Past Events May 29-June 1, 2024

77th EWA National Seminar

Download speaker presentations in the agenda below. 

Las Vegas, Nevada

2024 EWA National Seminar in Las Vegas

The 77th EWA National Seminar comes after monumental U.S. Supreme Court decisions on race-conscious college admissions and student debt; intensifying Gen-Z voting power and increasingly fraught battles over curricula and books. 

Many believe education issues could decide the 2024 election. The Education Writers Association plans to use this pivotal moment in time to better prepare its members for what’s to come.

As more than 40 states introduce bills or pass laws limiting how teachers address racism or sexism, amid growing public concern about attacks on racial and gender progress, EWA will gather stakeholders in a prime location. The National Seminar will take place May 29-June 1, 2024 in Las Vegas – a city in a swing state and a convention destination known for unique experiences.

Leading policymakers, experts and other speakers will share their perspectives with journalist, community, and student members on the most pressing education issues as the election year heats up. Attend sessions, build community and dine at The Mirage Hotel and Casino, located on the iconic Las Vegas Strip. 

Scholarships will be awarded to qualified journalists and students. All members will get vital training and opportunities like no other in a top sports and entertainment hub. Save the date for the 2024 event!

Photo credit: SeanPavonePhoto/Bigstock

2024 National Seminar Program


Download Speaker Presentations

Day 1 - Wednesday, May 29
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
EWA Members of Color Networking
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
LGBTQ+ Members Networking
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Registration Opens

Visit the registration desk.

6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Welcome Reception
Day 2 - Thursday, May 30
7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Registration Open
8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
8:30 a.m-9 a.m.
Welcome to the 77th EWA National Seminar
  • Kathy Chow, executive director, Education Writers Association
  • Eva-Marie Ayala, president, board of directors, Education Writers Association
9 a.m. -10:15 a.m.
Plenary | Youth Voters, Civic Engagement: Public Education’s Role

Education and civic engagement, including voting, are inextricably linked. To what extent are public schools meeting their longstanding obligation to develop a new generation of engaged citizens? Youth voters aren’t a monolith: Different priorities are motivating women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community to head to the polls. How can reporters get a better handle on critical demographic groups who have potential to swing election outcomes, from local races to the presidency?

  • Sonja Diaz, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
  • David Griffith, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
  • Shavar Jeffries, KIPP Foundation
  • Dana Goldstein, The New York Times (moderator)
10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Coffee Break
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Concurrent | Centering Student Voices in Mental Health Coverage

As the mental health crisis among America’s youth continues, the group most central to this issue–youth, themselves–are crucial to coverage. We turn over the mic to two students who host a podcast about student mental health to talk with an expert, a student who is a mental health advocate and a youth media producer about why and how to center student voices in mental health coverage.

  • Briget Ganske, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs
  • Areli Rosales, The Jed Foundation 2024 Student Voice of Mental Health Award recipient
  • Laura Erickson-Schroth, The Jed Foundation
  • Bree Campbell, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs/‘On Our Minds’ (moderator)
  • James Kim, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs/‘On Our Minds’ (moderator)

Session Resource:

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Concurrent | DEI Pushback on Campus

State anti-DEI laws are proliferating, and some colleges are ending diversity initiatives. As a result, students at those schools are seeing a drastic change in support for students and educators from marginalized backgrounds. How will this climate impact new generations of students? Journalists, experts and advocates discuss the DEI pushback on campuses and offer tips to reporters. 

  • J. Brian Charles, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Jonathan Friedman, PEN America
  • Paulette Granberry Russell, National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education 
  • Divya Kumar, Tampa Bay Times (moderator)
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Concurrent | No (Digital) Silver Bullets: Rethinking Expectations for Ed Tech

Amid backlash from how distance learning played out for millions of students during the COVID-19 pandemic, what lessons did educators and researchers learn about the possibilities and limits of ed tech? Where are school districts making big investments or, conversely, pulling back? How can reporters keep better tabs on spending and student outcomes, and evaluate district contracts with an eye toward educational equity? 

  • Morgan Ames, University of California, Berkeley
  • Jun Kim, Moore Public Schools (Oklahoma)
  • Pati Ruiz, Digital Promise
  • Natasha Singer, The New York Times (moderator)
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Concurrent | What Education Reporters Need to Know About the Legal System

Education reporters frequently need to find, understand and report on civil rights and First Amendment issues at schools – including related lawsuits and federal complaints. Journalists who have used legal documents to inform their reporting discuss where to look for that information and detail what kinds of stories reporters can find and how to understand what they’re seeing. Panelists also discuss the ethical issues of covering legal cases involving minors. 

