Recognizing the important coverage of charter schools by The Lens, two local philanthropies have made another round of grants, this year totaling $25,000.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation today awarded $10,000 in an IMPACT 2012 grant to The Lens’ Charter School Reporting Corps, a two-year-old effort aimed at covering the city’s 50-plus charter school boards.

This is the second year the foundation has recognized The Lens as one of the area’s most highly effective nonprofit organizations.

The Zemurray Foundation, a distinguished philanthropic New Orleans institution, also renewed its support of the project with its second annual $15,000 donation.

“We’re grateful for the continued support of these two notable organizations,” said Steve Beatty, managing editor of The Lens. “These dollars allow us to do this groundbreaking work that isn’t offered anywhere else.”

In its second year, the Charter School Reporting Corps involves citizen journalists in the unwieldy task of covering the people who make decisions affecting city’s 70-plus charter schools. The Corps aims to staff and report on every meeting of every board while also unearthing important stories that otherwise go overlooked in the modern media landscape.

“With now 84 percent of New Orleans public school students attending charter schools, it’s imperative that our community be as informed as possible about these operations,” Beatty said. “The best way to do that is to be there, especially when no one else is.”

The Charter School Reporting Corps was established in 2011 with the generous support of The Knight Foundation. In addition to strengthening public accountability, another goal of the project is to increase media literacy and provide training and mentorship for aspiring journalists.

For more information about the Charter School Reporting Corps, visit the project’s website at

Rebecca Catalanello

Rebecca Catalanello edits the Charter School Reporting Corps. A New Orleans native and graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School, Catalanello spent much of her 15-year newspaper career covering K-12 education....