Report: Florida media 'striking out' on education reporting

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The Florida media are striking out on education coverage, yielding a reliability index of only 39 percent, according to the nation? only watchdog site that focuses on K-12 education reporting. Since its launch in February,The Media Bullpen has monitored the education press nationally. Florida is one of the lowest performing states when it comes to meaningful coverage of the issues that educate and inform substantively.

The Bullpen, a virtual newsroom founded byThe Center for Education Reform (CER), scores and critiques how education issues are being reported in the mainstream media. Led by professional journalists, The Bullpen reporters react and respond in real time to the press as it rolls out. Using baseball analogies, the team of Bullpen “umps” rates each story based on how it well it explains the issue being reported; scores range from strike outs to home runs. Stories are scored on balance, context, accuracy and whether they present a comprehensive look at the variety of issues involving education in the Sunshine State. Each issue and state has a reliability score, which is cumulatively tallied over time.

Since February 12, the Bullpen has scored 90 news stories from Florida. The results so far indicate that Florida policy makers, education professionals, families and taxpayers are not being well served by the reporting of the issues. Its overall reliability of 39 percent is well short of where it should be.

“Batting .300 in baseball can make you a Hall of Fame player,” notes CER Founder, Jeanne Allen, “but for the people of Florida to be properly informed on the complex issues of education, we need to be batting 1.000. To make informed choices on the issues, the public must be better served by the reporting. We understand the challenges and constraints newsrooms face these days and welcome the coverage of education issues. We?e not here to chastise, but to keep score as best we can, inform the public and coach the media into performing better.”

Nationally, the Bullpen has scored nearly 2,500 from over 1,000 outlets in 50 states. The national education media reports, on average, with 41 percent reliability.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.