  • Vanessa de León, Texas Tech University
  • Rhodesia McMillian, The Ohio State University
  • Scott Travis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  • Melissa Barragán Taboada, The Boston Globe (moderator)

Session Resource:

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Community Member Track: Reporter Roundtable

In a perennially popular session, reporters share insights into what pitches and news capture their attention — and what doesn’t. 

  • Daarel Burnette, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Marta Jewson, The Lens
  • Srishti Prabha, CapRadio
  • Dorie Turner Nolt, Dorie Turner Nolt Consulting (moderator)
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Sponsor Session: Exploring the Role of AI in K-12 Entrepreneurship Education

The rapid evolution of generative artificial intelligence is altering labor market dynamics. Hear about the workforce’s AI unreadiness and how the educational and policymaking sectors are slowly adapting to accelerate workforce preparation and set policy on AI application. Learn what policies are needed for a student-centric approach that merges youth entrepreneurship with AI in education and stimulates workforce development. (Sponsored and organized by Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.)

  • Cody Chang, Tier One AI Labs
  • Ryan Kinser, Arizona State University
  • Tara Phelps, Next Stage Strategies
  • J.D. LaRock, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (moderator)
11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Keynote Plenary
  • Miguel Cardona, U.S. Department of Education
  • Erica L. Green, The New York Times (moderator)
1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Registration – Registration Desk 1
1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent | Back of the Ballot but Center Stage: Spotlight on School Board Elections.

The outcomes of school board races this fall could shake up education policies and priorities at the local level. Amid growing distrust of public officials and decreasing civility in some communities, how does a school board’s makeup  – including race and political leanings –  influence how, what and where students learn? Discover innovative ways to deepen your coverage, from developing a candidate survey to making the most of public records. 

  • Jonathan Collins, Columbia University –> Presentation
  • Mackenzie Mays, Los Angeles Times 
  • Krista Torralva, freelance 
  • Jerry Zremski, University of Maryland –> Presentation
  • Kristen Taketa, The San Diego Union-Tribune (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent | Lessons From the Early Childhood Education Beat

Interested in covering early childhood education (ECE)? Choose your own adventure at this interactive workshop for journalists. Speakers kick off with “lightning” talks on their areas of expertise. Then, attendees have the opportunity to rotate between several roundtable discussions, where they can workshop stories, attend a mini orientation to the ECE beat, learn to incorporate complex workforce issues into coverage, or consult a national expert.

  • Moriah Balingit, The Associated Press
  • Daisy Nguyen, KQED
  • Casey Peeks, Center for American Progress 
  • Emily Tate Sullivan, EdSurge
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent | 70 Years After Brown: The Persistence of School Segregation

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, yet many of the nation’s schools remain segregated. Experts provide important historical context while grounding this issue in the present, explaining what segregation looks like today, recent legal developments and strategies to address the problem. Learn how school segregation intersects with other issues, such as housing policy and the ban on race-conscious admissions in higher education.

  • Alejandra Vázquez Baur, The Century Foundation
  • Erica Frankenberg, Pennsylvania State University 
  • Janel George, Georgetown University
  • Catherine Carrera, Chalkbeat Newark (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent | Undocumented Students: The Challenges of Getting to and Through College

Undocumented students face many barriers to accessing higher education. While many states now offer these students in-state tuition and financial aid, they can’t access federal aid. Meanwhile, proliferating anti-DEI laws threaten college support for undocumented students, and many now don’t have DACA protections. This session explores research on the needs of this diverse group, and details why it’s important that lawmakers, colleges and organizations support their access to higher education.

  • Hyein Lee, TheDream.US
  • Marcela Rodrigues, The Dallas Morning News
  • Daysi Diaz-Strong, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Sneha Dey, The Texas Tribune (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Community Member Track: AI and Its Applications for PR Professionals

Artificial intelligence is already being applied in educational contexts, such as teacher lesson planning. But for PR professionals, the possibilities of AI are just beginning to be explored. PR pros and business leaders share ways AI can help in our day-to-day work. What do we need to know to deploy this technology wisely, ethically and safely?

  • David Hoff, David J Hoff Communications
  • Maureen Kelleher, FutureEd
  • Kevin Tyler, Collaborative Communications
  • Lauren Roth, Orange County Public Schools (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Sponsor Session: Voices From America's Classrooms: Three Stories to Watch in 2024 and Beyond

Join three national education leaders as they dive into three critical issues facing today’s educators and students. First, the future is here – AI in the classroom. Then: What’s driving the false narrative of the so-called divide among parents, educators, and students? (It’s not what you think.) And finally, the politicization of public education and how taking away learning opportunities hurts public students. (Sponsored and organized by the National Education Association.)

