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!

The best feedback an intern could receive

Are you on the Takoma Park beat? Will you be writing all these stories?”

I had no idea I was speaking to an intern.”

When I first contact a source for a story, I usually don’t tell them I’m interning.

I don’t consider it lying. I get better responses if I act as a professional journalist. When I told sources in the past that I was a student or intern, they often refused to speak with me or answer my questions fully. So in order to report accurately and completely, I just don’t tell them I’m an intern.

I email or call a source and explain that I’m reporting for The Gazette, or my past internships, and continue to interview them. Most times, the interview goes well. I get the information and quotes I need for my story and I thank the source.

Sometimes, a source will ask if I’m on the Takoma Park or Silver Spring beat. If I’ll be covering stories like the one I interviewed them for. If they should contact me with story ideas.

Continue reading The best feedback an intern could receive