Husband Of NYT’s Race & Class Reporter Involved In Brooklyn Gentrification Story

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Reading over a recent Politico New York story about the integration/zoning debate going on in gentrifying Brooklyn right now (Brooklyn school rezoning debate puts focus on de Blasio administration), I noticed a powerful quote from a parent advocate about how the more affluent community had been consulted first about the proposed changes:

“In August, a few of us parents were notified that there was discussion of the proposed zone plan, knowing that the Brooklyn Heights, Concord Village [development] community had already been consulted… You know that wouldn’t have happened in their neighborhood. There would have been outrage. There would have been a protest.”

Then I noticed the name attributed to the quote: Faraji Hannah-Jones, who’s identified as “co-president of PS 307’s Parent Teacher Association.”

Hannah-Jones is both a somewhat unusual but familiar name in education journalism circles these days, because it’s also the name of Nikole Hannah-Jones, the journalist who’s written powerfully for ProPublica, appeared on This American Life, and is now writing at the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

And, according to the caption attached to a March Politico Magazine story by the reporter (see image above), Faraji is indeed the spouse of Nikole: “The author, at front, with her friends Carla Murphy and Monifa Bandele, and her husband, Faraji Hannah-Jones, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.”

I’m a big admirer of Hannah-Jones’ reporting and hope there’s a way for her to write about what’s going on at the school (if she wants to) but it might be hard to do without appearing to be conflicted, even if the connection is fully disclosed.

This is an issue that must come up all the time — how do reporters and editors address it, in terms of assigning and disclosing? Are there any hard and fast rules, or best and worst examples of how it’s been done?

Related posts: School Segregation’s Back (In the News)Some Questions About This American Life’s School Integration StoryWhat’s Next for ProPublica’s Education Coverage?Three Key Moments In The Hartford Integration Episode Of “This American Life”.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.