The Boston Globe’s new, expanded education team is now complete: The first story out of the gate is this piece about a Boston teacher’s attempt to get to know his Haitian students by traveling to their home country. The new team includes Jeremy Fox (covering education since April), James Vaznis (who’s been on the beat for a while), Laura Krantz on higher ed, and Roy Greene editing. [
Find them on Twitter: @JeremyCFox @GlobeVaznis @laurakrantz @roygreene
But it’s not just an expanded team — it’s also a different approach. According to the explainer page Learning Curve includes “a year-long look at promising practices” and “explore potential solutions”
Yep, it’s another Solutions Journalism Network effort. This one’s funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation in Quincy. But the paper is quick to reassure readers about who’s in control: “The Globe will maintain complete editorial control over story selection, reporting, and editing.â€‹”
In a separate Q&A, the paper explains “The Globe hopes that this journalism will engage readers and school constituents in very different ways on education issues, prompting more constructive and less divisive public discourse.” The paper also tells readers that the grant is for $250,000 ($170K to the paper, $80K to SJN).
The paper notes that other outlets including NPR and The Guardian (and the Seattle Times and LA Times) have taken nonprofit grants for journalism.
Indeed, local NPR station WBUR is about to embark on its own foundation-funded education journalism expanion. As I noted in a recent post, Louise Kennedy is heading that effort, which will add onto what Boston Learning Lab is already doing.
There are all sorts of interesting things going in Boston, including a new superintendent (from LA), a more diverse student population than you might imagine, a bit of rough start to the year, and plans for a new unified enrollment system for charters and district schools.
But solutions journalism isn’t any silver bullet for media coverage of schools, and expanded news teams fueled by nonprofit funders aren’t any guarantee that things will go well. And the Globe’s paywall is particularly strict, so it may be hard for folks like me to enjoy the site as much as we’d like.
Bigger, Better Coverage For Boston Schools?; The Promise and Peril of “Solutions” Journalism