  • Yvonne Johnson, National Parent Teacher Association
  • Erin Mote, InnovateEDU
  • Becky Pringle, National Education Association
  • Sequoia Carrillo, NPR (moderator)
2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Coffee Break
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | How to Overcome Typical Challenges on the Ed Beat

In a series of roundtables, journalists discuss challenges of getting into classrooms and strategies after getting denied, securing timely access to documents, and approaching officials who are hiding and adding student voices. They advise on dangerous or difficult situations, including violent demonstrations, online threats and in-person intimidation. Additionally, speakers share tips on surviving tight deadlines, dealing with difficult editors and refreshing annual education story ideas.

  • Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
  • Sequoia Carrillo, NPR
  • Mila Koumpilova, Chalkbeat Chicago
  • Steven Walker, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
  • Larry Gordon, EdSource (moderator)
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | Postsecondary Pathways: Choose Your Own Adventure!

For many students from low-income backgrounds, postsecondary pathways can offer a route to steady careers and social mobility. But who really gets to choose the most profitable pathways, and who’s being steered to less-desirable work? This session examines pathways as a question, not just of opportunity but equity, and shares how reporters can evaluate the programs in their communities. 

  • Marty Alvarado, Jobs for the Future
  • Jhone Ebert, Nevada Department of Education
  • Rashid Davis, Pathways in Technology Early College High School (New York)
  • Jamaal Abdul-Alim, The Conversation
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | School Political Battles: The Need for Context and Consequences in Coverage

From partisan school board elections to anti-DEI laws to efforts to limit what students can learn and read, especially about race and LGBTQ+ issues, education reporters are covering issues often driven by political extremism. Journalists who have done in-depth reporting on these battles discuss how to produce fair, accurate and nuanced reports, particularly by investigating the forces behind these efforts, centering students, and explaining the consequences of new laws and policies.

  • Nicole Carr, independent investigative journalist –> Presentation
  • Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News
  • Laura Pappano, independent education journalist –> Presentation
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | The Language of Disabilities

How do educators talk about disability within education? How can journalists include disability in their reporting, no matter the angle? This session destigmatizes talking about disabilities and provides tools for interacting with sources, educators and policymakers. Speakers provide historical context for “medical” and “social” models of disabilities and discuss how districts and states approach disabilities in schools.

  • Joyner Emerick, Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education
  • Angélica Infante-Green, Rhode Island Department of Education 
  • Christian McMahon, Arc of California
  • Jennifer LaFleur, National Center on Disability and Journalism (moderator)
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | Using Data to Cover Curriculum

For reporters covering curriculum, it can be frustrating to figure out what teachers use and how. Now, the data is available. RAND offers regular surveys of teachers, principals and superintendents that can inform coverage of curricula. Experts show reporters how to use data while covering curriculum–from social studies to algebra–while journalists provide advice on investigating questions of quality. Note: Sign up at for an interactive exercise during the session.

  • Kate Brittain, Kitamba
  • Sy Doan, RAND –> Presentation
  • Christopher Peak, APM Reports –> Presentation
  • Holly Korbey, freelance (moderator)

Session Resource:

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Sponsor Session: Is It Possible to Stay Elected as a Pro-Charter Democrat?

Running for elected office as a pro-charter Democrat means navigating the tension between supporting traditional schools while advocating for more seats for underserved youth in high-quality charter schools. What resources do charters need to thrive and serve more Black and brown students, a core Democratic constituency? Gain a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing pro-charter leaders as they navigate education reform. (Sponsored and organized by the Charter School Growth Fund.)

  • State Sen. James Coleman, Colorado State Senate
  • Margaret Fortune, Fortune School
  • State Rep. Chris Mathias, Idaho House of Representatives
  • Former Georgia Rep. Alisha Thomas Searcy, Democrats for Education Reform
  • Darryl Cobb, Charter School Growth Fund (moderator)
4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Developing a Feature Reporting Mindset

What does it take to create a compelling narrative story? It’s not just writing chops. An award-winning writer walks journalists through reporting techniques that can help them become great storytellers.

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Caucuses and Small-Group Meetings

Colleagues with common interests come together in this collection of community-building meetings. Conference participants share tips, discuss challenges and get to know each other.

Children and Families 

Journalists will network and share resources for expanding coverage of children and families in education reporting.

  • Marie Holmes, HuffPost (facilitator)

Covering Suburban Schools 

This caucus provides reporters with the tools and insights needed to navigate the complexities of suburban education coverage. From demographic shifts to debates over discipline and curriculum reform, dive into the critical issues shaping suburban education.

  • Dayna Muñiz, University of Pennsylvania 
  • Decoteau Irby, University of Illinois,Chicago
  • Benjamin Herold, independent journalist (facilitator)

Education Research Cohort 

Members of the fall 2023 Reporting with Education Research cohort will gather to discuss lessons learned and challenges ahead.

