This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
I’ve been living in this area since 1951, spending more than 50 years as a reporter, first for The Bulletin and then for The Inquirer. My most rewarding years were as The Bulletin’s education reporter in the 1950s. It was an exciting time with reform in the air and since The Inquirer and Daily News paid little attention to education, I had the field to myself. I worked hard and was on the front page with school stories several days a week.
But I’m afraid my reporting was shallow – it was shallow compared to what you and your staff are producing in the Notebook. I’m full of admiration for what you are achieving. The writing is crisp and clean. The reporting is incisive, and the opinions expressed are backed up with facts. If Thomas Knudsen’s opinions are half-baked, you say so. And you convince me that they are.
I believe that one reason the Philadelphia public schools have fallen so far is because we in the media didn’t do an adequate job. We failed to tell the full story. It seems to me that in the Notebook you are telling the full story. You are doing an absolutely wonderful job. Keep it up.
Retired Philadelphia journalist Peter Binzen is the author of the book Whitetown, USA.