To redesign education coverage, start by doing your homework

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom took office in January 2019, he declared early childhood education his priority. The news came as no surprise to the news team at KPCC in Pasadena; we first assigned a reporter to cover early education in 2012. And we were a little lonely in the beat.

That’s because education coverage usually focuses on K-12, despite the fact that 85 percent of brain development occurs in the first three years. What happens to children ages 0–5 affects outcomes later in life, like incarceration rates and career opportunities.

In our first six years of covering early education, we produced more than 800 early childhood stories and convened more than a dozen in-person conversations to bring together experts and stakeholders.

Despite our progress, we recognized a larger opportunity. We asked ourselves:What would happen if we were more intentional in how we defined our audience? Instead of describing the audience as “anyone who listened or read KPCC stories,” what if we redefined it as parents and caregivers of children ages 0–5 in Los Angeles County? Would it change the stories we told? The ways we told them?

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