The Working Mom by Kay Luna

Learning new ways to cover education

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 1:24 pm

Something magical happens when you put a bunch of reporters from all over the country into the same room and ask, “How do you do your jobs?”

It’s even more special when all of those reporters cover the same topic.

The recent weekend I spent with about 25 other education reporters at the National Education Writer’s Association workshop on data-assisted reporting in Denver, Colorado, was sort of like reconnecting with my college-aged self –minus the massive amounts of pizza and ramen noodles.

The event helped me remembered the excitement and passion I felt about journalism back then, when I was just starting out and looking forward to all the new stories and possibilities. I’ve never lost that enthusiasm, but this event helped ramped it up again!

The view from the "tower" inside East High School in Denver.

All of us who went to the workshop cover schools for newspapers or radio, so we traded story ideas and shared information about how we do things in our newsrooms and communities. We learned a lot from each other. Thank you, EWA, for giving us this opportunity.

On a side note, I had never visited Colorado before. Downtown Denver is gorgeous and incredibly clean. The people were tremendously polite everywhere we went, even the kids at an inner-city high school we visited.

They were sort of a real-life case study about how schools are using data to drive their programming and curriculum. This is a hot topic in education nowadays.I came home with new information about Excel spreadsheets, education data and great story ideas.

Also, I learned our Quad-City Times education team won two awards — a first-place for series and a second-place for a sample of our education coverage over the past year — in the Education Writer’s Association annual journalism contest!


Me with the cast of "American Idiot" in Denver

Another bit of awesomeness: I ended up running into the cast from the Broadway musical “American Idiot,” which is based on the music of the band, Green Day. They were staying in the same hotel we were in downtown Denver. I freaked out with happiness when I recognized them from the show, which I saw in Chicago with several friends about a month ago. Squeeeeee!!!!

What have you been doing lately?

One Response to “Learning new ways to cover education”

  1. reuther Says:

    Congratulations on the award! We’re fortunate to have the TIMES for the quality of reporting you give us.
    We went to Colorado twice and stayed in a cabin on the Big Thompson River which looks more like a creek in Iowa but runs over rocks swiftly and isn’t muddy. It IS beautiful, but I hated the narrow roads crossing the divide, no room for error, a big drop-off.
    I’m glad you’re back safely.

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