The Equity Reporting Project: Restoring the Promise of Education

Renaissance Journalism has selected 24 talented journalists to participate in its national fellowship program aimed at addressing the educational opportunity gap.

The Equity Reporting Project: Restoring the Promise of Education seeks to stimulate in-depth reporting and robust community engagement about the profound disparity in access to educational resources and opportunities — both inside and outside of schools — between the rich and the poor.

“We’re excited by the quality and caliber of the journalists who are involved in this initiative,” said Jon Funabiki, executive director of Renaissance Journalism. “We hope that their compelling reports will awaken Americans to the dire need to address the growing inequities that erode the nation’s schools.”

The fellows represent newspapers, radio and television stations, as well as ethnic media outlets and nonprofit news organizations across the country. They are print reporters, videographers, photojournalists, columnists and bloggers. Collectively they bring a wealth of experience reporting about education, poverty, immigration, government and disadvantaged communities.

Each fellow receives a stipend of $2,500; attends at a two-and-a-half day reporting seminar on the opportunity gap; and is advised and mentored by LynNell Hancock, a journalism professor at Columbia University and a renowned education journalist.

The fellows are divided into three cohorts. The first cohort met for its conference in San Francisco on February 20-22, 2014. The second cohort convened on September 29-October 1, in Detroit, Michigan. A third cohort of fellows will gather in New York City on November 19-21.

The two-and-a-half day conferences feature some of the leading experts on educational equity and the opportunity gap, including scholars, educators, journalists and community and nonprofit leaders. For example, the upcoming New York conference will include presentations by Pedro Noguera, Sean Reardon, David Kirp, Prudence Carter, Amy Stuart Wells, Claudia Galindo and Susan Eaton, among others.

“The conferences are one part news briefing, one part seminar and one part retreat,” said Valerie Chow Bush, Renaissance Journalism’s deputy director. “Their purpose is give the journalists the opportunity—rare in the news business—to do a deep dive into one of the most critical and complex educational issues facing our country today.”

At the seminars, fellows learn of the latest research and data on the opportunity gap and meet potential new sources. They also get the chance to network with journalism colleagues in a small-group setting and talk frankly about the challenges many education reporters face—from the ethical dilemma of using young children’s last names in a story to the anguish of interviewing traumatized youth.

Here is a complete list of The Equity Reporting Project Fellows by cohorts:


Kathryn Baron,  Freelance Education Journalist
Charla Bear, Multimedia Reporter and Anchor, KQED Public Radio
Maureen Magee, Education Reporter, Union-Tribune San Diego
Rob Manning, Reporter, Oregon Public Broadcasting
Beth Slovic, Reporter, Willamette Week
Zaidee Stavely, Reporter, Radio Bilingüe & KQED Public Radio

New America Media Special Youth Project


Marquita Brown, Education Reporter, News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
Dan Carsen, Senior Reporter, WBHM (Birmingham, AL)
Johnny Crawford, Independent Photographer
Elisa Crouch, Education Reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Ron French, Senior Writer, Bridge Magazine/Center for Michigan
Jennifer Guerra, Reporter, Michigan Radio “State of Opportunity”
Beth Hawkins, Reporter/Blogger, MinnPost “Learning Curve”
Laura Isensee, Education Reporter, Houston Public Media
Celia Llopis-Jepsen, Education Reporter, Topeka Capital-Journal (Kansas)
Rebecca Nuttall, Staff Writer, Pittsburgh City Paper


Kavitha Cardoza, Special Correspondent, WAMU Public Radio
Matt Collette, Multimedia Journalist, WNYC/Columbia University
Emily DeRuy, Associate Editor, Fusion (ABC News/Univision)
Alejandra Lagos, Editorial and Digital Producer, Univision News Network
Kristina Rizga, Education Reporter, Mother Jones
Claudio Sanchez, Education Reporter, NPR
Aisha Sultan, Columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Patrick Wall, Reporter, Chalkbeat New York

The Equity Reporting Project is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

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