Opinion
Markets Opinion

Education Blogs and the School Improvement Market

November 04, 2007 2 min read

Alexander Russo has moved his provocative, impertinent and substantive blog, This Week in Education (TWIE), from edweek.org, back to its freestanding mode.

But this time it’s sponsored by Scholastic Administrator, a unit of the publicly traded k-12 firm Scholastic, Inc.
There are plenty of blogs about k-12: sites maintained by individuals with an urge to write, every eduwonk outfit and trade publication in the country, most interest groups, and quite a few education reporters. There are a few independent bloggers sponsored by education media - edbidbuzz.com here on edweek.org is an example.

Many blogs have an indirect relationship with advertisers through intermediaries like Yahoo. What Russo has done, in effect, is to launch what I think is the first independent commercial blogsites sponsored by a direct relationship with one advertiser. (His Chicago schools blog, District 299, is hosted by Catalyst) Think of the Golden Age of radio - Rogers Silver brought you Ozzie and Harriet, Johnson Wax sponsored Fibber McGee and Molly, Jell-O backed Jack Benny.

No k-12 blogger is willing to tell you how much her or she is paid by a sponsor or the basis on which payments are calculated. In most cases, disclosure is prohibited by contract. My guess is that no one in k-12 is making a living off internet income - yet.

Two more interesting questions:

Advertisers’ motivation. My explanation is pretty simple. Demography is destiny. Over the next several years a teaching force that got its information via paper media is being replaced with one that relies far more on the internet. Buying into a blog like TWIE is cheap. If it takes off, the investment will have a disproportionate payoff.

Bloggers integrity. Old Time radio stars didn’t worry too much about working sponsors’ products into their skits. Industry bloggers will have to balance continuation of their income stream and the perception of bias inherent in a sponsorship arrangement. Scholastic covers a lot of territory in the k-12 market - will Russo turn his scathing wit on Scholastic, say only good things, or say nothing at all?

K-12 trade print publications have tended towards the second two. I expect the same from their blogs. (Uncompensated) unaligned bloggers’ value-add/competitive advantage has been adopting the independent strategy. As the first professional k-12 blogger to choose free agency in our market, Russo has a special responsibility to stay on the straight and narrow.

What’s that phrase Russo uses when he acknowledges a career move? “Congratulations, condolences, etc....”

In the interest of full disclosure, Scholastic Inc. is a client my firm’s $1500/year K-12Leads and Service Youth Markets RFP reporting service.

Related Tags:
Education Market

The opinions expressed in edbizbuzz are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Markets New Magazine Seeks to Bring 'Civil Discourse' to Education Debate
Headed up by former Los Angeles superintendent John E. Deasy, The Line will feature a variety of viewpoints on major K-12 issues.
4 min read
The Line magazine, whose debut print issue is seen above, will present an array of viewpoints on pressing K-12 issues.
The Line magazine, whose debut print issue is seen above, will present an array of viewpoints on pressing K-12 issues.
Markets News in Brief Publishers Get Poor Marks on Common-Core Math Texts
The curriculum-review website EdReports.org has released its first round of results for high school math textbooks, and three of the major publishers performed poorly.
1 min read
Markets McGraw-Hill Education Pulls Textbook Amid Criticism Over Middle East Map
A series of maps in a comparative politics textbook purporting to show Palestinian loss of land enraged pro-Israel groups.
Leo Doran
4 min read
Markets News in Brief Amazon to Launch Website For Open Resources
Amazon Education is working on a new platform that will allow schools to upload, manage, share, and discover open education resources from a home page that in some ways resembles the one shoppers are accustomed to accessing on the massive online retailer's website.
1 min read