Opportunity for your students: State Supt. Candidate Interview Project!

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Opportunity for your students: State Supt. Candidate Interview Project!

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The impending election of a new state superintendent will likely have an impact on scholastic journalism in California, and we’d love to find some student reporters from programs across the state who might be able to help us with a project.

We’d love to have each of the five candidates “assigned” to a particular student news outlet, perhaps with geographical proximity in mind, though that isn’t necessarily critical. Those reporters would then be responsible for securing a press conference-style interview with the candidate, recording it, and editing it for publication on the JEANC website. We would certainly want a portion of the interview to cover issues that are of importance to our students and programs. In particular, we’d want each candidate to speak specifically about the value of a free student press.

You’d also be able to run that coverage on your own media outlets as well. And the resulting videos would ideally serve as source material for state-wide scholastic journalism students who will be writing on the issues and the campaign. Our hope is that the JEANC website becomes a hub for anyone interested in finding out more about the candidates. A secondary goal here will be the “meta” story covering the process of the story getting put together; it would be fascinating to have the student group collaborate on that piece as well.

Once we can confirm the participating programs and the name of a student representative from each, we’ll set up a Google Hangout where those reps can get together and agree upon the question bank.

At this point there are five candidates (and perhaps more will join the race):

  • Adam Anderson, Former Chicago Public Schools Administrator, Education Non-Profit Executive and California Public Schools Alumnus (SF area code, Sacramento mailing address)
  • Tony Thurmond, Democratic State Assemblyman (Richmond)
  • Marshall Tuck, former CEO of Partnership for LA Schools, former President of Green Dot Public Schools and candidate in 2014
  • Lily Ploski, financial awareness instructor for an Upward Bound program, based at Mills College in Oakland, for low-income and first-generation college students (Oakland)
  • Karen Blake, co-founder of, a website promoting science and nature games, videos and activities. (Bakersfield)

More candidate info is available in this Edsource story. And also on Ballotpedia.

Please email [email protected] by February 28 if you are interested in applying for one of these slots. Include the following:

  1. School Name
  2. Media Outlet name
  3. Name and email address of adviser
  4. Name and email address of student reporter “point person”
  5. Which candidate you would like to interview (note: this could be subject to change based on applications and availability of candidates)
  6. Why you believe your program would be a good choice


Tentative Timeline:

Feb 28: Applications due

March 9: Candidate filing deadline

March 12: Participating schools are announced, along with corresponding candidates

By March 19: student reps meet electronically to draft questions and discuss project parameters

By March 26: Each student rep secures an interview time/location that works for their staff (or a portion of their staff)

April: interviews conducted

April 12-15: JEA convention in San Francisco. Schedule informal meet-up for students in the group (if possible)

By May 1: videos are posted on JEANC website

By May 30: story about the project posted on JEANC website, student-led promotion of project underway

June 5: primary (to determine final two candidates for general election)

November 6: general election

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The Student News Site of Journalism Education Association of Northern California
Opportunity for your students: State Supt. Candidate Interview Project!