Show cover of EWA Radio

EWA Radio

EWA, the professional organization dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of education coverage in the media, hosts regular interviews and panel discussions with journalists and education professionals.


Lessons From the Early Ed Beat
Kyra Miles of Minnesota Public Radio is one of a handful of reporters nationally on the early learning beat, which often gets short shrift when it comes to news coverage.  That’s changed since the pandemic, amid greater awareness of how starkly the nation’s child care needs are outstripping available –and affordable – providers. Kyra shares how she made the transition from the K-12 beat to early learning, and what’s surprised her along the way.
24:17 5/21/24
Your Guide to #ewa24 in Las Vegas
Whether you’re joining us in Las Vegas for the 77th National Seminar or looking ahead to a future EWA event, Public Editor Emily Richmond and The Chronicle of Higher Education Editor Daarel Burnette have you covered.  Burnette, also a member of EWA’s board of directors, shares his tips for making the most of the flagship conference. This includes how to choose which sessions to attend, what to pack, and where to look for story ideas and networking opportunities.
17:04 5/7/24
What the FAFSA?!
The already stressful and arduous process of applying for college financial aid was supposed to be easier this year. Instead, the public saw the meltdown of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  As the U.S. Department of Education scrambles to fix calculation errors, colleges and universities have had to hit pause on making admissions decisions, adding even more confusion to the mix.  Eric Hoover, a senior writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education, shares insights from his deep coverage, including implications for students, families and postsecondary institutions. What’s being done to help students from low-income backgrounds whose college prospects might have already been on shaky ground? And where should reporters proceed with extra caution in covering this complex and fast-changing story?
29:42 4/16/24
Why Black Teachers Quit
In Baltimore and many other school systems in Maryland, Black teachers are leaving at a higher rate than their colleagues of any other racial group. That tracks with national trends, and leaves too many schools with educator workforces that are significantly less diverse than the student populations they teach.  Kristen Griffith of The Baltimore Banner shares insights from her in-depth reporting on this issue. What’s driving the exodus in Maryland, and what interventions might help keep more Black teachers on the job? 
21:05 4/2/24
Fairer School Funding
Many state funding formulas allocate additional dollars for low-income students to level the playing field. But fewer account for concentrated poverty in communities, despite the additional challenges faced by schools serving large shares of economically disadvantaged students.  What is the impact of concentrated poverty on students? How might more resources be directed to high-poverty schools, and what other strategies might address these disparities and improve resource equity? And what are some story ideas for education reporters around school finance and concentrated poverty?  Experts John Affeldt, Public Advocates; Amber Arellano, The Education Trust-Midwest, and Ericka Weathers, University of Pennsylvania join host Emily Richmond at a special live episode of EWA Radio, recorded at SXSW EDU on March 6.
63:04 3/19/24
When Private Schools Get Public Money
For a reporter who is not officially on the education beat, Alec MacGillis of ProPublica finds plenty to keep him busy, going deep into stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt in all aspects of lives of students and their school communities.  He joins EWA Radio to discuss his two newest pieces: a close look at a private company providing outreach services tracking down absent students in the hard-hit school systems of Detroit’s outer suburbs, and how private and parochial schools are cashing in on the funding bonanza of new and expanded school voucher programs that open the door to every student – regardless of family income.
24:50 3/12/24
The Power of Student Journalism
While in her junior year at Milpitas High School in Northern California, student journalist Riya Vyas  heard the rumors like everyone else – two teachers had been accused of improper behavior with students.  She used the power of the press – and open records requests – to build a paper trail and show that the teachers had been allowed to resign quietly, decreasing the possibility that a record of disciplinary action might follow them to their next jobs. Vyas won the Student Press Law Center’s inaugural Student Freedom of Information Award.  Also, Mike Hiestand, senior legal counsel for the SPLC, discusses why the work of high school and college journalists pressing for transparency and accountability is more important than ever. Feb. 22 marks Student Press Freedom Day. 
22:33 2/20/24
Finding Missing Students (and the Money)
For a reporter who is not officially on the education beat, Alec MacGillis of ProPublica finds plenty to keep him busy, going deep into stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt in all aspects of lives of students and their school communities.  He joins EWA Radio to discuss his two newest pieces: a close look at a private company providing outreach services tracking down absent students in the hard-hit school systems of Detroit’s outer suburbs, and how private and parochial schools are cashing in on the funding bonanza of new and expanded school voucher programs that open the door to every student – regardless of family income.
