New beginnings in education coverage

By Joseph Pratt

February 18, 2014

Joseph Pratt


Last week, I slid into the old desk of the former education writer, Ryan Ottney, who was recently promoted to PDT managing editor. I’ve worked with the Daily Times in many capacities since 2010, as an intern, contributor and now as a full-time staff writer. I’ve had the goal of joining the news team of Frank Lewis, Ryan Ottney, Wayne Allen and Portia Williams for quite a while, but honestly wasn’t expecting to do so as the education writer.

I’ve previously focused heavily on local organizations and arts. I will continue to make sure art is completely covered, but I will now be responsible for education and the Wheelersburg area as well.

I am not worried about my ability to cover all local school districts adequately and without bias; I just know I have the coverage Ryan previously presented to live up to. I was a little anxious to take the responsibility, but Bob Strickley, previous editor of the Times, gave me words of encouragement before starting and I have the advice of Ryan at my full disposal, as I transition.

I’ve been in the role for about a week and have scratched the surface of getting introduced with the local school systems and plan to be fully familiar as quickly as possible.

I’ve always loved my job, because I’m in a town I love deeply, daily covering the great things people in my community accomplishes. I’ve always been amazed by the level of excellence the community has, and in one week’s time, I’ve been amazed by the people in our education systems. From a hundred published elementary student authors, a merit scholar who has passed tests with flying colors, creative superintendents, a student who received the honor of first chair in a national honors band and more; I am eager to give coverage to those standout people.

I’m obviously inclined to not only cover the good news and accomplishments of schools and students, but the news that people don’t always enjoy reading. I look forward to building bridges with those in the education departments of our community and hope I can provide a level of service that does justice to the award-winning coverage we have written has in the past.

Any stories or features on local school, students and teachers can be forwarded with attention to me and I will strive to get them covered and out to the public in a timely manner.

Contact Joseph Pratt at Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 278 or on Twitter @JosephPratt03.