The decline of NJSpotlight News as an impartial news organization continues. Here are two recent examples.

The first, NJ Spotlight covered Monday’s Assembly Education Committee hearing on the learning loss caused by pandemic-related school closures, but only from one perspective. In the video material, entitled “Teachers are asking for fewer learning loss reports, fewer state grades” — NJSpotlight provides excerpts from the testimony of only the NJEA and several administrators, all of whom call for less testing. characteristically NJSpotlight’The title characterizes the NJEA’s testimony as speaking on behalf of teachers, which is exactly what NJEA lobbyist Fran Pfeffer claimed, and dutifully echoed Pfeffer’s testimony, which repeatedly said, “Stop the testing.” But the NJEA lobbyist advocates for the NJEA.

In particular, NJSpotlight ignored testimony from Paula White, JerseyCan’s executive director, who emphasized the need for student assessment because having data is essential to correcting learning loss:

“Clear, timely student summative and summative assessment data is vital to accelerating student learning because the data tracks progress and scopes persistent challenges.”

In comparison, Star-Ledger’s article referred to White’s testimony at the hearing and described the NJEA’s views as his own, not those of the teachers.

Why the strange omission of White? Recall that in 2018, White was approved by the state Board of Education as an assistant commissioner of education. But the job was canceled hours later, “sparking speculation about possible teacher union opposition to White,” the report said. Star-Ledger. Was it related to NJSpotlightignores White’s testimony?

The essence is this NJSpotlight decided to characterize the hearing under the NJEA longstanding resistance to standardized tests such as the Start Strong assessment. The reader of NJSpotlight History might suggest that all views were homogenous and that standardized tests made it more difficult to recover from learning loss, which is strikingly similar to the NJEA’s position. Of course, the NJEA would like nothing better than to bury the loss of tuition as an issue so that New Jersey parents forget about the NJEA’s role in keeping the school closed, and NJSpotlight is ready to help.

(For the record, Sunlight is not alone in its opinion NJSpotlightthe report Please watch NJEdReportit’s a great piece.)

But there is another example NJSpotlightinteresting approach to news coverage. It’s not often that you have “news” that backs a dark money Super PAC, but that’s what happened with NJSpotlight and the Educational Truth Project (ETP). In a story about this fall’s school board elections, NJSpotlight interviews Matt Kazmerczak, founder of ETP, a dark money Super PAC that is very similar to front of the NJEA. But NJSpotlight it doesn’t care.

Why would NJSpotlight decided to interview an obscure federal PAC with dark money about the New Jersey school board election? And how do they even know about a group that has only been around for five months and has nothing 191 followers on Facebook? What we do know is that the NJEA-friendly ETP got some free publicity NJSpotlight and posted the interview on his site and Facebook page. Curious.

All this begs the question: “Why NJ Spotlight cover the news in such an interesting way?” The answer is staring you in the face as you walk towards NJSpotlight website: Ubiquitous digital ad from NJEA: “Providing Support for NJ Spotlight News.” But this ad is just the latest example in a long history of financial support for the NJEA NJSpotlight and his father (see here and here). And this isn’t the first time NJSpotlight has offered a variety of appeal for NJEA-friendly viewpoints vs. NJEA-unfriendly viewpoints.

As we asked before, what happened to NJSpotlight? We all know that the news business is experiencing financial difficulties and is looking for new sources of income. We hope this does not reflect the shrewd co-optation of the NJ media by deep pockets like the NJEA.

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