24:50 2/13/24
‘Disillusioned:’ The Rise and Fall of the American Suburban Dream
Suburbs have long been a touchstone of the proverbial American dream, promising happy lives and top-notch schools to their fortunate inhabitants. But what happens when white and affluent families move on, leaving behind massive municipal debt, poorly planned infrastructure, and school systems ill-equipped to meet the needs of newer residents – many of whom are often less wealthy, Black, and Hispanic?  Longtime education journalist Benjamin Herold, author of “Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America’s Suburbs,” takes readers deep into the history of how gentrification, race and privilege factored into the rise and fall of suburban life, and how his own educational opportunities and life path were shaped and influenced by the opportunities his white parents were able to access in the community of Penn Hills, outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
30:52 1/23/24
2024: New Year, New Story Ideas
From fiscal cliffs to surges in high-need students, 2024 is expected to be a challenging year on the K-12 and higher ed beats.  As Boston Globe editor Melissa Taboada told EWA public editor Emily Richmond: “Winter is coming.” Jon Marcus, higher education editor for The Hechinger Report, also joined the discussion, offering his forecast for the months ahead.  Among the big stories these veteran journalists say to watch for: student advocacy amid campus culture wars, the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning, and why colleges and universities are bracing for a steep decline in freshmen. Also, we discuss the peril and promise of A.I. as an educational tool, and what EWA has planned for SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas this March.  EWA Radio is sponsored by SXSW EDU. EWA retains full editorial control over the content of the podcast.
30:35 1/16/24
So You Want a Journalism Fellowship
If you’re a journalist who’s feeling burned out or ready for a change, a professional fellowship can be a chance to recharge and renew your passion for your work.  What are the differences among the best-known residential fellowships? What makes a great application? What should you expect from your fellowship year? And how can you boost your chances of grabbing the brass ring?  Two experienced education editors with firsthand experience as journalism fellows – Delece Smith Barrow of Politico and Sarah Carr, formerly of The Boston Globe  –  join EWA Public Editor Emily Richmond. 
31:15 12/12/23
For Rural Black Students, a College Conundrum
What keeps rural Black students from pursuing college or thriving when they get there? J. Brian Charles of The Chronicle of Higher Education went to Sussex County, Virginia to get a closer look at what post-high school opportunity looks like in the swampy countryside, where “peanuts, pork, and pine” are the major exports – not young people headed for higher education.  He talks with EWA Public Editor Emily Richmond about the overlooked stories on rural schools, an innovative program providing volunteer college counselors in high-need communities, and what might change the equation for Black students looking to expand their horizons beyond their hometowns. 
27:48 12/5/23
Can Public Education Survive School Choice?
Few education policies have become more divisive – or politicized – than school choice. Chalkbeat editor and author Cara Fitzpatrick discusses her new book, “The Death of Public School.”  Who really benefits from charter schools and voucher programs, and how have conservative politicians seized the reins of what was, albeit briefly, a bipartisan movement aimed at improving educational equity? If public education is a cornerstone of America’s vision of itself as a democratic society, what does it mean if it’s allowed to become a private commodity?  Plus, Fitzpatrick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, offers tips and story ideas for journalists looking to follow her lead. 
30:16 11/28/23
When Skills, Not Seat Time Earn College Degrees
What if you could earn a college degree by demonstrating your mastery of a specific set of skills, rather than completing a minimum number of hours instructional seat time?  That’s the premise behind a massive experiment underway in California’s community colleges. EWA Reporting Fellow Adam Echelman of CalMatters shares insights from his close look at the promise – and potential perils – of “competency based education.”  Who are the students most likely to enroll in these programs? What’s known about the quality of their experience and their long-term outcomes? Why are some faculty pushing back while others are embracing the experiment?  
27:10 11/7/23
Migrant Children in Public Schools
After years of downward enrollment trends, Chicago Public Schools is seeing an influx of newcomer students, many of whom are new to the United States.  Nereida Moreno of WBEZ Chicago is covering their stories, from the challenges of learning a language and making friends to efforts by schools and community leaders to help them – and their families – acclimate.
23:29 10/17/23
Want Schools Open in a Pandemic? Give Them Cleaner Air.
Few things were as fraught with controversy amid the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic as the decision to close many schools while others stayed open.  Apoorva Mandavilli, science and global health reporter for The New York Times, looked closely at how air quality in public schools impacted outbreaks, what it would take to give more students access to healthier classrooms, and what’s keeping more policymakers from heeding some of these potentially crucial lessons.  She joins EWA Public Editor Emily Richmond to discuss where education reporters can find trustworthy data on school air quality, how to produce nuanced coverage on polarizing topics, and more.  
24:57 10/3/23
The K-12 Stories You Need in Your Notebook
The new academic year is underway, and challenges – and opportunities – lay ahead for school communities.  Kalyn Belsha, newly named senior reporter for national education news at Chalkbeat, shares her must-have stories for the K-12 beat. From the impact of new laws barring teachers from talking about “controversial” topics – such as race, racism and gender identity – to what happens when the federal COVID-19 relief money expires, Belsha offers innovative takes on these and other essential topics.
