2011-12 Fellows

April 12, 2011

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism today named three education journalists as the 2011-2012 Spencer Fellows in Education Reporting to pursue projects that will examine battles over textbooks and curriculum in Texas, the role of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in public schools, and the most effective ways for students to learn math and science.

The new fellows are Trey Kay, a producer and writer of radio documentaries; Linda Shaw, education reporter for The Seattle Times; and Pat Wingert, a correspondent for Newsweek magazine. Each fellow will receive a $75,000 stipend and expenses to spend an academic-year sabbatical to do their projects at the Columbia Journalism School in New York.

“We’re looking forward to working with these accomplished journalists,” said Professor LynNell Hancock, an expert on education and child and family policy reporting who directs the fellows during their stay at the school.

Kay, a graduate of Ohio University, won a George Foster Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award and an Alfred I. DuPont/Columbia University Award for his radio documentary The Great Textbook War. He has produced and written documentaries for PBA/Frontline, Studio 360 and Public Radio International. He will use the fellowship to research and report a radio documentary on 40 years of battles over curriculum and textbooks in Texas and why decisions made in that state affect children all over the country.

Shaw, a graduate of Stanford University, received her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. In 2008, she was selected national beat reporter of the year in the large newspaper category by the Education Writers Association. She has also won national and regional writing awards for education and feature writing. She will report on how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is influencing public schools through its efforts to define and reward effective teaching.

Wingert, a graduate of the University of Illinois, joined Newsweek’s Washington Bureau in 1986. Before that, she worked for The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times. She has written or contributed to dozens of cover stories on a wide range of topics, including school reform, education equity, child development, mental health, changes in the American family, homeschooling and learning disabilities. Her work has won awards from the National Press Club, the Education Press Association, The Education Writers Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (Benjamin Fine Award) and The Deadline Club, among others. She will study the most effective ways for students to learn math and science.

Arlene Morgan, Associate Dean for Prizes and Programs, said that the Spencer Foundation-supported program, which started in 2007, provides three $75,000 annual stipends to education reporters who want to fulfill the foundation’s goal to help improve the state of how education is reported in the United States. “These new fellows were all selected based on the value their projects will add to the public’s understanding about the complex issues surrounding the delivery of education, especially in the public school system that is receiving so much attention at the state and federal level regarding financing and policy.”