The Hechinger Report celebrates its first birthday

A year ago today we officially launched The Hechinger Report, and so it seems as fitting a time as any to reflect on our work in the past 12 months.

In May 2010, The Hechinger Report was a theory backed by confidence but not evidence. The theory was that news organizations—amid cutbacks and dramatic changes in the industry—would be eager to collaborate in a variety of ways with a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet dedicated to covering education.

Flash-forward to May 2011, and the evidence is unambiguous: there’s a very strong appetite for the coverage we can and do provide. Our work has since appeared in dozens of the nation’s most prominent publications, including the American Prospect, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Chronicle of Higher Education, Connecticut Mirror, Education Week, Huffington Post, Indianapolis Star, Los Angeles Times, the McClatchy chain, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Providence Journal, Seattle Times, Texas Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, Washington Post and WBEZ-Chicago.

We’ve also had a hand in important, controversial coverage—most notably, in the Grading the Teachers” series last fall with the Los Angeles Times, which sparked a national debate about how teachers are evaluated, and in USA Today’s recent series, “Testing the System,” which investigated suspicious test scores in six states and the District of Columbia.

We are proud to have been part of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s eight-part “Building a Better Teacher” series, which won first prize in the Education Writers Association’s 2010 National Awards for Education Reporting.

Finally, The Report’s most ambitious project to date has been the creation of a national reporting collaborative to analyze the impact of the $100 billion federal stimulus on public education. With assistance from EWA, we identified 36 news outlets in 27 states that were willing to partner with us on this project. Interviewing scores of students, teachers, researchers and education officials at all levels of government, participating reporters set out to determine how the nation’s schools were actually spending the money and whether the changes it has sparked are likely to last. In the end, 21 news organizations with a total circulation of more than 4 million published stories that drew on the project’s work. Links to all of the coverage can be found both here and here.

And we’re just getting started! Here’s to many more years of compelling education coverage! To all of our supporters and collaborators, a hearty thank you for your unwavering belief in our model and our work.

POSTED BY ON May 10, 2011