  • Denise-Marie Ordway, The Journalist’s Resource

Bridging the Gap: Increasing Latino Journalists’ Representation on the Ed Beat 

This critical, bilingual discussion sheds light on the significant underrepresentation of Latino journalists covering Hispanic communities in education and the far-reaching implications. Open to all conference attendees.

  • Maritza L. Félix, Conecta Arizona
  • Sergio Martínez-Beltrán, NPR
  • Beatríz Limón, Arizona Luminaria  
  • José Martinez, CBS News Bay Area (facilitator)
6 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Reception for Category Awards
6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Category Awards Ceremony
Day 3 - Friday, May 31
7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Registration – Registration Desk 1
7:45 a.m. – 9 a.m.
8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Covering Campus Protests
A nationwide wave of campus protests erupted this spring, largely driven by concern over widespread suffering in Gaza from Israeli military strikes during the Israel-Hamas war. Several colleges, citing safety concerns, brought in the local police. Colleges plunged into turmoil as thousands were arrested. Student journalists provided on-the-ground coverage. Reporters discuss the student protests, how best to cover them and, come fall, what speech on campus might look like. Note: Bring your breakfast from The Mirage Theater Foyer.
  • Maggie Hicks, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Neil Mehta, The Brown Daily Herald
  • Michael Elsen-Rooney, Chalkbeat New York
  • Daarel Burnette, The Chronicle of Higher Education (moderator)
8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Breakfast Caucus | Expanding the Beat: Topics in Rural Education 

 Note: Bring your breakfast from The Mirage Theater Foyer.

Samantha Hernandez, Des Moines Register (facilitator)

9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Concurrent | After X: Social Media for Education Journalists in the Post-Twitter World

How can reporters find new social media avenues for sourcing, sharing their work, and building audience engagement? Two expert journalists share insights, tips, and strategies for leveraging a variety of platforms, in new and unexpected ways. Reporters leave with a take-home worksheet to strategize their next steps, tailored to their individual needs and audiences.

  • Nichole Dobo, The Hechinger Report
  • Elite Truong, American Press Institute
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Concurrent | How Can Schools Best Support New Immigrant Students?

Since last fall, enrollment has increased at many school districts as immigrant students have arrived. Cities like New York, Chicago and Denver are addressing the evolving needs of these newcomers, including mental health and language services. What does genuine support for these children and their families look like? Journalists, experts and researchers discuss financial investments from the state and federal level and share stories reporters should cover about newcomer students.

  • Alejandra Vázquez Baur, The Century Foundation
  • Hannah Liu, Center for Law and Social Policy 
  • Zaidee Stavely, EdSource
  • Reema Amin, Chalkbeat Chicago (moderator)
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Concurrent | Involving High School Journalists in Education Coverage

In New York City, the media capital of the world, only about one in four public high schools has a student news outlet. The Bell and Chalkbeat New York are helping to fill the journalism opportunity gap with P.S. Weekly, a student-hosted podcast about local schools. Meet the youth-adult team behind this exciting new reporting model. Learn how they manage the collaboration and get inspired to involve students in your own reporting.

  • Shoaa Khan, student journalist
  • Taylor McGraw, The Bell 
  • Jose Santana, student journalist
  • Alex Zimmerman, Chalkbeat New York
  • Sabrina DuQuesnay, The Bell (moderator)

Session Resource:

9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Concurrent | The Equity Work Ahead After the End of Race-Conscious Admissions

It’s been a year since the Supreme Court effectively banned colleges from using race-based admissions policies. How are colleges working to diversify their campuses, or how should they? How have students been impacted? Hear from admissions experts, journalists and a recent college graduate about the work ahead at colleges and across the education sector to ensure equal access to higher education for all students.

  • Rose Arce, Soledad O’Brien Productions
  • David Hawkins, National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Kedra Ishop, University of Southern California
  • Alphina Kamara, TeenSHARP
  • Liz Willen, The Hechinger Report (moderator)
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Concurrent | The Evolving and Expanding Role of the School Principal

School leaders have always worn multiple hats. Today, they also must grapple with student behavioral issues, chronic absenteeism, safety concerns, and mental health challenges. How has a school leader’s role shifted over time to meet evolving student and educator needs? Hear directly from experienced school principals leading the charge.

  • Michael A. Randolph, Leesburg High School (Florida)
  • Natasha Singer, The New York Times
  • Chris Young, North Country Union High School (Vermont)
  • Olina Banerji, Education Week (moderator)
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Community Member Track: What’s Hot, What’s Not

X or Threads? Podcast or op-ed? Press release or brand journalism? Peddle an op-ed or promote a Twitter thread? Is the science of reading still a thing? Does school choice still matter? What about student loans? A perennial National Seminar fave is back. We look at what’s in and what’s out in today’s education communications ecosystem.

