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New honors, new staffer

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

For the third year in a row, the Notebook has received honors from the Education Writers Association’s National Awards for Education Reporting.

Education reporter Benjamin Herold nabbed the top prize in beat reporting in the medium-sized newsroom category for his work in 2012 at news partner WHYY/NewsWorks and the Notebook. And with an assist from NewsWorks, the Notebook won second prize in the education news outlets category for best topical series or series coverage for the summer 2012 “College for a few” package.

EWA officials are not the only ones shining a spotlight on the Notebook’s work. Former Notebook intern and Haverford College senior April Lin is making the nonprofit the subject of a 20-minute documentary about educational issues in Philadelphia. Lin talked with Notebook co-founder and editor/director Paul Socolar about the paper’s history and interviewed other staff and leadership board members about their time at the nonprofit.

A new associate director

The Notebook has hired an associate director for operations, Neeta Patel.

Patel’s responsibilities will include managing the Notebook’s growth into a fully independent nonprofit as it transitions out of its current “incubator” space at Resources for Human Development in 2013. She will also coordinate work on the Notebook’s Knight Community Information Challenge grant, which involves reaching out to parents to assess how Notebook publications can bring them greater value.

Patel previously worked as associate director with Asian Americans United and staffed the launch of the Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School, where she was chief operating officer. Though this is her first job with a newspaper, Patel is not new to nonprofits, having worked in the field for over 20 years. And she is a longtime Notebook reader.

“I want to lend my experience to the Notebook to build a solid institutional foundation so that it can continue to be a strong voice for quality and equality in our schools,” Patel said. “I also want to connect with parents and learn how they can better access and be served by the Notebook so that more voices are brought into the debate surrounding our schools.”

Membership campaign

On the fundraising front, the Notebook’s 2013 membership drive is underway, with a goal of reaching 600 members for the first time (see p 31). This winter’s fundraising campaign, launched to support the Notebook’s move, has brought in $14,578 from 142 donors.

And in three months the Notebook will celebrate its annual “Turning the Page for Change” event, with a goal to bring in $52,000. This year the bash will be held June 11 at 4:30 p.m. at the University of the Arts.

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