Links: How Seattle journalist got school censorship scoop

Al Tompkins, from the Poynter Institute, an online organization focused on journalism based in the States, has posted a great Q&A with American journalist Phyllis Fletcher. She is an education reporter for a radio station in Seattle, Wa., and recently revealed a policy change in the school district she covers that would censor the schools’ student newspapers.

The story had immediate results, reports Tompkins.

At first, school officials denied there had been a change. Then they agreed there had been. Within a few days of Fletcher’s report, and a flood of media follow-ups, the school district completely reversed the policy.

What I like best about this interview is that it’s a great tutorial on what skills you need to complete an investigation. Fletcher says:

You also have to find and expose things that haven’t risen even to the watchdogs’ finely-tuned radar. That means you have to find things that haven’t made anyone angry (yet). You’ll find things that are quirky, interesting, odd, or that demonstrate that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.  The more you bring these things to light, the more you and your audience learn, and the more you build credibility with tipsters — and with the body you cover.

This is a must-read for those of us covering the education beat.

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