Journalists to share community college coverage

The third and final class of Hechinger Community College fellows will be back in New York City this weekend to present their projects, as part of  the Institute’s “Covering America, Covering Community Colleges” Fellowship.

So far, 40 journalists have been trained to take on a topic that is vastly undercovered at most U.S. news outlets.

Community college stories weren’t in the news much when this fellowship started and reporters often told us their editors weren’t terribly interested in the topic.

Since that time, President Barack Obama has elevated their importance in a recession economy as he pushes for more Americans to obtain degrees. Community colleges are in the news constantly, in many cases for closing their doors because so many students are turning to them (both for job re-training after layoffs and because they cost far less than other options).

In the first year, Matt Krupnick of the Contra Costa Times won a special citation from the Education Writers Association for a four-part series on California’s community colleges and the difficulty students have to transfer out of them.

Rita Giordano of the Philadelphia Inquirer was a finalist for the Mike Berger award for her series on the struggling students at the Community College of Philadelphia.

Rob Chaney was honored in the “best of the west,’’ contest for his extensive package on the role tribal colleges played in preserving Native American history and heritage

Tom Marshall of the St. Pete Times was honored with an EWA citation for his terrific “Doctors in Exile’’ series.

Camille Esch won a second place magazine award from EWA for “Higher Ed’s Bermuda Triangle,” which ran in the Washington Monthly.

Beth Fertig of WNYC took second place for her “adding it up’’ series on LaGuardia Community College. (Listen to the first installment below.)

April Dembosky took a look at rare look at the world of community college sports, examining how California’s community college athletic programs are faring in the state’s fiscal squeeze, from budget cuts and gender equity to recruitment of and access for minority students. Her stories appeared in the Sacramento Bee and on the California Report. (Listen to the audio below.)

Marisa Schultz of the Detroit News looked at how the economically devastated state of Michigan is retraining its jobless and what role higher education plays.

Jennifer Jordan of the Providence Journal is looking at how Rhode Island’s community college system is faring in an economic downturn and how it is preparing students for jobs of the future.

Brian Maffly of the Salt Lake Tribune looked at the implications of the decline or loss of Utah’s rural community colleges.

Bill Maxwell of the St. Petersburg Times is looking at collaborations between community colleges and public school districts that are aimed at reducing the number of students who need remediation in college.

Stephanie Cohen of Marketwatch is looking at how community colleges are using federal stimulus funds to train students for green jobs.

Elaine Korry looked at how private for-profit colleges are luring students shut out of community colleges, especially in nursing. (Listen to the audio below.)

POSTED BY ON March 25, 2010