Subject: A CHANGE AT LA SCHOOL REPORTAn email from: Michael JanofskySent: Sunday, January 31, 2016 11:01 PM
I apologize for the mass email, but it's the best way to inform all of you a bit of news.After 2 1/2 years as managing editor, I am no longer working for LA School Report. Its founder has merged it with reform-minded Campbell Brown's The 74, a change that was related to me only a few days ago. As part of the new arrangement, I learned I was removed as editor, with LA School Report and The 74 installing a replacement.
In my time as editor, I've worked closely with many of you, and I want to say how much I've appreciated your professionalism, your collegiality and your willingness to help us understand contentious, controversial and complicated issues affecting LA Unified. As an editor and occasional writer who has worked only for news organizations that favor neither one side of an issue or the other, I always tried my best to steer LA School Report down the middle, keeping it as fair and neutral as possible. I know some of you might disagree, but I am proud of the work we did.
I'm especially indebted to those who were always eager to respond to our questions in a timely manner and to help us understand the issues more deeply. Thank you.
I've learned a great deal from all of you, and I thank you for that, as well.
I wish all of you the best.
I am thrilled to announce today a partnership between LA School Report and the online education news site The 74.
I founded LA School Report more than three years ago on the belief that there is an urgent need for quality journalism in the education arena; that without vigorous scrutiny, decisions made by elected officials, special interests and district bureaucrats go unchecked. Why the urgency? Because the Los Angeles public school system – which ranks among the worst in the country – is profoundly failing the vast majority of students, especially those who are not white and middle class. At the same time the district’s sheer size and diversity make it a national player. If this district can turn itself around, the whole country will benefit.
Since our launch, LA School Report has sought to bring some of the critical issues facing the public school system to the forefront. In this short time, a lot has happened: we have seen in quick succession the district bailed out of a budget crisis with a windfall from the state only to be faced with predictions of bankruptcy; a statewide suspension of academic progress tests that leaves the district – and parents – with no accountability measures, and a fractious, erratic school board that has hired three superintendents in five years and, in a recent clumsy move, put charter schools in its crosshairs instead of targeting its failing schools for improvement.
Amid these events and others, from our daily coverage of the Vergara trial to our in-depth reporting on school board elections, LA School Report has broken stories, won awards and helped galvanize a resurgence of education reporting in Los Angeles.
I believe that more attention and more public discourse spell good news for the 650,000 students in Los Angeles public schools, and in joining forces with The 74 – which takes its name from the number of public school students nationwide – the deeply rooted challenges facing this enormous and unwieldy district will now get a national audience.
With The 74 roster of smart, veteran journalists, we are ready to expand our reach and deepen our coverage. We usher in this next phase with a new executive editor, Laura Greanias, who has been a journalist in Los Angeles for nearly 25 years, including 15 years at the L.A. Times and most recently as city editor of the L.A. Daily News.
Along with our own seasoned staff, who under the leadership of managing editor Michael Janofsky has brought you quality reporting day in and day out, our new partnership will allow us to continue to bring you quality reporting with context and analysis – always with one primary question in mind: What is in the best interest of students?
In less than four years, LA School Report has become a must-read for insiders and everyday Angelenos alike. The site follows the politics and policy of the public school system in Los Angeles, shining a light on underreported but critical developments in education.
“The 74 brings with it a deep bench of veteran journalists, and together with our team at LA School Report we will be positioned to expand our reach and deliver a more robust news site that helps keep education front and center throughout the city,” said Jamie Lynton, founder of LA School Report, who will join The 74’s board as part of the partnership.
“All of us at The 74 and LA School Report firmly believe there is a real opportunity to expand coverage throughout Los Angeles and the West Coast and put an even greater spotlight on the system,” said Campbell Brown, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The74Million.org. “We will bring the same kind of aggressive and substantive coverage that has defined our reporting since we launched to an even greater audience.”
Longtime Los Angeles-based newspaper editor Laura Greanias will come on board as executive editor of LA School Report. Greanias has worked in the Los Angeles media space for nearly a quarter-century, over 15 years at the L.A. Times where she served as executive news editor/deputy Page One editor and morning assignment editor on the city desk, and more recently as the city editor of the L.A. Daily News.
“Having been an editor at two of Los Angeles’ largest newspaper publications, Laura’s journalism Bona Fides speak for themselves, and we can think of no one better to help harness the vast institutional knowledge of LA School Report and the national perspective of The 74,” said Romy Drucker, co-founder and CEO of The 74.
In addition to her responsibilities at LA School Report, Greanias will also lead The 74’s new West Coast bureau.
Since launching in New York six months ago, The74Million.org has made huge strides in fulfilling its mission of making education front-page news.
The site has conducted one-on-one interviews with a majority of the presidential candidates to reveal detailed plans on how they would improve education in our country; has broken news on the forgotten students of the California drought, the transformation of New Orleans’ schools in the years following Hurricane Katrina, and the potential long-lasting impact of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association; and has rapidly grown a following among those most impacted – parents who entrust their children to the school system.
“Our development of a West Coast bureau will allow us to go even deeper, covering local and regional issues that impact large swaths of parents and children with the kind of vigor and aggressiveness that those issues deserve,” Drucker added.
When I was invited to help expand LA School Report in partnership with The 74, I jumped at the chance to advance the cause of journalism in public education reporting. That’s my goal as LA School Report’s new executive editor (and The 74’s first West Coast bureau chief).
I’m a product of public schools. My mother was a public school teacher in Minnesota. In an ideal world every one of America’s 74 million students would receive a stellar education at their local public school. That’s what I want. Sadly, that’s not the reality, not even close. Millions of our children and their families have no other options when their local public schools fail them.
As a journalist, I’m naturally interested in broader reporting on the school leaders and policymakers who are fighting to give these children more options — as well as the innovation happening in classrooms across California. I’m equally interested in the $71 BILLION that California taxpayers gift our K-12 public schools. Where exactly does it come from? Where does it go? Where is it succeeding? Where is it failing?
Who is accountable for results?
Most of all, I’m eager to meet and share the stories of those who are giving their all for the education of the students of this great city and state, in both traditional and charter public schools, and what we can learn from their success to help all of America’s 74 million children.
And I’m pleased to meet you, our readers who care about them.