It's true - when I want a smile or even a guffaw about Washington state public education, I go to the Times. I can always be assured of some odd omission of facts, brevity of context or just a nudge to the ed reform side.
And that's just their reporting. Better to say little to nothing about their editorial writing which is generally shallow and uninformed.
But now comes their Education Lab Blog (remember when they were advertising jobs for this)? They are going to have no fewer than 5 reporters on this (so that's where Linda Shaw went) and an intern(?) manning their blog "to help foster constructive dialogue online and in-person." Sounds a lot like what LEV used to do when they had blog (now gone) so you better be on your best behavior and play nice at the Times or they won't print your thoughts.
(There's a Solutions Journalism Network they are to be affiliated with and their definitions about "reporting" are pretty funny. So in case all you journalists missed Journalism 101, it's a handy guide.)
I look forward to meeting them all at various events but for our own district, it's usually me, Charlie and the other usual suspects. (And, of course, when it's election season, you'll see the School Board candidates, taking notes and looking concerned. I note that I believe Suzanne Dale Estey has made it to about five School Board meetings which is one more than she got to during her stellar service during her senior year in high school that she constantly touts. Yup, I looked it up.)
Naturally, most of this is funded largely by...the Gates Foundation. They say it's because it's hard to fulfill their "public service role" with advertising revenue dropping. (And, they're even using their grant dollars for a photographer... really.) Hilariously, they say this:
Our policies are as follows:
● We would not accept funding from a foundation that would want any kind of editorial input or control on what we report.
I'll bet that's what NBC says about its Education Nation series also funded by Gates.
Q. Will the fact that the Gates Foundation does so much work in
the education arena affect how The Seattle Times covers these issues?
A. No, there will be no direct relationship between the foundation’s
education advocacy and the reporting for Education Lab. It is possible
the project will analyze and report on efforts that the Gates Foundation
supports and those it does not. In determining the focus of the
reporting in the project, the support of the Gates Foundation, or lack
thereof, will play no role.
And the New York Times had a story that proved the Gates Foundation funds entities in order to get the media play they want. Is there a grown-up in the room who truly believes the Gates Foundation just handed them this money and will never sit down and talk issues with them? Please.
A new public education blog. Welcome to the club.