For Chalkbeat’s second birthday, two new additions to our team

In 30 days, we will celebrate our second anniversary as Chalkbeat. Remember when that logo and our lovely Chalkbeat-blue were brand-new and a little scary?

Two years later, wow. Who knew how much was possible in 24 months? We’ve merged and strengthened two beloved local news sites, expanded to two new communities, and reported stories that led to major funding increases,newly public databases, and op-ed’s galore. Most exciting for us, we’ve started to prove that the most endangered of all news species — the local kind, rooted in real communities — can thrive in a digital age after all.

As we step into 2016, the word on our minds is connection. So many people in this country care deeply about educational equity. Our charge is to make sure that everyone who cares has ready and consistent access to the information it takes to transform passion into informed action.

To do this, we’ve been focusing on building our team to include not only award-winning journalists, but also leaders who can help us keep pace with innovations in digital news and audience development.

We are thrilled to announce two major additions to the Chalkbeat team who will help steer us in this direction:

  • Kang-Xing (KX) Jin, a vice president of engineering at Facebook, joined Chalkbeat’s board of directors this summer. At Facebook, Kang-Xing’s teams are responsible for media (products for news, video, and public figures), ads in News Feed, and several of the company’s consumer products for sharing with friends, family, and groups. Prior to his current role, Kang-Xing helped build out the Facebook ads team from 2007 to 2012. He joined Facebook in 2006 as an engineer on the News Feed team after graduating from Harvard with a degree in Computer Science, summa cum laude. On the Chalkbeat board, Kang-Xing will combine his passion for education with his engineering and product savvy.
  • Ryan Sholin, a former director of product management at Gannett, joined Chalkbeat this week as our new director of product and growth. Ryan’s wide range of experience includes serving as a local reporter, a blogger, and an industry leader with experience helping news organizations make a difference at scale through online news design, audience development, and product creation. At Gannett, Ryan led various initiatives leveraging product creation to drive strategic organizational goals and better connect audiences with content. At Chalkbeat, he is passionate about ensuring that we reach all the people who care about educational equity as much as we do — and then serve them well.

Bringing on all-stars, of course, is just the start. One year from now, I hope we can report back that our Chalkbeat community has grown to ensure that more people who care about better schools for all kids are connected to the stories they need to fuel their thinking. And I hope we can do it by thanking not just KX and Ryan, but you.

Because, here’s the kicker:we’re hiring more people. This is your formal invitation to spread the word as we build the greatest Chalkbeat yet. We hope you’ll join us!

What's Your Education Story?

We can’t wait for you to hear these Indianapolis teachers’ stories — join us April 19

PHOTO: Ronak Shah

Indianapolis teachers have more stories from their classrooms to share this spring.

Over the past year, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from the teachers, students, and leaders of Indianapolis through our occasional series, What’s Your Education Story? Some of our favorites were told live during teacher story slams hosted by Teachers Lounge Indy.

The stories dealt with how a teacher grappled with coming out to his students, a class that organized to save historic trees in their community, and the unexpected lesson of a mouse in the classroom.

Next month, Chalkbeat is partnering with Teachers Lounge Indy, WFYI Public Media, and the Indianapolis Public Library to host a story slam. The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, will showcase tales from across Circle City classrooms. It is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Central Library, Clowes Auditorium
40 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis, IN
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

We're listening

What are the Newark education stories you want to read?

PHOTO: Patrick Wall

This is a historic moment for Newark’s public schools.

After 22 years of state takeover ended last month, the city school board is re-empowered and gearing up to pick a new superintendent. Candidates are lining up to vie for three board seats that will open next month, even as Mayor Ras Baraka — who as a former principal promised to usher in a new era for the city’s schools — runs for reelection in May.

And, just in time to help make sense of it all, Chalkbeat Newark officially launched this week.

I’m Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat Newark’s founding reporter. I hope to spotlight some of the city’s education movers and shakers, track the growth of Newark’s charter sector and the pressure it’s put on the district’s budget, and show what’s happening inside city classrooms. And that’s just this month.

To do all that, I need your help. At Chalkbeat, our readers are the people who shape the local schools and rely on them. They’re also our sources. As we start in Newark, I’m hoping you’ll not only read our coverage but also help steer it, suggesting stories and making sure we reach a wide audience. Here are three ways you can help:

  1. Sign up for the weekly Newark newsletter. In it, I’ll share my reporting and round up the great coverage by other outlets so that you know everything you need to about Newark schools. The first newsletter goes out this Friday.
  2. Tell me what you want to read. Which power brokers or inspiring students do you want to meet? What arcane policies or tangled politics do you want to understand? Which schools or programs do you want to see up close? Please send your questions, ideas, and tips to
  3. Come say “hi.” I’m planning to host regular “office hours” throughout the community to meet readers where they are. The first edition will be at the Springfield Branch library during their college fair from 4 to 7 p.m. on Weds., March 14. (Details here.) Say hello and share your story ideas as you pick up college applications and talk to recruiters.

As Chalkbeat Newark gets up and running, I hope you’ll come along for the ride.