By Ashleigh Oldland, Apr 10, 2012 4:09 PM
Education stories about budget deficits, bullying in schools, childhood obesity rates, school closures … these are the types of stories that get the most eyeballs on newspaper websites, and these are the types of stories that most media outlets seem to focus on.
Despite lower hits on the Internet, journalists must continue to recognize the good news — in education and beyond.
I saw a great example of positive education news coverage last month in Long Beach. A few local news outlets wrote about how Long Beach Unified School District honored its “Most Inspiring Students” with an award ceremony. One student was chosen for the honor from each of the schools in the district.
This is my third year writing and reading about Long Beach’s inspiring students, and the privilege remains one of my annual favorites. Every year, stories written about these young people bring in letters to the editor and even donations or scholarship offers for those who are profiled.
Recently, I interviewed one of those inspiring students, a young man named Jonathan who wants to be a doctor someday. Gazette Newspapers in Long Beach will publish the story later this month.
With a 4.0 GPA, honors classes and a long list of extra-curricular activities on his resume, the high school senior got into schools such as Harvard and Stanford in addition to scholarship offers.
Jonathan’s hard work as a student stands alone as a great accomplishment. What makes him even more inspiriting is that his achievement comes after a struggle with and recovery from cancer.
I wish that newspapers had enough editorial space to honor all of the inspiring students out there — the ones who never missed a day of class, the ones who read every line on every page of their textbooks.
Positive stories are the ones that are going to be preserved in family albums; those are the stories that remind me what education beat writers are protecting when we report all that bad stuff.
Ashleigh Oldland is a fellow with New America Media's Youth Education Fellowship. The fellowship is a six-month long program for youth reporters aged 16-24 on education reporting. It is sponsored by the California Education Policy Fund.