The New York Times, in collaboration with New York Public Radio’s WNYC-FM NY, will launch SchoolBook, an online destination for news, data and conversation about schools in New York City on 9/7. The site, at nytimes.com/schoolbook and schoolbook.org, will feature a customized destination page for each of the 1,700 New York City public schools and 800 private schools, as well as a home page with fresh content daily.
SchoolBook will include coverage by New York Times and WNYC reporters; user-friendly, interactive tools to help parents and others analyze schools; and platforms for community journalism and discussion.
Within WNYC, an NPR and PRI affiliate, senior reporter Beth Fertig (who has examined the city’s public school system for 15+ years), will be a primary contributor. SchoolBook also will have regular segments on The Brian Lehrer Show, and the station will host several community events throughout the year. WNYC will give SchoolBook access to the Public Insight Network, a public radio initiative that gives local newsrooms a direct link to people in their community and develops insights from people’s lives, work and personal experiences.
The site will expand on the searchable test-score database already available on NYTimes.com, harnessing information on staffing, programs and facilities, among other things, to provide the fullest possible picture of a school’s performance and environment. Individual school pages will also include responses from hundreds of principals to a SchoolBook survey being conducted this summer.
Access will be free. To participate in the conversation, users will register via Facebook. These users will then be able to share documents, photos and video; pose and respond to questions about a particular school or issue; propose ideas about their school; discuss issues with editors and experts; and more.
“The vast school system in New York has been a challenge for both parents and educators to navigate,” said John Keefe, Senior Executive Producer of News at WNYC. “SchoolBook will build on our existing reach into diverse communities and expertise in cultivating local sources within them. We hope that the combination of information and interactive tools will assist parents and teachers and spark meaningful conversation about the school experience.”