Learning from Education Week Teacher

Last week I wrapped up my five-month stint at Education Week Teacher and reflected on the projects I’ve produced and what I’ve gained from the experience.

Web production

Working with Bricolage has allowed me to see the variety of CMS capabilities. Some older systems, like Bric, can be more limiting to news organizations in the age of endless scrolling, magazine-style photos and interactive  graphics. Other systems boast their multimedia capabilities. But the staff at Education Week, especially the web team, find ways to make Bric work for them and still produce incredible interactives and multimedia stories.

During my internship, I used Bric to help produce the New Directions in Assessment report as well as the video collection page on classroom assessment techniques. For the report, I also designed an infographic explaining key differences in the PARCC and Smarter Balanced testing consortia.

Reader interaction

To engage readers during Pi Day, I created a crowdsourcing effort asking educators to share how they  celebrated the day. I compiled the responses into a Storify.

I also encouraged teachers to share classroom activities and resources for teaching poetry during the month of April. With these reader suggestions and my own reporting, I provided an overview of ideas for teaching National Poetry Month.

Blogging for teachers

Writing for a niche audience of teachers and educators on the Teaching Now blog was an incredibly challenging and fulfilling opportunity. I have written for specific audiences before, at my college newspapers, at The Writers’ Bloc literary-themed paper I created at the University of Maryland, and at The Gazette. But this was a higher level of specificity. The blog posts focus on education news, tips for teachers, and teaching trends. I tried to offer useful information for teachers in each post.

I truly enjoyed becoming a sort of poetry reporter for National Poetry Month in April. I pitched ideas relating to the month to my editors, led a crowdsourcing effort to find how educators teach poetry and eventually became inundated with pitches from readers and organizations. I wish I could have followed up on all of them. I covered a traveling poet who speaks in schools, an effort to eliminate gender-marketing in books and a freshman English class in California that self-published an e-book poetry anthology.  View my Education Week Teacher clips.

Thank you to the incredible staff at Education Week for all of these opportunities!

Holistic approach to editing: Read through the whole story, then focus on details

Alumnus offers editing tips to communications students

Marlena Chertock

MARCH 16, 2011

Sometimes she has three hours to work on a story and other times three minutes. But Assistant Director of University Relations for Alumni Communications Kristen Simonetti always reads through a story first and then edits it in more detail.

Simonetti, who graduated from Elon in 2005, offered editing tips to communications students on Wednesday, March 16, 2011.

“I try to take a holistic approach to editing,” Simonetti said. “I like to look at the whole thing, not little pieces until the very end.”

Graphic by Marlena Chertock.

When she edits, she cuts up a story and tapes it back together. It’s a very visual way to show a better way to organize a story, she said.

Simonetti explained how important it is to have an open line of communication with editors and writers. Editors should treat reporters with respect, she said.

“The worst thing you can do as an editor is make an arbitrary change to a story without talking to the reporter,” she said.

Editors should have conversations with reporters about their stories. Working on a story together in a workshop is important, Simonetti said.

“It’s nice to have outside colleague or editor to be able to see and say what would be better and clearer for a story,” she said. “It’s also important for writers to keep an open mind. Editors are not trying to tear reporters down. They’re there to make work even better.”