  • Adan Garcia, Leading Educators 
  • Gretchen Wright, WestEd 
  • Moderator: Patrick Riccards, Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement
10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Coffee Break
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Concurrent | Black Girls Matter, Too: Over Punished and Under Supported

Contrary to popular reporting, the disparate treatment of Black students is not only racial; it is also gendered. Black girls make up 15% of female students, yet they account for 47% of girls receiving corporal punishment and 43% of those expelled. Experts discuss the unique overlap of race and gender biases Black girls face in schools, ways to support Black girls and how to tell more – and better – Black girls’ stories.

  • Teresa Lawrence Jones, Glenbard Township High School District 87 (Illinois)
  • Sydney McKinney, National Black Women’s Justice Institute –> Presentation 
  • G’Yanna Perry, Code Switch: Restorative Justice for Girls of Color
  • Venus E. Evans-Winters, The Ohio State University
  • Melinda D. Anderson, independent journalist (moderator)
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Concurrent | Could Editing Be Your Next Step?

Do you love being a journalist but want to try something beyond beat reporting? Do you want to help other journalists do their best work, drive impact over more stories, and shape your publication’s coverage and priorities? If you’re thinking about making a transition from reporter to editor but aren’t sure where to start, this session is for you. Hear advice on growth opportunities and making the leap into management.

  • Nirvi Shah, The Hechinger Report 
  • Eric Stirgus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Melissa Barragán Taboada, The Boston Globe
  • Asher Lehrer-Small, Houston Landing (moderator)
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Concurrent | Decoding the Student Loan Repayment Landscape

After a three-year pause, federal student loan payments are back. But the situation is far from simple: Millions of borrowers have not yet made their first repayment. Who are those borrowers, and why haven’t they begun paying off their debt? What is the impact of the Biden administration’s new income-driven repayment plan (SAVE)? Reporters and experts share insights that help reporters make sense of all the complicated developments and tell stories that are both accessible and actionable.

  • Celina Damian, California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation
  • Betsy Mayotte, The Institute of Student Loan Advisors
  • Cory Turner, NPR
  • Alia Wong, USA TODAY (moderator) –> Presentation
10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Concurrent | Do’s and Don’ts of Covering Trans Issues in Education

Students returned to schools this year to dozens of new anti-LGBTQ+ laws. And increasingly, federal policy interpretations, politicians and school boards have turned an eye toward LGBTQ+ students. What’s politics, and what’s fact? How do we report the implementation and consequences of new laws? What public records exist? What groups and movements have driven the political work that brought us here? Whose voices are missing, and how do we reach them?

  • Beth Hawkins, The 74
  • Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News
  • Justin Myers, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Kae Petrin, Chalkbeat (moderator)
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Concurrent | How I Did the (School Choice) Story: Homeschooling and Beyond

Homeschooling, Education Savings Accounts, microschools and other school choice topics are becoming more prominent in education coverage. What are the best ways to cover them, and what reporting techniques should be used?

  • Annie Martin, Orlando Sentinel –> Presentation
  • Laura Meckler, The Washington Post –> Presentation
  • Leslie Postal, Orlando Sentinel
  • Meghan Mangrum, Piedmont Media (moderator)
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Concurrent | Student Data Privacy Part 1: Hacking Into a District: What Reporters Should Know

Clark County School District in Nevada–the nation’s fifth-largest district–faced a cyberattack last fall with 200,000 student profiles leaked. Though the security of student data is always at risk, this breach was unique. It involved attempted extortion, hacker contact with local news and muddled communication to families and students. Cyberattacks are often confusing and complex. Experts and reporters offer a guide to how reporters can best cover this and other data privacy issues.

  • Bill Fitzgerald, Global Cyber Alliance
  • Rocio Hernandez, The Nevada Independent 
  • Kathy Moore, The 74 (moderator)
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Sponsor Session | Reporting on a Mass School Shooting in Your Hometown

After the Robb Elementary School shooting, journalists at the Uvalde Leader-News reported on the fallout that affected every city institution. Journalists there relied on facts and long-standing relationships to push for transparency. Staff at the Leader News will discuss their coverage, including how they balanced sensitivity with the need for accountability, why their coverage goals differed from the national media, and reporting challenges they faced. (Sponsored and organized by SXSW EDU.)

  • Melissa Federspill, assistant managing editor
  • Meghann Garcia, managing editor
  • Craig Garnett, owner and publisher
  • Pete Luna, general manager and photojournalist
  • Megan Hundahl-Streete, freelance national news journalist (moderator)
11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
11:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Awards Announcement Lunch

After lunch, awards will for given out for the EGF Accelerator’s Eddie Prize, the Ronald Moskowitz Prize for Outstanding Beat Reporting, and the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting.

