Uncategorized - by David Cohn on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 23:41 - 3 Comments
Dallas Morning News
“I’ve learned from my beat reporting that there is a strong grapevine/rumor mill among the district’s 20,000 employees but these folks don’t have a central place to gossip, swap stories and/or compare notes about the latest district project.”
The Beat: Dallas Independent School District. One of the country’s largest school systems with 20,000 employees and 160,000 students.
The Reporters: Kent Fischer and Tawnell Hobbs, staff writers for Dallas Morning News
Description: Kit Lively, education enterprise editor at the Dallas Morning News writes….
We’re in. The prospect of experimenting with the Internet to broaden
our source base – and having a network of colleagues to tap into for
ideas and help – is exciting.
We plan to build our network around a blog we’re creating to expand
our coverage of the Dallas Independent School District. As one of the
country’s largest school systems, with 20,000 employees, 160,000
students, 220 schools and about a half-million taxpayers, DISD comes
with a ready-made community that is intensely interested in the
district’s workings and, we believe, eager to weigh in on what they see.
The Dallas Morning News Team: (1. Kit Lively, education enterprise editor
(2. Anthony Moor, Deputy Managing Editor/Interactive
(3. Two beat reporters will work on the project – Kent Fischer and Tawnell Hobbs
FROM KENT – I have covered education for nearly
15 years in four states – New Hampshire, Kentucky, Florida and now
Texas – and am currently vice president of the national Education
Writers Association. Since the fall of 2005, I’ve covered the Dallas
city school district for the Dallas Morning News. I’ve learned from my
beat reporting that there is a strong grapevine/rumor mill among the
district’s 20,000 employees but these folks don’t have a central place
to gossip, swap stories and/or compare notes about the latest district
project. I’m hoping to provide that with a district-centric blog with
comments and discussion groups. Kind of like an online office water
cooler for district employees, teachers and parents. I’m also hoping
that parents will tune in to talk about what’s happening in their
schools and can provide an unfiltered conduit for what’s working and
FROM KIT – School systems are like small cities where people
are unusually engaged. A big challenge for reporters is staying on top
of events and issues inside schools as well as within the
administration building and among PTA parents, school board members and
taxpayers. I hope this project – combining a lively blog with multiple
forums for comment – will stimulate conversation with a whole new batch
of sources and deepen our understanding of the district on all levels.
As with any innovative new venture, it’s hard to predict all the
benefits at the outset. But I hope at the very least, we’ll create a
completely new outlet for reaching more people with a wider range of
information. I’ve been a journalist 27 years and have covered education
24 of them. I’m always on the prowl for ways to improve our reporting.
FROM ANTHONY – At The Dallas Morning News we have been
looking for an opportunity to engage our audience in a collaborative
reporting experiment. Web sites can foster powerful interactive
experiences, and newspaper sites already function as a virtual town
square in some respects. We want to take the next step by combining
our existing newsgathering expertise with the community we bring
together. This project provides a framework for developing that idea,
and a support network of fellow journalists to help us see if this
could enhance our reporting overall. At its best, this could become a
model for more interactive, engaging and complete journalism. It could
deepen our ties to our community. At worst, it’s an opportunity to
learn how we can or cannot leverage technology to connect people to
their communities and to what we do as watchdogs for them.
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