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This Austin 4th grader is perhaps the kid who’s most excited about going back to to school this year. Via FOX 7.

Fresh off a couple of weeks in New England, I’ve come back with some ideas about focusing THE GRADE during 2016-17 that I wanted to preview.

What I’ve discovered in the past year of writing about education journalism is that my strongest and most valuable role is to give education journalists and educators a deeper looks at how journalism gets produced, how reporters and editors make decisions, and what it’s like for educators being covered by the media.

So the main difference you’re going to see is that I’m going to be posting fewer, deeper pieces — longer, more completely reported takes on education coverage in the media (and fewer “hot takes” and quick asides). Think James Surowiecki’s weekly economics column in The New Yorker, or David Carr’s weekly media column in the New York Times.

I’m also going to be trying to make the columns more accessible to non-journalists and non-educators. I hope to accomplish this by making sure to recap the pieces I’m writing about (rather than linking out to them or assuming they’ve already been read) and by articulating the larger significance of whatever I’m writing about even if you don’t care about an outlet, a reporter, or a particular story.

Don’t worry, however. Lots of things aren’t going to change.

I’ll still be praising and criticizing mainstream education journalism as honestly and fairly as I can, including both the best of the week (a weekly newsletter) and a new monthly feature, best and worst. It really doesn’t matter to me which way a story seems to cut. My primary concerns are journalistic: accuracy, context, & transparency.

The main questions I’m trying to answer won’t change, either: What’s great about education coverage these days, and what’s not so good? What’s over-covered, and what’s under-covered? How can we make school coverage more insightful, more compelling, more informative? Because we really need that.

I’ll still be tweeting out updates and ideas about education journalism at @thegrade_, and sending out a weekly roundup of the best education journalism I can find. As always, send me examples of great (or horrible) education coverage here.

And there will still be interviews with top journalists about the challenges of covering schools, features about some of the best (and worst) examples of media coverage during 2016-2017,  as well as stories covering trends, innovations, and lessons.

There’s more to life than education journalism, of course. You also can find lots of other things you might like over at Hot For Education, my irreverent Tumblr page, or This Week In Education, which attempts to find and share the best education-related news and commentary every day and week (including the morning news roundup). And you can pretty much always find me at tweeting about education politics and policy at @alexanderrusso.

Thanks for all the ideas and support this past year — it’s much appreciated. Here’s to a great 2016-17 for everyone.

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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