Columbia Journalism School
  • Education_reporting_conference
  • Education_reporting_conference

Professional Reporting Fellowships


A Columbia Journalism School professional reporting fellowship

Sponsored by the Southern Education Foundation

Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center

Atlanta, Georgia

Oct. 11-13, 2013

Zero Tolerance policies are on the increase across the country, especially in urban school districts that serve predominantly minority student populations. These policies lead to high suspension rates that push students out of school. The problem is particularly acute in the South, where schools have significantly higher suspension and dropout rates than other parts of the country, according to findings of the Southern Education Foundation.

This workshop, intended for education, justice and mental health reporters, will examine the dimensions and causes of the problem and will highlight successful solutions.

The fellowship covers a hotel for two nights along with an opening dinner and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Application deadline EXTENDED to Sept. 20, 2013.


For more information, please contact Barbara Kantrowitz, associate director, continuing education



The Age Boom Academy

Sept. 8 – 10, 2013

Aging in America: The Costs and Benefits

Columbia Journalism School and Mailman School of Public Health

In the last century, U.S. life expectancy at birth has jumped almost 30 years to age 74.  At age 65, Americans can typically expect to live another 20 years.  Growing longevity and increased early retirement mean that wage earners make up a decreasing share of the population. In 1960, one in 11 Americans was over 65.  By 2020, it’s expected to be one in 6. And there aren’t just more older adults; more of them are older older adults, likely to need more expensive health care.

But older adults do not live isolated on some other planet.  When they write their wills, the bequests benefit their families. When they outlive their savings, it’s families who are called on to make up the difference, even while bearing college costs.  In many cases, Social Security and pensions checks shore up families. 

Increasingly, journalists are facing the challenges on how authentically to cover this growing sector of society and the many new approaches people are finding to handling life changes.  Obviously, people turning 65 are not suddenly collapsing into infirmity.  They are living longer and stronger.  And they are supporting families, expanding their educations and enlisting in new forms of work, offsetting at least some of the costs of getting older.

This Age Boom Academy will provide the research and discussion to help journalists explore how to expand their reporting on the millions of “wellderly” and the smaller number of “illderly” that, for the most part, make up the aging narrative.

Limited to 15-20 participants, the program will offer information from experts in the field into the generational issues of growing older within and outside of family life.  It will delve into the economic power of the older consumer, ranging from buying a cruise to warding off a scam.  And it will provide opportunities to brainstorm how to  create and pitch stories that define the aging identity and defy the stereotypes. For more, see the Age Boom agenda (downloaded to your computer).

Columbia University will provide up to three hotel nights on Sept. 7, 8, and 9 for those who register before Aug. 8.  Please indicate hotel need on the registration site. Attendees are responsible for arranging and paying for any additional nights and for all hotel incidentals.  Funds for economy travel are available for a limited number of attendees. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for a travel scholarship when applying.  All travel must be booked through Columbia University's agent. Local transportation and meals outside of the conference are attendee responsibilities.

Dinner will be provided Sunday night with breakfast and lunch available on Monday and Tuesday at the conference sites.



Contact: Arlene Morgan, associate dean of prizes & programs,


The Politics of Aging

December 9-10, 2012

Columbia Journalism School & The Mailman School of Public Health

The Journalism School and the Mailman School of Public Health will hold a post-election seminar, "The Politics of Aging," on Sunday and Monday, Dec. 9 & 10.  The program is part of the Age Boom Series, created by the International Longevity Center, part of the Mailman School.   Hotel expenses will be provided for 20 journalists who apply by the Nov. 26 deadline.  Registration for those not requiring a hotel room is open until Dec. 1.  Led by Mailman Dean Linda Fried, the seminar is designed to connect reporters and editors covering health care reform, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security with experts in the field who are appraising the effects of the November election.

Arlene Morgan, associate dean of prizes & programs


Covering Youth Violence:
Lessons from the Front Lines

October 25-26, 2012

University Center, Chicago
Sponsored by the McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute program
Youth Violence Agenda

The city of Chicago has made national headlines in the past few months because of an alarming epidemic of gun violence involving young people.  Community leaders, educators and police officials have been trying to stem this violence with innovative approaches both inside and outside of schools.  This two-day workshop will look at some of those efforts and talk about how reporters can cover youth violence in a sophisticated way.  Speakers include Alex Kotlowitz, producer of The Interrupters, a film about gang violence; Carl Bell, M.D., of the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Jens Ludgwig, director of The University of Chicago Crime Lab; Theodore Corbin, M.D., co-director of the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice in Philadelphia, and John Sullivan of the Medill School at Northwestern University, the lead reporter on The Philadelphia Inquirer's Pulitzer Prize-winning series about violence in the Philadelphia schools.

