Always looking for vivid details to open and close their otherwise mundane education stories, reporters and their editors often glom onto little things that may or may not really make much of a difference to students’ lives and school improvement. In this reporter’s notebook, NPR’s Larry Abramson comes clean about his own tendencies towards snap judgments and first impressions, and the effects reporters’ feelings have on their coverage. He compares his impressions of two New Orleans schools, one favorable and the other not so favorable, and wonders how much his first impressions really matter and whether they cloud his ability to see beyond things like how children are greeted or whether there’s toilet paper in the bathroom. If only everyone else -- reporters, researchers, and policymakers -- were as honest. Or at least that’s my impression.
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