About our March 4 education budget crisis coverage

On March 4, as students and educators throughout the state stage marches and rallies to call attention to the state of California’s education funding, Oakland North will present special all-day coverage spanning three cities: Oakland, Berkeley and Sacramento. Our reporters will cover events within the Oakland Unified School District and a march to Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland; others will cover protests planned for the UC Berkeley campus; and still others will report back to us from the state capitol.

We will record the day’s events on video, in print, and via photo; we’ll also use Oakland North’s Twitter and Facebook feeds to relay breaking news. We’ve created several online features including a timeline of events related to the March 4 protests, a map of rally locations, and a series of personal essays.

How can Oakland North report this story fairly?

Oakland North is a project of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and is financially supported both by the school and by a grant from the Ford Foundation. The students and instructors affiliated with the site all have financial ties to the University of California — most students pay tuition; some receive financial aid, scholarships, grants, or work-study paychecks. The instructors are UC Berkeley employees or contractors. Nearly all members of the Oakland North team are in some way affected by the UC system’s student fee increases or the state employee furloughs.

Many University of California students and employees will observe a strike on March 4 by taking the day off of work or school. The Oakland North reporting class had several thoughtful discussions about how best to address this unusual situation — by covering March 4 events, even from off-campus, we will essentially be going to work and school. Yet many on our staff felt that the experience of covering breaking news of statewide importance would be a valuable learning opportunity, as well as a chance to provide a public service to readers interested in learning more about the state’s budget crisis and its effect on California’s education system. Some of our staff, however, did not wish to participate and will not be reporting on March 4. A few students, both from the Oakland North staff and from the larger UC Berkeley community, wished to share their personal perspectives on the UC budget cuts and the protests that occurred on campus last fall. You can find their essays here:

Puck Lo: Neo-liberalism — how one wonky economic term just won’t leave me alone
Ayako Mie: Change is in our hands
Tess Townsend: The rising price of education
Josh Wolf: Covering demonstrations from the inside

As a news organization, our aim is to make our relationship to the university — and our overlapping roles as reporters, students and public citizens — as transparent as possible, while providing accurate and comprehensive coverage.

Why three-city coverage, when this is an Oakland news site?

As a group, we decided that expanding our coverage beyond Oakland North’s normal geographic boundaries would improve our ability to cover a complex issue of statewide significance. We hope that our coverage will provide information and a public service to not only the North Oakland community, but to readers throughout the Bay Area and the state.

How can we get in touch?

We welcome your feedback in the comments section below, and in similar sections at the end of each of our stories. You can reach us by email at staff@oaklandnorth.net. We’ll also be watching for your comments on our Twitter feed at Twitter.com/northoaklandnow.

Filed under: Perspectives

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