Leveraging Expertise: A Q&A With Robyn Shulman
School has been back in session for a number of weeks now, and most students and teachers are starting to settle back into their seasonal routines. For teachers, the learning never stops, especially with the speed at which policies and technologies change creating a fluid work environment. Not all teachers are able to shrink their students for a first-hand look at the inner workings of the human body, so staying on top of technology ensures that you can engage with your students in ways that are exciting and cutting-edge. ED News Daily is a go-to source for not only the latest in education technology, but also policy and start-ups for educators from K-12 to higher education.
Founder and editor Robyn Shulman is an educator with experience in elementary and higher education. She recognized a need for educators to have a place to share their stories, and find timely information. In 2011 she created ED News Daily providing her readership breaking education stories straight out of Washington from the House Committee on Education and Workforce and the U.S. Department of Education as well as start-ups and new technology. Shulman also accepted positions this year as the senior program specialist and editor, thought leadership with The Boys & Girls Club of America, and as a contributing writer for The Huffington Post. Her reporting and experiences has made her one of the most influential voices in education policy and technology reporting.
We sat down with Shulman to talk about what inspired her to create ED News Daily, her mission, and her work.
Q: How did you get into journalism, and how do you think that your path sets you apart from other journalists covering your field?
A:When I was an undergraduate student, I fell in love with education and journalism. I chose to become a teacher first because I felt I could make the greatest difference in the world through the classroom. After teaching elementary school, I moved into higher education. When the Internet took off and social media became a mainstay, I noticed the education field was being covered in ways not seen before and most of the stories were negative pieces. I believe teaching is and always will be a noble profession and there are thousands of positive stories and effective educators making a difference every day. Those stories were not being told; those voices were not being heard, and I wanted to give effective teachers a voice.
My love for writing and education brought me into journalism.
My path sets me apart because I understand the infrastructure and politics in education. I’ve been there. I’ve done the job. I can identify and connect with those in the field and I can help them tell their stories from an educator’s point of view. I also keep up with changes in education technology through various groups and connections.
Q: What factors lead to you founding ED News Daily?
A: In 2011, I left higher education and wanted to focus more on the issues, conversations and changes taking place in the field. As I mentioned, my original intent was to create a platform for educators to share their stories. However, as my audience grew, I decided to learn web design and SEO to create a site that was informative and aesthetically pleasing for my readers.
A: The mission of ED News Daily has three components:
The first is to share stories of social good related to education, inform readers about new educational advances, and to provide the public with the latest news from political sources (such as Arne Duncan and the Department of Education).
I believe the mission is affecting education insiders because it is a place where everyone from the field can learn from each other. There are incredible people who are changing the lives of students daily. Many of these life-changers are reaching youth not only through the classroom, but also through social organizations, new technology platforms and nonprofits. I believe that when we can bring people together with the same intent and share information, the effects can be immeasurable.
Q: How have the relationships that you fostered along the way help to get you to where you are today? Do you have any mentors that you credit with inspiring your success?
A: I made many relationships through LinkedIn that took me down this path. I was able to share a great deal of my work through LinkedIn’s platform and in 2012, I created a presentation describing how LinkedIn changed my life. I shared it with Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn and within five minutes, Yumi Wilson, who works for LinkedIn, called me to learn more. LinkedIn eventually featured my career story on their member blog and again within their 200 million-member press release.
Yumi Wilson, a Journalism professor and Corporate Communications Manager for LinkedIn, has been my mentor. Her journalism webinars and personal encouragement continue to inspire me keep going in this direction. Daniel Roth, Executive Editor of LinkedIn, has also been a great source of encouragement. I am grateful to them for their ongoing support.
Q: Do you consider your reporting to be more appealing to industry insiders or the general public?
A: I think my work is appealing to industry insiders a bit more than the general public. Technology has changed education all around the globe. It is an exciting time to be in this field because we have the ability to garner knowledge in various formats, on our own time and through different means. Since I cover education start-ups and education technology, I have an emerging audience that consists of readers from every career field. Although I have readers from the general public, I would like the public to take more of an interest in what is happening in the education world because it affects everyone, especially those with children in school.
— Robyn Shulman, M.Ed (@RobynDShulman) September 29, 2015
Q: You have conitinued to work with other education-minded organizations, can you talk about how your experience in other organizations like The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Dreams for Kids informs your writing and vice-versa?
A: Working with other organizations has greatly expanded my awareness in regard to the extraordinary work accomplished outside of the classroom. For example, at the Boys and Girls Clubs, I work directly with Dr. Damon Williams, the Senior VP and Chief Education Officer who is an education thought-leader. He has spoken to more than 300 institutions worldwide and is also considered one of the nation’s most dynamic social sector leaders with experience in higher education, non-profit, and K-12 innovation.
Having the honor to work with someone of his experience and caliber has brought a greater awareness to my work. I am learning more about innovation, strategy and leadership outside of the classroom and as my span of knowledge in the field is growing, my reporting is affected.
I am also able to bring my own classroom teaching experience and skills to these organizations. I have an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and I am a certified English as Second Language Teacher. My background is useful because I know how to teach, build programs with strategic outcomes, and work with our fascinating diverse population of young people.
I believe our work together is complimentary. I am grateful to work with and share the amazing stories of those making a difference in the world.
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