From the newsroom: Charlottesville Tomorrow to collaborate on an examination of COVID-19’s impact on rural education

Thanks to a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, Charlottesville Tomorrow will collaborate with six other members of the Institute for Nonprofit News examining how COVID-19 is changing the 2020-21 school year.

Charlottesville Tomorrow, as well as El Paso Matters, Iowa Watch, The Nevada Independent, New Mexico In-Depth, Underscore and Wisconsin Watch, will pursue stories in their local communities, while also looking for parallels across state lines.

“The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has revealed or exacerbated many disparities in education,” wrote Charlottesville Tomorrow News Editor Elliott Robinson.  “Thanks to this grant, we will be able to not only bring those problems to the forefront but, hopefully, inspire potential solutions through learning from other localities.”

The reporting will be presented during three periods — one to coincide with the beginning of the academic year, another at the midpoint of the fall semester and a final set of stories near the end of the semester. INN will work to expand the reach of each organization’s reporting through its growing network of distribution partners.

“Charlottesville Tomorrow reporters Jessie Higgins and Billy Jean Louis are taking on this project for us, and the first story has been published,” added Elliott Robinson. “I’m looking forward to sharing what Billy is working on for next month.”

The project builds on several collaborations INN has done in the past examining challenges facing rural America, including “Seeking a Cure,” which looked at the crisis facing rural hospitals, and “Slammed,” examining how COVID-19 is putting increased pressure on the rural healthcare system.

“When our members work together, their already formidable work gets even stronger,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer. “This project is another example of the member-driven collaborations that INN supports, and we appreciate that the Walton Family Foundation has recognized the power this reporting can have in these local communities.”

About INN

INN strengthens and supports more than 250 independent news organizations in a new kind of media network: nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service. From local news to in-depth reporting on pressing global issues, INN’s members tell stories that otherwise would go untold — connecting communities, holding the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy. Our vision is a world in which all people in every community have access to trustworthy news.