11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Lunch Caucus | Journalists Only – LGBTQ+ Reporter Caucus

Journalists with shared and intersectional identities are invited to network, troubleshoot industry issues and build community with others on the education beat. Open to journalist members only. Note: Bring your breakfast from The Mirage Theater Foyer.

  • Randy Slovacek, The Randy Report (facilitator)
1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Registration – Registration Desk 1
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent | A Look at Out-of-School Time and Academic Recovery

Out-of-school time programs, including after-school and summer learning, received unprecedented attention – and funds – in the years following pandemic-era school closures. How far have these programs moved the needle on academic recovery? Will the end of ESSER funds impede progress that’s been made thus far?

  • Miles Davison, Northwest Evaluation Association
  • Kari Denissen Cunnien, Ignite Afterschool
  • Georgia Hall, National Institute on Out-of-School Time
  • Patrick O’Donnell, independent journalist (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
How I Did the Story With Student Journalists and Awards Finalists

Student journalism is more critical than ever as schools nationwide face a multitude of issues, including student protests and challenges to curricula and books. College and high school reporters offer on-the-ground coverage of their fellow students, teachers and institutions. Student reporters break down their coverage, discuss the dual experience of being a student and a reporter and offer tips on how best to elevate student voice.

  • Miles Herszenhorn, Harvard Crimson
  • Jose Santana, The Bell –> Presentation 
  • Dasia Williams, Open Campus –> Presentation
  • Jennifer Thomas, Howard University (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent | Select Shortages to Looming Layoffs: Reporting on the Teacher Workforce

Teacher shortages continue to be a challenge in certain geographic and subject areas. Turnover rates have fallen, but they still remain above pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, school districts may be forced to conduct layoffs when federal pandemic-relief funds expire. In this session, get a handle on the current state of the teacher workforce, suggestions on storylines to follow and tips for putting trends in context.

  • Audra DeRidder, Iron Mountain Public Schools (Michigan)
  • Sy Doan, RAND 
  • Dan Goldhaber, American Institutes for Research/University of Washington 
  • Madeline Will, Education Week (moderator)

Session Resource

1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent | Student Data Privacy Part 2: Regulating Facial Recognition in Schools

Last fall, the New York Department of Education made national headlines after the state banned the use of facial recognition technology in schools. Meanwhile, technology surveillance companies routinely pitch facial recognition as a security measure for schools districts nationwide. What should reporters know when it comes to the use and effectiveness of this technology? Journalists and experts discuss the new landscape of school security, data privacy and how best to report on these issues.

  • Renee Cheatham, Lockport New Beginnings Inc.
  • Stefanie Coyle, New York Civil Liberties Union
  • Anna Merod, K-12 Drive (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Community Member Track: DEI in Ed: Communications, Public Opinion and the Law – What You Need to Know

This session uses a legal and communications lens to examine the current anti-DEI movement and its impact on education. It breaks down new laws shaping education today, highlights the latest in public opinion research, and explores how different communities are impacted. Communicators receive a fuller picture of the current narrative and explore concrete messages and strategies for operating in this new climate.

  • Kamali Burke, Fenton
  • Nicolle Grayson, EdTrust
  • Robert Kim, Education Law Center
  • Erica Parker, The Harris Poll
  • Daria Hall, Fenton (moderator)
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Sponsor Session: ​​Parents as Students Too: 'Raising Up' Stories That Connect Across Beats

Following a 15-minute screening of a new short film series chronicling the experiences of college students raising kids, a panel of local and national journalists will share insights on covering student parents. This session provides a range of entry points into an under-reported topic that spans many beats – higher ed, early learning, racial equity, reproductive rights and economic mobility – and affects communities across the country. (Sponsored and organized by Imaginable Futures.)

  • Elissa Nadworny, NPR
  • Valeria Olivares, The Dallas Morning News
  • Nirvi Shah, The Hechinger Report
  • Jenn Clark, Imaginable Futures (moderator)
3 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Coffee Break
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | Covering Education as a Broadcast Journalist

A $50,000 camera isn’t necessary to tell powerful stories. Go beyond sitting, listening and taking notes in this session: Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards-winning broadcast journalists move around the room, laugh and help you grow. Watch stories with creative video; take out your phone and learn to shoot better video. Plus, learn how GoPros and smartphones can supplement or become the sole camera to create powerful, professional broadcast stories.

  • Mike Castellucci, Michigan State University
  • Mark Muller, NBC Universal Local
  • Wayne Carter, NBCUniversal Local (moderator)
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | ‘I’m Not Good at Math.’

