Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education.
Tell us about your news outlet and how your work serves Philadelphia residents.
Chalkbeat Philadelphia's mission is helping people understand how our schools work so they can make them work better. We believe that local-first journalism, rooted in the places we cover, is critical to earning and maintaining our readers’ trust. Chalkbeat Philadelphia is committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education.
What lived experiences inspire/influence your work?
I'm a public school kid who owes much of my career success to the teachers and school staff in my life who have supported and uplifted me through a challenging adolescence.
My domestic partner is a Philly-area music teacher with urban education experience and our dinner table conversations are usually consumed by discussing how the high-level policies, politics, and regulations impact students and educators in the classroom.
Share a prediction on the future of local news.
I'm a believer that "saving the news business" is not a sustainable goal and that the future of local news will be in solutions journalism, “civic information," or "news we can use." If we agree that the purpose of local news is to equip people with the information they need to make their home cities and towns better and more responsive to their needs, journalism will have to adapt. In practice that means giving "regular people" the tools to vet high-quality information and spread that to their trusted networks of friends, family, and followers. Journalists will have to rebuild lost trust by walking citizens through the reporting process and being responsive to community interests rather than chasing stories because other outlets are doing it.
What's the superpower of the Philadelphia Journalism Collaborative?
News organizations — particularly small, philanthropic-dependent ones — are having a tough year. By combining forces through the Philadelphia Journalism Collaborative, we can better allocate all of our reporting resources to reach diverse communities and avoid stepping on each other's toes or reproducing everyone's work. Competitive journalism breeds repetitive journalism.
More reporters from different backgrounds working together also means Philly residents will get better, more useful, and responsive stories delivered to them from reporters they trust — via WURD radio, Billy Penn, Chalkbeat or Al Dia etc. And with more eyes on politicians and elected officials, we can root out corruption and tell stories that matter.
What's your favorite water ice flavor?
Wit or witout?