22:53 9/19/23
The Best Colleges You’ve (Probably) Never Heard of
Do you know Elizabeth City State University, a historically Black college, in North Carolina? What about SUNY-Geneseo in New York’s Finger Lakes region? Both schools were top performers in the Washington Monthly’s annual college rankings. The magazine puts a premium on graduation rates, overall costs to students and families, whether graduates end up in good-paying jobs doing meaningful work, and how ready they are for advanced degrees. Editor-in-Chief Paul Glastris discusses the methodology behind the innovative rankings, as well as some of the surprise hits in this year’s list. Also from this month’s issue, Glastris discusses contributing writer Anne E. Kim “hacking” Google’s online certification program, and Jamaal Abdul-Alim’s reporting on colleges going directly to students to offer admission, rather than waiting for them to apply.
27:39 9/5/23
Higher Ed Stories to Steal
The new academic year is underway, and Inside Higher Ed Co-founder Scott Jaschik shares story ideas for enterprising journalists. Among his top picks: Legacy admissions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on race-conscious college admissions, the risks and rewards of ChatGPT, and looming budget cuts once federal pandemic aid runs dry.
23:53 8/29/23
Best on the Beat: Mike Hixenbaugh of NBC News
Mike Hixenbaugh of NBC News won the Ronald Moskowitz Prize for Outstanding Beat Reporting at this year’s National Awards for Education Reporting ceremony. He speaks candidly about the perils of “parachute journalism,” especially in the wake of tragedies – such as the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas – and explains what keeps pulling him back to stories about students and schools. Plus, what lessons can he share from audio reporting, such as “Southlake,” the viral hit podcast he co-created?   
27:08 8/15/23
The Heavy Price of Policing Students
Reporters Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards share the backstory to their blockbuster investigation into Illinois police ticketing students at schools for minor infractions, a practice costing them seat time and their families thousands of dollars in fines.  The joint series for ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune won this year’s Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting in EWA’s National Awards for Education Reporting.
30:48 7/26/23
Passing the Public Editor Torch
As Emily Richmond returns, Kavitha Cardoza shares what she learned in her year as EWA’s public editor, including a fresh appreciation for the challenges facing education beat reporters.  Plus, Emily discusses her experiences as a 2023 Spencer Education Fellow and what she’s looking forward to in the year ahead with EWA. Correction: The ProPublica reporter named is Topher Sanders, not Topher Smith. Listen to his episode here. 
25:08 7/11/23
Protecting Education Journalists’ Mental Health
Education journalism has changed considerably over the years. In what used to be a relatively calm beat, reporters now deal with school shootings, contentious board meetings and angry residents targeting them on social media.  “This ain’t your mama’s education beat” as one reporter wryly put it. While covering education – in addition to other beats – reporters are often working longer hours, even as they contend with layoffs, less support and smaller budgets. About 70% to 72% of local journalists reported work-related and/or personal burnout, according to research from the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at The University of North Carolina. Women and young people were more likely to experience burnout than men and older people, researchers found. Kavitha Cardoza saw these issues up close in her work as EWA’s public editor this year. Education reporters from across the country reached out about their challenges: Some left journalism. Some were forced out, and others still struggle, hoping to be able to continue doing the work they love.  In her final EWA Radio episode as host, Kavitha spoke to CD Davidson-Hiers, a journalist and colleague who has written beautifully and honestly about how she burned out and how she healed.
36:13 6/13/23
Getting to School Can Mean Life or Death When Trains Block Crossings
When trains block crossings, sometimes for days, communities across the country face challenges. Even if the blocked intersection is just four streets away from a location, first responders can't get to fires, parents can't go to grocery stores, and children can't get to school.  Kids face physical, mental and emotional dangers each time they climb over, squeeze between and crawl under train cars in the working-class commuter city of Hammond, Indiana. Parents’ and local officials' pleas about the dangers have gone unheeded.  As part of a reporting collaboration with ProPublica and Investigate TV/Gray Television, Topher Sanders chronicled the problem. The ProPublica reporter talks about how blocked crossings interfere with children's schooling, why this practice has continued and why all roads (or tracks!) lead to the education beat!
26:45 5/9/23
Covering Early Childhood Education
Early childhood is a critical time for a child's physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.  Nurturing care is critical for brain growth, meaning a child's development is affected by their experiences and interactions with nurturing caregivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To reach their full potential, children need to feel safe and loved as well as receive several opportunities to play, explore and express themselves.  Jackie Mader of The Hechinger Report has covered early education exclusively for eight years. This week, she talks to EWA Radio’s Kavitha Cardoza about how she covers so many “beats within a beat,” what she looks for in a child care center, and the challenges of finding new angles.
24:42 5/3/23