Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Say It Ain't So Elizabeth

We knew it was coming. Still, it was a shock see this headline in today's NY Times:

Losing Money, New York Sun Is to Shut Down


Yes, the home base of Elizabeth Green, the best education reporter I've seen in NYC, is publishing its last issue today. Elizabeth is quoted in the article:

“I don’t think it’s going to be hard for people to remember the role of this newspaper,” said Elizabeth Green, an education reporter who had worked for The Sun for 16 months. She defined that role as “people committed to having a substantial conversation and holding our leaders accountable.”

And she certainly did hold them accountable. That the conservative NY Sun allowed her such free reign to write comprehensive articles that so often nailed issues that the other papers were ignoring is remarkable.

From her first days in NYC, she scouted out all the players on the ed scene, not just the spokespeople. She even reached out to the ICE as an opposition caucus to the Unity dominated UFT to get our point of view even if she didn't always use our quotes. She got to know everybody on the scene, often meeting them for breakfast (I'm still waiting for mine.)

She was probably the only reporter who had direct access to Eduwonkette when she was anonymous and everyone was trying to expose her. Elizabeth inspired a level of trust even among teachers who so often mistrust reporters and when there was a story brewing, many of us handed it off to her.

In our last conversation she said she didn't want to leave the education beat, something which so many reporters who finally get to know the local scene end up doing.

Here's hoping Elizabeth Green is grabbed up by someone, hopefully in NYC. But if she's not given the room to roam she had with the Sun, it would all be a waste. I told her that if she ever got to work for the NY Times, I would bet she would find limits on her ability to expose BloomKlein because they seem to have a dog in the race.

So here's the challenge to the NY Times education editor. Hire Elizabeth Green and turn her loose. If they do, I expect to get that breakfast Elizabeth owes me.

Update:
See Leonie Haimson's tribute to Elizabeth Green:

On the blog, I write about the loss of Erin Einhorn, Mike Meenan, and now Elizabeth Green– and also recaps some of Elizabeth’s greatest hits

Education beat losing its best reporters...and now Elizabeth Green.

6 comments:

  1. I agree with Ed Notes one thousand percent. Elizabeth Green wrote the most in-depth, expose of the Klein administration. She along with Andrew Wolf hit the nail on the head when they exposed the myths of the Bloomberg administration. Check out Wolf's last opinion page in yesterdays Sun. I hope they both can find a place in New York City to continue their outstanding reporting of the real truth about the Public Schools.

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  2. Andrew Wolf is not a reporter but an advocate. He is critical of BloomKlein from the right. He is part of the Sol Stern teacher bashing crew and also the phonics police. They both were supporters of mayoral control and looked to the impact on limiting teacher unions. When BloomKlein went over the top, they toned down the critical comments and Sol even allied with Randi.

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  3. Norm,

    Has Elizabeth Green exposed anything meaningful about the Unity bandwagon?

    Erin Einhorn writes like a reporter who is afraid to let it hang out a bit. Too safe. She can't touch Green on the DOE and forget about Unity.

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  4. Norm:

    I agree with you and hope that Elizabeth Green finds a job in NYC.

    I disagree with you about Andrew Wolf. Just because he is more conservative he still exposed the DOE phony statements and lies. he has bashed the DOE on their conclusions and questioned their statistics. He will also be missed.

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  5. I hope Elizabeth Green continues to have an opportunity to be the true journalist she's proven herself to be; Ideally, she won't be reduced to reporting the corporate-approved pre-digested news as the journalists over at the Daily News are.

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  6. Anon 5:28
    Green got in touch with me and Jeff Kaufman within days (or maybe a week or 2) of her arrival in NYC. One of her first pieces quoted Jeff and ICE. The UFT PR operation was pissed but they were in the process of changing press agents. As time went on she certainly was careful not to go too far to offend Randi - reporters do need quotes, I guess. But also the Unity machine doesn't seem to be much of a story to the mainstream press. Especially with the lack of an effective opposition. If the day comes that an opposition captures over 30% then it begins to become a story. Unity works very hard to marginalize the opposition. But it doesn't take much. There aren't enough people out there who are willing to put the time and effort into organizing a serious opposition. Maybe because the UFT is so irrelevant to them.

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