WBEZ's Lutton Wins Fellowship

WBEZ's Lutton Wins Fellowship

Fresh off the Peabody award win that she and others enjoyed for "Harper High School," Chicago Public Radio's Linda Lutton (not pictured) has been named one of three Spencer Education Journalism Fellows for 2014-2015, which provides funding and professional support during a yearlong program Columbia University's journalism school.

What's she going to write about?  According to the press release,"Lutton plans to use her Spencer year creating a one-hour radio documentary examining the intersection of poverty and education through the lens of a high-poverty Chicago elementary school."

How is WBEZ going to cover education during Lutton's fellowship year? That remains to be seen.  Some previous Spencer fellows have commuted from their home towns.  Others have taken a sabbatical.

Read the full press release below.




April 9, 2014 -- Columbia Journalism School has named three journalists as the 2014-2015 Spencer Fellows in Education Reporting to pursue projects that will examine school choice and neighborhoods, the intersection of poverty and education, and the state of education for Americans with disabilities. A distinguished board of education scholars and journalists selected the fellows in a competitive application process.

The new fellows are Linda Lutton, education reporter at Chicago’s NPR-affiliate station WBEZ; S. Mitra Kalita, ideas editor at Quartz and former housing writer and metro news editor for The Wall Street Journal; and Joy Resmovits, education reporter for The Huffington Post. Each fellow will receive a $75,000 stipend, plus research expenses to spend the academic-year sabbatical studying with professors throughout the Columbia campus and working on projects under the guidance of professors at Columbia Journalism School.

“These journalists join an accomplished group of past Spencer fellows who have produced significant works of education journalism over the years,” said Prof. LynNell Hancock, an expert on education and child and family policy reporting, who serves as director of the fellowship. “We are looking forward to pooling our many resources at Columbia to support the work of new fellows, who were all selected based on the value their projects will bring to the complex issues surrounding public education.”

Lutton, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, is an award-winning education reporter from Chicago. She has reported  on This American Life , NPR’s Morning EditionAll Things Considered and The World and Marketplace. Her documentary, “Harper High,” received the 2014 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award  and the 2014 Peabody Award, which praised her and two other reporters for “embedding themselves for five months at Harper, a Chicago high school where gun violence was epidemic, to produce a pair of hour-long documentaries that were vivid, unblinking, poignant and sometimes gut-wrenching.”

Lutton’s print reporting has appeared in The Chicago Reader, In These Times, Education Week, the Chicago Tribune and others.  Her investigation into a corrupt south suburban school superintendent won the 2005 Education Writers Association’s Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting. A year earlier, she won the Studs Terkel Award for reporting on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. Lutton plans to use her Spencer year creating a one-hour radio documentary examining the intersection of poverty and education through the lens of a high-poverty Chicago elementary school.

S. Mitra Kalita, an editor at Quartz and an inaugural editor at Mint, a business paper in New Delhi, India, is the author of three books on migration and globalization. Her work has appeared in the Washington PostNewsday and theAssociated Press. She is an adjunct professor of journalism at St. John’s and Columbia universities, and former president of the South Asian Journalists Association. Kalita will spend her Spencer Fellowship year reporting a book on school choice through the lens of one New York City neighborhood.

Joy Resmovits, a graduate of Barnard College, is education reporter at The Huffington Post. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Jewish Daily Forward, the New York Daily News and the St. Louis Beacon. She will use the Spencer Fellowship to assess the state of education for American students with disabilities.

The Spencer Fellowship in Education Journalism was established at Columbia Journalism School in 2007 with funding from the Spencer Foundation. The purpose was to enrich long-form journalism with meaningful education research.

Past fellows have produced two radio documentaries aired on public radio throughout the United States; one was a Peabody award winner. They have published their work in various national newspapers and magazines, such as theAtlantic, Scientific American, The New York Times Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The American Prospect. Four books have been published: the two most recent being Sarah Carr’s Hope Against Hope and Sarah Garland’s Divided We Fail; two others  on teaching to be published in September are Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars, and Elizabeth Green’s Building a Better Teacher. One on videogaming and education by Greg Toppo is currently under contract.


About the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

For over a century, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been preparing journalists with instruction and training that stresses academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry, and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the School opened its doors in 1912 and offers master of science, master of arts, and doctor of philosophy degrees. Learn more atwww.journalism.columbia.edu.



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  • "More big news, peeps. I'm goin' to NYC. http://www.journalism.columbia.edu/news/1007/2 But I'm reporting my project from Chicago (and I don't know how many consecutive days I can stand being without my fam)...so I won't be far!"

  • Hey Beardo, you should switch places with Linda and come to Chicago for once.

  • How fantastic! This means Linda Lutton will be reporting the same story she always reports. I can't wait to hear the same thing again.

  • I used to have a typewriter like that...meanwhile, evidently she feels the horse hasn't been flogged enough and after seeing the increased polarity in Chicago of wealth vs poverty she might be correct.

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