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Media shine spotlight on education

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BILL RADKE: The issue of education reform is really having a moment in the spotlight. Today the much-hyped documentary “Waiting for Superman” opens in New York and L.A. Oprah is spending another hour on the topic today. And next week NBC News is hosting a big education summit. What gives?

From the Marketplace Education Desk at WYPR in Baltimore, Amy Scott gives.


AMY SCOTT: At a press conference this week the head of NBC News, Steve Capus, explained why the network is devoting a week of programming and events to education.

STEVE CAPUS: At the end of the day, the media, all of us, don’t give education nearly the coverage that it deserves.

Or maybe didn’t. Next month the Reverend Al Sharpton launches a new TV show about education. A new reality show “School Pride” debuts on NBC. It’s a sort of “Extreme Makeover” for schools. But will advertisers line up to pay for all this coverage?

Media analyst Gary Arlen says they might.

GARY ARLEN: American corporations, who are obviously the sponsors of any kind of programming, are really concerned about education because they can’t find qualified workers.

And they’re not above hitching their wagons to a hot issue. This week the Conference Board, a business group, announced it’s putting out a discussion guide for companies inspired by “Waiting for Superman.”

I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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