2014-15 Fellows

group-spencer1415-hpNew York, NY – April, 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 Edition, All 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 perse 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 Post, Newsday and the Associated 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 the Atlantic, 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 pided 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.