Since I started blogging in 2009, the Ann Arbor News has lost several reporters off the education beat.
David Jesse went to the Detroit Free Press, where he's doing a nice job as a higher education reporter.
Kyle Feldscher chose to switch into reporting on courts and criminals. (I have a hard time believing that is more fun or interesting, but it definitely gets more page views and front page stories.)
Danielle Arndt moved to the west side of the stae.
Sense a pattern?
The point is--
the point is--
the point isthat all of these reporters were fine, and could have been excellent education reporters. (Exception here: David Jesse had been, for a long time, and still is, but in a different venue.)
IF ONLY they had stuck around.
It takes time to develop sources. One reporter, in fact, is not nearly enough to cover the education beat in Washtenaw County.
Schools need the bright light of reporters digging.
And we only need look at the stories coming out of the Free Press' excellent charter series, or the information being uncovered about the EAA by Ellen Cogen Lipton and Eclectablog, to understand why.
Oh, and did I mentioned that the Ann Arbor Chronicle closed as well? Though their coverage of the Ann Arbor school board had ceased, at least there was the occasional piece about education.
On the Inside the EAA website, it says that the Freedom of Information Act is a "Tool for Transparency." For that to be true, somebody has to be there to use it...
All of this leads me feeling...dismayed. Now, more than ever.
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