Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week, grew out of a 1958 venture by 15 editors of university alumni magazines. The success of their collaboratively published report on American higher education led to the incorporation of EPE, further annual reports, a newsletter for college trustees, and the 1966 launch of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
By the 1970s, the Chronicle was attracting enough advertising to become self-sufficient, and the board of EPE agreed to sell the newspaper to its editors in 1978. Board member Ronald A. Wolk was tapped as EPE’s president with a mandate to explore options for another project. The result, in 1981, was a newspaper for the precollegiate world: Education Week.
Over the quarter-century since then, EPE has evolved into a multifaceted media organization that produces more than a dozen products and services aimed at providing information on K-12 education. It has an annual budget of $14.7 million and 86 full-time employees.
“Early in the 1990s, we started thinking about the organization as a hub of assets that could be leveraged to reach different audiences,” said Virginia B. Edwards, who is EPE’s current president, while Mr. Wolk is now chairman of the board. “The idea is to serve the public education sector as broadly as possible with high-quality information.”
Education Week generated 90 percent of the organization’s revenues in the fiscal year ending July 31. The other projects of EPE, based in Bethesda, Md., include:
• Teacher Magazine, first published in 1989 to further extend EPE’s reach into the classroom. Three times nominated for a National Magazine Award, Teacher was recently redesigned to appeal specifically to “teacher leaders.” The magazine has a circulation of about 100,000.
• Edweek.org, the Web portal for all of EPE’s products and services. The Web site was launched in 1996 primarily to house online versions of Education Week and Teacher; edweek.org now provides breaking news written and posted daily. Users can also find daily roundups of education news from other papers; blogs; interactive features such as Web chats; research resources and databases; audio features; a photo gallery; a searchable editorial archive; and a job-recruitment service. So far this year, the site has drawn from 18,000 to 48,000 individual visitors a day.
• The EPE Research Center, which began a decade ago as the research-support team for Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report. The center now has a staff of seven full-time researchers, who provide the research backbone for that report, Technology Counts and Diplomas Count, and other projects. The center compiles statistics from all the Counts reports into searchable databases located on the edweek.org site. It also does research for outside groups.
• Agent K-12, an online service that allows job-seekers to post their résumés and search for openings in education, and lets employers advertise positions.
• E-mail newsletters and alerts. More than a half-dozen free e-mail newsletters tracking developments on topics such as the federal No Child Left Behind Act, curriculum, and educational technology are sent each month. Readership ranges from 10,000 to 30,000 per newsletter. Readers can also sign up to get e-mail updates alerting them to stories in Education Week and Teacher.
• The Education Week Press, a book-publishing venture begun informally in 1993 with From Risk to Renewal that now has six titles. A book featuring selections from 25 years of Education Week commentaries is due out in spring 2007.
A version of this article appeared in the September 06, 2006 edition of Education Week as A Media Organization With Many Faces