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Voices: A new beginning for EdNews Colorado

Alan Gottlieb reflects on a significant new development for EdNews Colorado, his new role and the new managing editor.

Education News Colorado this week is undergoing the most significant change in its five-year history. The transformation should be invisible to readers, at least for now. But it represents a major leap forward for the organization, as it charts a course to long-term sustainability.

Today, EdNews the Public Education and Business Coalition, EdNews’ parent for the past five years, issued this press release:

Education News Colorado, the award-winning, Denver-based non-profit news website, is leaving its home of the past five-years to help launch a national network of education news websites.

Born to and raised by the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), a venerable 30-year-old education non-profit based in Denver, EdNews has become Colorado’s definitive source of education news, analysis, data and commentary since PEBC launched the site in January 2008. EdNews is partnering with New York City-based GothamSchools to form the non-profit Education News Network (ENN).

“The idea of launching a network of education news websites in states on the cutting edge of education change is one that excites educators, journalists and funders,” ENN Publisher Alan Gottlieb said. “We believe we have developed a model that will provide great local education journalism while demonstrating that non-profit news can be financially sustainable in the long term.”

ENN plans to open education news websites in several cities and states around the country in the next three to five years.

ENN’s mission is to provide deep local coverage of education policy and practice, to inform decisions and actions that lead to better outcomes for children.

Gottlieb also emphasized the key role played by PEBC in creating EdNews, sustaining it through some tough times and “sticking with us in the early days when we generated more than our share of controversy.”

Rosann B. Ward, PEBC’s president, said that while nudging EdNews out of the nest is bittersweet, it also represents the next logical step in the website’s evolution.

“PEBC has a proud history of incubating innovative projects,” Ward said. “While EdNews was an integral part of PEBC, the board saw this as an opportune moment for both PEBC and EdNews to make this transition happen. We are proud of and committed to the innovative work EdNews does in our state. And we look forward to its increasing impact on education beyond Colorado.”

Prominent education figures in Colorado also lauded the move.

“PEBC created the most powerful education news and information resource in the country in EdNews, at a time when traditional media outlets were abandoning serious reporting on education issues,” said Barbara O’Brien, former lieutenant governor of Colorado who now serves as president of Get Smart Schools. “With the creation of ENN, this unique resource will now expand to other communities across the country.”

ENN will operate under the fiscal sponsorship of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center while it waits for the Internal Revenue Service to finalize its 501(c)(3) status.

EdNews also announced today that the site has a new managing editor, joining the organization in late March. Maura Walz comes to EdNews from Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Southern Education Desk, “a consortium of public media stations in five Southern states (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) committed to exploring the challenges and opportunities confronting education in the southern United States in the 21st century.” Previously, Walz worked as a reporter for EdNews’ sister site, GothamSchools.

“Maura brings to EdNews deep education expertise, extensive web and multi-media skills and infectious enthusiasm,” Gottlieb said. “We are lucky to have her.”

Stay tuned for additional announcements about ENN in the near future.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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