It just goes to show how the media works when it comes to education stories-- something I'm mindful of given an event notice I received earlier this week for a study released today in Washington D.C. under the title of "Invisible: 1.4 per cent coverage for education is not enough." As best I can tell from my media monitoring (which has some significant gaps), the CBC picked up on the curriculum story earlier this week and since then everyone across the province has gone hog-wild localizing it for their audiences. This is not atypical for most provincial stories, mind you, and I've certainly localized my share of provincial and national topics over the years.
I shudder to think what -- if there was even an equivalent academic environment in Canada to conduct such a study -- a similar report might have to say about Canadian education reporting.
I'm particularly swayed by the following recommendations in the report's executive summary:
4. Reporting should become more proactive and less reactive. Much of coverage today is episodic and driven by events. Focusing on long-term trends would help to inform communities about the content of education and ways schools are seeking to move forward.Meanwhile, Bill 177, the biggest omnibus education bill of this government's term, passed Monday night with nary a whimper in most if not all media. Mind you, two PC MPPs staging a sit-in in the legislature distracted us all. Good thing that protest was so effective at changing practice or policy.
6. Newspapers and other media outlets that have cut back on education reporting should reconsider these decisions both on public interest grounds, and also because there is widespread interest in the issues surrounding education – on the part of parents especially, but also among employers and other community leaders. It is only through on-going, day-to-day beat reporting that journalists develop an understanding of the subject, gain a sure feel for the issues at stake, and develop sources who keep them informed.
Addendum: Looking at my own site stats, it's important to note that pages on Bill 177 are among the most-read individual pages. Google tells me the top search term that brings people here is "education reporter," with the second-highest being "Bill 177." Hundreds of hits since my first post about the bill went up in May, showing there are enough people out there coming here for information on this bill. Perhaps because they're not finding anything anywhere else? If so, that's a pretty indicative statement to the research paper noted above.