Test scores have dramatically declined in math – far more than in reading – as a result of the pandemic. And parents say they’re most worried about whether their kids are learning the subject. A panel of journalists and experts describe what’s at stake and offer tips on the best way to cover math education issues, including focusing on equity and how to get beyond the ‘math wars.’

  • Melodie Baker, Just Equations
  • Jo Napolitano, The 74
  • Sharon Lurye, The Associated Press 
  • Joe Hong, Spencer Fellow (moderator)

Session Resource:

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Student Data Privacy Part 3: How I Did the Story

AI chatbots, teletherapy apps for students, virtual tutoring services and the College Board all have something in common–and it’s not just education. They collect and save data, especially educational technology companies that provide products students use. How can reporters best cover student data privacy? Journalists dive into their reporting and offer tips.

  • Skylar Rispens, EdScoop 
  • Arijit Sen, CBS News
  • Ashley White, The Acadiana Advocate 
  • Kathy Moore, The 74 (moderator) 
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent | What Would Make College Feel Like a Less Risky Bet?

Surveys continue to show that many Americans question the value of a college degree. What’s driving that perception? What are policymakers and colleges doing to make higher education degrees more relevant and affordable? Hear from experts and journalists about the public’s perception of college value, what actions by policymakers and colleges might change those views, and how students are impacted by those perceptions.

  • Beth Akers, American Enterprise Institute
  • Sneha Dey, The Texas Tribune
  • Sophie Nguyen, New America
  • Stephen Perez, California State University, Chico
  • Eric Kelderman, The Chronicle of Higher Education (moderator)
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Sponsor Session: Rethinking Burnout: Real Solutions to Keep Teachers in the Classroom

Stories of staffing shortages and job-related stress abound. But hope is emerging as educators reclaim their wellbeing and rejuvenate their passion for teaching. The AFT, in collaboration with Educators Thriving, is tackling burnout by offering tailored personal development programs and empowering educators to define their measures of wellbeing. Hear how this program is making a difference in one district and how it’s spreading. (Sponsored and organized by the American Federation of Teachers.)

  • Tiffany Dittrich, White Bear Lake Area Educators (Minnesota)
  • Alison Gillespie, White Bear Lake Area Schools (Minnesota)
  • Tyler Hester, Educators Thriving
  • Fedrick C. Ingram, AFT, AFL-CIO
  • Kristen Griffith, The Baltimore Banner (moderator)
4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Caucuses and Small-Group Meetings

Colleagues with common interests come together in this collection of community-building meetings. Conference participants share tips, discuss challenges and get to know each other.

Burnout on the Ed Beat: What It Is, What It Means

Journalists experience a rising rate of burnout. Join for discussion on what burnout is, what it isn’t, and conversation on how the profession can better support journalists facing the syndrome. 

  • Naseem Miller, The Journalist’s Resource (co-facilitator)
  • Jewél Jackson, Illinois Answers Project (facilitator)

Figuring Out Freelance 

Interested in freelancing full or part time? Get notes on the business of freelancing in journalism.

  • CD Davidson-Hiers, Education Writers Association (facilitator)

Journalist Only – Networking and Connecting: Asian American Journalist Caucus 

Journalists with shared and intersectional identities are invited to network, troubleshoot issues in the industry and build community with others on the education beat. Open to journalist members only.

  • Joe Hong, Spencer Fellow (facilitator)

Journalist Only – Networking and Connecting: Black Journalist Caucus 

Journalists with shared and intersectional identities are invited to network, troubleshoot issues in the industry and build community with others on the education beat. Open to journalist members only.

  • Wayne Carter, NBCUniversal

Journalist Only – Caucus: Covering Indigenous Education

This caucus provides reporters with the tools and insights needed to navigate reporting on Indigenous communities, education and topics that matter to Indigenous audiences.

  • Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, Tulsa World (facilitator)
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Sponsor Receptions
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York
Day 4 - Saturday, June 1
7:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Registration – Registration Desk 1
8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
8 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Membership Meeting
8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Site Visit | Clark County Wetlands Park

Join a guided walk of the 210-acre nature preserve, which includes a wildlife habitat as well as an outdoor classroom for scientific studies and educational programs for all ages. Space is limited.

8:45 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Site Visit | Microschooling in Nevada

Participants visit the Nevada School of Inquiry, a microschool for grades 6-8, and meet with officials from several microschools in the Las Vegas area. They also have the opportunity to interview parents and students. Coffee and donuts are provided. (Nevada School of Inquiry, 7375 S. Pecos Rd. Suite 104, Las Vegas)

9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Deep Dive | K-12 School Finance

The Politics of School Funding 

Who crafts a state’s school funding formula? Who approves state and district budgets for schools? Who adopts policies and legislation that have financial implications for schools? All of these decisions rest in the hands of elected officials, making school funding an inherently political issue. Learn about the various ways in which politics and school funding intersect, what it means for students and how to cover the impact of these decisions.

