Columbia Journalism School Announces 2022-2023 Spencer Fellows
Four veteran education journalists joined Columbia Journalism School for the 2022-2023 academic year as the newest group of Spencer Education Journalism Fellows to study and produce significant works of education journalism.
This class of 2023 brings a depth of professional experience to the fellowship, which was launched with Spencer Foundation support 15 years ago to enhance education journalism with deep research.
The current cohort features two residential fellows, including Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat’s national policy and politics reporter, who will focus his Spencer year on exploring the enduring debate about whether money matters in education. Janet Lorin writes about higher education finance at Bloomberg News. She plans to explore the financial inequalities of a set of public Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the context of the wealthiest U.S. colleges.
Our two non-residential fellows include Erin Einhorn, a Detroit-based national reporter for NBC News, who plans to produce a special series on the consequences and alternatives to harsh exclusionary school discipline. Emily Richmond is the public editor of the Education Writers Association and host of the EWA Radio podcast. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Richmond will spend her Spencer year examining the history and current landscape of the far-reaching school system run by the Department of Defense Education Activity.
A distinguished board of scholars and journalists selected the winners in March 2022, after a competitive application process. The Spencer Foundation awards each fellow with project expenses plus a stipend ($85,000 residential, $43,000 non-residential). In addition, the fellows receive research and journalistic support from Columbia professors at the Journalism School as well as throughout the university.
“We are pleased to welcome this talented group of journalists to our Spencer Fellowship network,” said LynNell Hancock, director of the Spencer Fellowship and professor emerita at Columbia Journalism School. “They will join 48 alums who have produced game-changing books, documentaries, podcasts and newspaper and magazine work over the last 15 years.”
More on the fellows:
Matt Barnum is a national reporter at Chalkbeat, where he's written about education policy and politics since 2017. During that time, he has covered the education policy ambitions of the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as private philanthropy; summarized large bodies of education research on topics including school vouchers and anti-poverty programs; and conducted investigative reporting on school ratings and the effects of divisive concepts bans. During the pandemic, he has written extensively about its effects on schools and children, as well as the unprecedented federal COVID relief funding.
Matt’s reporting at Chalkbeat has been recognized with awards from the Education Writers Association and the American Educational Research Association. Prior to joining Chalkbeat, Matt was a reporter at The 74, a policy director at Educators for Excellence, and a middle school language arts teacher. During his Spencer Fellowship, he will focus on the past, present, and future of school funding and the enduring debate about whether money matters in education.
Erin Einhorn is a Detroit-based national reporter for NBC News where her work has included narrative and investigative multimedia reporting about racial segregation, juvenile justice and the challenge facing students and educators during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to joining NBC News, Erin was the founding editor of Chalkbeat Detroit where her work was recognized in 2017 with the Education Writers Association’s Ronald Moskowitz Prize for Outstanding Beat Reporting. She won a second national education beat reporting prize from EWA in 2018.
Erin was the Deputy Managing Editor for Politics at the New York Daily News where she also served as City Hall Bureau Chief and as an education reporter covering the nation’s largest public school system. She worked as a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is the author of the Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home, published by Simon & Schuster, which chronicled the year she spent living in Poland getting to know the family that rescued her mother during World War II — a story she also told on This American Life.
As a Spencer Fellow, Erin will explore the harsh consequences and hopeful alternatives to exclusionary student discipline in schools.
Janet Lorin writes about the finances of colleges at Bloomberg News and appears on Bloomberg radio and television. She also contributes to Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Markets magazines. Lately, she’s written about the economic impact of the pandemic on universities and inequalities in higher education. Since joining Bloomberg in 2008, she has also written about college admissions, student debt, how colleges invest their endowments and the nonprofit testing industry. Janet and a Bloomberg colleague shared the George Polk award for national reporting for a 2012 series about student loans. Her work has prompted a Congressional inquiry and bill.
She previously ran the Newark, N.J., office for The Associated Press and wrote about urban sprawl for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At the Akron Beacon Journal, she covered topics including local government and schools, and wrote feature stories about the Cleveland Indians in the playoffs.
Janet earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia College of Columbia University and a master’s in journalism from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. A native of Chicago, she lives in New York with her husband and two children.
As a Spencer Fellow, Lorin will examine the unequal financial history and educational outcomes of a set of public Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the South in the context of the wealthiest U.S. colleges.
Emily Richmond is the public editor of the Education Writers Association. She coordinates programming and training opportunities for members and provides individualized reporting and writing help to journalists. She also hosts the EWA Radio podcast.
A longtime education journalist, her recent work has appeared in The Hechinger Report, The Atlantic online, U.S. News & World Report, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among others. She wrote about how the COVID-19 pandemic strained some “Town and Gown” relationships, what happened when school districts can’t raise money for facilities, and how one rural school tackled a surge in online bullying.
Prior to joining EWA, Emily was the education reporter at the Las Vegas Sun. Recognition of her work includes a first-place award for feature writing from the Associated Press News Executives Council of Nevada-California. In 2007, she was named Outstanding Journalist of the Year by the Nevada State Press Association. Emily was a 2011 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. She holds a master’s in journalism from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College.
As a Spencer Fellow, Emily will take a close look at the early history of integration and current-day landscape of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), which serves nearly 67,000 students from military connected families at its campuses both in the U.S. and abroad.