On the Beat: Covering Education

Course Overview

On the Beat: Covering Education
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
This course takes about an hour to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Everyone has a stake in education, and everyone needs the educational system to serve them. Reporters on the education beat have the opportunity to help their readers see the connection between schools and the community.

This course is designed to give you a brief introduction to the most pressing issues facing the educational system today, as well as tips on how to cover this beat.

This course will teach you how to gain a better understanding of the public education system in the United States. In it, you will explore everything from how to gain access to a classroom to why the power structures are the way they are to where money comes from — and where it goes.

And, most important, why it all matters.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will:

  • Understand the intricacies of reporting and gaining access to schools and classrooms
  • Recognize the distinguishing features of good teaching
  • Recognize that testing can be a valuable element of instruction but that it can also be misused
  • Understand the importance of high-quality, early childhood education, especially for lower-income children
  • Understand the crucial role of effective leadership in productive schools and districts
  • Understand school budgets and how to trace the effect of district budgets on schools
Who should take this course:

This course is for beginning and veteran journalists who are new to the education beat, for journalism students and for anyone interested in the way media covers education.

Course Instructors:

Richard Lee Colvin

Richard Lee Colvin is the Director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media.

Liz Willen

Liz Willen is the Associate Director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media.

Training Partner:

Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media

The Hechinger Institute exists to equip journalists with the knowledge and skills they need to produce fair, accurate and insightful reporting. Since its launch in 1996, the institute has sponsored more than 63 seminars for journalists who write, editorialize or edit coverage of education.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 8.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high speed connection