This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The Notebook has been covering public education in Philadelphia for nearly two decades. For the first nine of those years, before the full emergence of the web, the Notebook covered the ups and downs of the School District solely in print.
Those 29 print editions, spanning the years between 1994 and 2002, form an archive of the arc of public education’s history in the city. They provide a look at Philly education long before there was #PhillyEducation. And they give a window into the development of a pioneering nonprofit news organization that started out 19 years ago with the publication of 10,000 copies of a 12-page tabloid newspaper.
The Notebook is now one of 25 Philadelphia-area nonprofit organizations in a competition vying to have an object preserved by professional conservators. The contest is part of a Restoring Ideals project, conceived by Temple Contemporary and a consortium of partners, that seeks to honor organizations that reflect Philadelphia’s founding ideals of tolerance, equality, and independence. On WHYY/NewsWorks‘ website, you can watch a video about each nominee in the competition, describing their work and the object they’d like to have conserved. People can vote for one, two, or, if they like, all of the organizations — and you can vote every day until Aug. 5. The top 10 vote-getters will get to work with professionals to have their object preserved.
http://www.youtube.com/embed/BrZ_KfeKYK8 To have a beautifully bound and preserved volume of those 29 print editions of the Notebook would be a great honor and important step to preserve local history. The news and commentary that would exist in that album, we hope, would not be just another record or artifact. This collection of our work also serves as a reminder to the public that school improvement is critically dependent on providing the community a voice in the priorities and decisions of the education system.
Please cast your vote for the Notebook. And we hope you’ll come back to do it again.