The Grade is having the chance to find, read, and share some of the great reporting being done on education. Here are some current favorite education reporters, teams and outlets that I’m hoping might inform, amuse, and perhaps inspire you as they do me.

Worst education journalism of the 2017-2018 school year
I love reading education stories. And I firmly believe that how journalists cover education issues matters greatly to teachers, parents, and policymakers. That makes it all the more frustrating when bad education journalism gets out, as it too often does. Low-quality education journalism has the potential to do real damage.

11 essential books for education reporters in 2018
What’s the one book that every education reporter should read in 2018? The Grade posed that question to some of the top reporters in the field. The 11 books they recommended include an array of historical context for issues arising in schools today, such as segregation, testing, and school funding. Many are also recommended as examples of stellar reporting, moving prose, vivid characters and compelling stories.

BONUS: There’s also an impressive piece about journalism from Amanda Ripley that’s well worth reading right now, called Complicating the Narratives.  It addresses the tendency in journalism to boil things down to a simple storyline focusing on conflict — and what reporters and editors might do to make coverage more complex and nuanced (ie, more like real life).

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

One Comment

  • Caroline Grannan

    The Joanne Jacobs piece was an ethical fail. The push to cover the achievement gap in San Francisco — and shame journalists if they didn’t write about it on command — comes from the Walton-funded Astroturf operation called Innovate Public Schools, which is working in San Francisco to make the district more charter-friendly. Jacobs acknowledges that she has been paid by Innovate. That’s not ethical or acceptable journalism (disclosure or no disclosure). (And Jacobs went all “best defense is good offense” and attacked me in the comments section when I called that out, apparently personally blaming me for the achievement gap.)

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