This Columbia Journalism School workshop is intended for justice, mental health and education reporters based in the U.S.

Hotel rooms provided for 20 out-of-town applicants.

For more information:

Barbara Kantrowitz, associate director, continuing education

Unfinished Journey:
Why do so many low-income students drop out of college?

The U.S. used to lead the world in the number of young people with college degrees. Now, we rank 12th among 36 developed nations, according to a recent study by the College Board. The problem is not getting into college; almost 70 percent of high school grads enroll in college within two years of graduating. But staying in long enough to get a diploma is becoming more and more difficult, especially for low-income students who are a rapidly growing segment of the population. Only about 8 percent actually graduate from college. The rest are left with crushing debt and no degree. This Columbia Journalism School workshop, intended for education and business reporters, will include presentations by researchers who have studied the problem and site visits to organizations that are offering solutions.

May 4-5, 2012
Sponsored by The Edwin Gould Foundation
Hotel rooms provided for 20 out-of-town applicants

For more information:
Barbara Kantrowitz, associate director, continuing education

Workshop on the coverage of aging

The Age Boom Academy:
Covering the myths and realities of aging in America

A joint program by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
and the Graduate School of Journalism’s Continuing Education Program

March 21-25, 2012
Sponsored by the Atlantic Philanthropies, AARP and The New York Times
Tentative Agenda

For more information:
Barbara Kantrowitz, associate director, continuing education


Workshops on urban education from
The New York Times Institute Fellowship on Education Reporting

Pass/Fail: The Truth About Testing

October 28-29, 2011
A New York Times/Atlantic Philanthropies Workshop for Education Reporters and Editors

Fights over high-stakes standardized testing of students continue around the country. Now, a new controversy rages: the use of student scores on standardized tests to grade the performance of individual teachers. Based on scores, students can be held back, teachers can be fired and schools can be closed. Yet profound questions plague unfettered testing. Are the tests statistically reliable? Is high-stakes testing politically feasible? And are the tests educationally sound?

The two-day intensive workshop will tackle these questions and more. Educators, testing experts and veteran journalists will gather to discuss how to report on test design, innovation in testing and cheating, and whether widespread use of standardized tests can trigger reforms that will eventually narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor.

Hotels and workshop admission fees for 15 participants are covered by the grant.

Apply now to be a New York Times Fellow
To apply, email a one-page statement explaining why you want to attend, along with three examples of your work to: Barbara Kantrowitz ( The application deadline is Oct. 17.

Private Money, Public Schools

May 14-15, 2011
A New York Times Institute Workshop on Education funded by a grant from the
Atlantic Philanthropies
Workshop agenda
Thank you for your interest in this workshop. The application deadline has passed.

Private foundations contribute only a small fraction of the more than $500 billion spent annually on America’s public schools but they have come to exercise a new level of influence on public education policy – from Washington on down to local districts. Many of the education “reforms” currently pushed by the Obama administration were initially promoted and popularized with the help of foundation money. On the local level, many districts that receive foundation help find their curriculum and hiring practices shaped by their funders’ goals. With a few exceptions, journalists have not done much to examine how well this critical connection functions to improve education. This workshop will give reporters the tools to cover these stories. Presenters will include representatives of foundations, schools and the educational research community.

Hotels and workshop admission fees for 15 participants are covered by the grant.

Good Schools/Bad Schools?

Too many urban schools fail the students they are supposed to help, but a few educators are showing that reform can make a huge difference.

How can journalists report on the often contentious debate over the best way to improve education for poor kids? That was the theme of “Good Schools/Bad Schools: A Workshop on Urban Education” held at Columbia Journalism School from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2010.

Nearly four dozen reporters from news organizations around the country – including USA Today, ABC News, The New York Daily News, and Patch – listened to researchers and practitioners comment on federal education policy, the future of teaching, the racial achievement gap, the importance of preschool, the influence of charter schools, ways to help drop-outs and how to analyze educational research.

The workshop, known as The New York Times Institute on Education Reporting, was funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Spencer Foundation.

Full agenda and presenters’ websites



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