Spotlight on School Finance: Breaking Down 7 Key Issues  

During this session, experts discuss a wide range of topics at the intersection of school finance and politics. In a series of TED-style talks, reporters learn about pressing school finance issues, including the relationship between district boundary lines and the availability of resources, litigation as a tool for political pressure, the financial impact of private school choice programs and the equity implications of school closures. 

  • Samuel Abrams, University of Colorado –> Presentation
  • Ary Amerikaner, Brown’s Promise –> Presentation
  • Derek Black, University of South Carolina
  • Jhone Ebert, Nevada Department of Education –> Presentation
  • Robert Kim, Education Law Center –> Presentation
  • Francis Pearman, Stanford University 
  • Michael Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Institute –> Presentation
  • Matt Barnum, The Wall Street Journal (moderator)

How I Did the (School Finance) Story 

An unusually high threshold to pass school bonds, making it impossible for districts to repair or replace their crumbling buildings. A failed effort to establish education savings accounts that cost schools additional funding. A state school funding formula that remains unfair, despite a fix intended to address inequality in the system. Hear from journalists who tackled these stories, including their tips for reporting on how politics affects school funding and the school-level impact.

  • Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera, The Texas Tribune –> Presentation
  • Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio –> Presentation 
  • Becca Savransky, Idaho Statesman –> Presentation
  • Eric Stirgus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (moderator)
9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Deep Dive | Higher Education

Who Is Disappearing From College and Why? 

As colleges across the country continue to deal with new challenges–from mounting political pressure to enrollment declines–it’s time to re-evaluate who is going to college and who is not. Researchers, journalists, faculty members and other experts discuss changing student demographics, barriers to postsecondary education and the ways in which colleges can better serve all students.   

Redefining College: The New Face of College Students

As nearly three quarters of students enrolled in higher education are considered “nontraditional,” it’s time to cover that group in a more nuanced way. As the new majority, many of these students left school for a short or extended period of time without graduating and now face competing priorities while pursuing higher education. Journalists, experts and administrators discuss how colleges can better serve adult and returning learners. 

  • Aisha Brown, Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • Stephen Perez, California State University, Chico
  • Empress Powers, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Adam Echelman, CalMatters (moderator)

Missing Men on Campuses: Answering the Gender Gap 

It is not a secret that college enrollment has seen a decline of men, especially men of color. But why is college not as appealing to men today? How can colleges better support this demographic? Experts, journalists and researchers examine solutions to the gender gap and outline story ideas for reporters to pursue.

  • Jairon Castellanos Boteo, Truckee Meadows Community College
  • Adrian Huerta, University of Southern California
  • Wesley Wright, Open Campus (moderator)

Two-Generation Solutions 

More than a quarter of all undergraduate students are raising dependent children. What systemic barriers prevent pregnant and parenting students from completing college and obtaining a degree? How can universities not only protect student parents’ access to postsecondary education, but also support academic and developmental outcomes for their little ones?

  • Traci Lewis, The Ohio State University
  • Maria Tucker, Jeremiah Program
  • Jennifer Turner, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
  • Adam Echelman, CalMatters (moderator)
9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Deep Dive | Covering Education With an Investigative Lens

Covering Education With an Investigative Lens 

The education beat is rich and complex – and loaded with potential investigative stories. The session explores how to make investigative techniques a routine part of your coverage, how to make time for a long-term investigation while dealing with daily requirements and how to find the dollars to finance your project.

Making Investigative Techniques Routine 

The best way to uncover wrongdoing, spot patterns and dig out problematic practices is by incorporating investigative methods into your regular practice. Journalists walk  through some of the routines you need, including strategies to file FOIAs and review lawsuits.

  • Erin Einhorn, independent journalist –> Presentation
  • Brandi Kellam, Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism at WHRO –> Presentation
  • Christopher Peak, APM Reports –> Presentation 
  • Denise Zapata, CalMatters (moderator)

Making Room for a Big Project During the Daily Grind 

What are some ways to map out a long-term investigation or project you would like to explore while covering teacher strikes and school board meetings? Journalists describe their stories and how they made the time and got their editors to buy in.

  • Lily Altavena, Detroit Free Press
  • Deanna Pan, The Boston Globe
  • Marcela Rodrigues, The Dallas Morning News
  • Elliott Robinson, Virginia Public Media (moderator)

Finding Money to Fund the Big Investigation 

So you’ve discovered a questionable expense or practice, but your newsroom doesn’t have the funds to cover data crunching, travel or even an extra body to give you some time to focus. Funding is out there – you need to know how and where to apply.

  • Eric Ferrero, Fund for Investigative Journalism –> Presentation
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.