Understanding The Catalyst Conspiracy

This is what I know about Catalyst: The magazine is generally respected by education journalists for being balanced, careful, serious. The publication is also pretty regularly criticized for being too bland, too cautious. For all its good work, it hasn't produced as many hard-charging investigative pieces, or major scoops, or "hit" pieces as some folks (including me) expect.

The magazine, like other news organizations, has struggled to tell the story of what's really going on in Chicago schools to the satisfaction of those who have experienced the changes first-hand. And, limited to its "letter from the editor," the magazine doesn't include the type of commentary or analysis that readers may expect or want. Catalyst hasn't come out clearly or repeatedly "for" or "against" anything. As traditional journalists, that's not what they do.

There's also a strand of thinking that the magazine, funded largely by foundations and housed within the Community Renewal Society, is somehow in cahoots with the Board. Where this theory comes from in particular, I don't know. What exactly has Catalyst done wrong? Are there specific stories where the magazine took the Board's size or mis-characterized what was really going on? Are there financial relationships that I don't know about between Catalyst and CPS? Let us know.

Filed under: Media Watch

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