Empire reporter deserving of recognition

My Turn

Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2002

The members of the Juneau Education Association want to take this opportunity to thank Juneau Empire staff writer Eric Fry for his excellent journalism while covering the education beat.

We also are pleased to inform you that Mr. Fry's professionalism was recently noted statewide when he was honored during a gathering of hundreds of teachers from across Alaska, in Anchorage for the annual NEA-AK Delegate Assembly.

Against a backdrop of speeches by Gov. Tony Knowles, Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, and Juneau's own Vivian Montoya, Alaska Teacher of the Year, Mr. Fry's award was one more reason to be proud to be a teacher from Juneau.

Mr. Fry was honored with the School Bell Award for his record of solid coverage of education issues in our community. Mr. Fry works hard to air all sides of an issue, putting in long hours covering board meetings and poking his head into classrooms, laboratories and libraries.

He attends so many meetings and events frequently after hours; interviews authorities locally and nationally; researches his stories deeply; writes skillfully and thoroughly with authority, sensitivity and balance; seeks and uses multiple sources and perspectives; utilizes excellent photographic support and figures with his features; and covers the diverse topics of the beat with timeliness.

Mr. Fry also has taken a long, hard look at national trends and concerns in education and how they manifest in our local schools. His series on project-based learning examines how Juneau teachers use projects to further student learning, while also conferring with local and national experts about the benefits and disadvantages. He has also explained to readers how Alaska has joined in the high-stakes testing trend that is sweeping the country and Juneau's reactions to the movement.

Mr. Fry has taken a real community approach to his coverage. Many of his stories are about students and their involvement in the arts and sciences. He also features the many facets of adult continuing education in Juneau in his coverage.

When difficult teacher contract negotiations recently fueled debate in our town, Mr. Fry took a thorough and even-handed approach to the many complex issues. As well, his regular coverage informs the community about the role of the local Board of Education and the important work they do struggling with budgets and keeping pace with changes in the educational landscape.

While Mr. Fry has spent considerable effort reporting on the politics of education, he also excels in keeping the community informed about the successes of Juneau students and teachers. His writing has thrown open the school doors for our community to witness the incredible learning that occurs in Juneau; his stories made interesting and relevant by showing how important issues play out in the schools and in the lives of our children.

Teachers in Juneau and across the state have enjoyed Mr. Fry's excellent journalism largely for this very reason: because we, too, believe that children are among the most important stories in any community. Thank you Eric Fry, for a job well done. A+

Clay Good is president of the Juneau Education Association.

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