The LA School Report has long been a partisan supporter of charters, Deasy, Broad, and all other parts of the privatization agenda. Under a new editor, the LA School Report became a neutral source. Now that editor has announced he is leaving because the LA School Report has merged with Campbell Brown’s “The 74.” The publication was founded by Jamie Alter Lynton, sister of major ed reformer Jonathan Alter and wife of Sony executive Michael Lynton. With the Broad Foundation funding education coverage at the Los Angeles Times and “The 74” controlling the editorial views of the LA School Report, there will be a dearth of unbiased reporting in the city. This happens at the same time that Eli Broad proposes to take control of half the children in the city’s public schools. When we lose the free press, our democracy is in trouble.
From a long string of messages, beginning with an email written by Steve Zimmer, President of the LAUSD school board:
On 2/1/16 12:14 AM, Zimmer, Steven wrote:
I am deeply saddened, angered and concerned.
As you know, we have often disagreed and sometimes vigorously. But through it all, you have maintained a commitment to the integrity of your profession and of the School Report. Under your leadership, the blog regained credibility and became an important element of the public’s understanding of public education in Los Angeles. It is no small thing that you gained my trust and confidence even though I knew Ms. Linton still wrote the checks that funded the publication. Our interpersonal trust, which you never once betrayed, is a testimony to your skills but more so to your person.
Much more important, you approach this work with the dignity and weight our kids, their families and their dreams demand. You always were careful to respect the teaching profession and the 80,000 public employees who put kids first every day in this district. This is not a game to you and the serious lens you applied to every story strengthened confidence in a publication that was, under Mr. Russo, little more than an amplifier for the orthodox corporate reform movement.
I thank you for your service and your efforts to bring a measure of objectivity to a press corps that now seems more intent on making news in public education than on reporting it. You do not deserve to be treated this way. Our students, their families, their teachers and their school communities deserve better.
Lastly, I ask you to consider not walking away. We cannot give up on objective coverage and analysis of public education in Los Angeles and across the country. It is no accident that Campbell Brown is coming to join Eli Broad in the effort to dismantle LAUSD and eviscerate democratically elected school boards and public sector unions across the nation. Now that the Los Angeles Times education coverage is funded by Broad, Wasserman, and Baxter and that the School Report will now be controlled by Brown and her funders, truth itself as it relates to public education in Los Angeles will be filtered through an orthodox reform lens at every turn. After the Times editorial leadership essentially told me that agenda was as important as accuracy in their coverage of the Board and of the district, I knew we were in a different place. Tonight, I understand that even more.
But being in a place and accepting that place are two different things. I hope you will engage with me and others who care about the future of public education and the future of journalism as we try to figure out what to do next. You and I both know this is way too important to do nothing.
Thank you again, my friend.
From: Michael Janofsky [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2016 11:01 PM
To: Zimmer, Steven; Haber, Shannon; Jones, Barbara A.; Holmquist, David (OGC); Ref Rodriguez; Aman, Aixle; Alex Caputo Pearl; Jason Mandell; Vladovic, Richard; Ratliff, Monica; Vizcarra, Claudia; Pollard-Terry, Gayle; Blanca Gallegos; Wells, Frank; Alberto Retana; Sara Mooney; email@example.com; Ama Nyamekye; Dan Chang; Vanessa Romo; Naush Boghossian; John Deasy; Mckenna, George; Garcia, Monica (Board Member); Schmerelson, Scott M.; Crain, Jefferson; Manny Rivera; Catherine Suitor; Maria Brenes; Glenn Gritzner; Jenny Hontz
Subject: A change at LA School Report
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.