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School exec heads to News Corp., media exec heads to NYC schools

Sarah Gardner Nov 10, 2010
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School exec heads to News Corp., media exec heads to NYC schools

Sarah Gardner Nov 10, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: There’s an interesting case of musical chairs being played out in New York City today. The city schools chief, Joel Klein, is stepping down to go to work for the world’s biggest media company — Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Klein’s going to be replaced by a media type, Cathleen Black, the head of Hearst Magazines and the former publisher of USA Today.

Marketplace’s Sarah Gardner has more.


SARAH GARDNER: News Corp. declined to give details of Joel Klein’s new job description, only that he’d be helping the media giant “develop business strategies for the emerging educational marketplace.” So what, a new chain of Rupert Murdoch charter schools? A person close to the company says no, Murdoch is not interested in managing school systems, but providing seed money for small start-ups.

And media analyst Claire Enders speculates that may include online education products for the iPad and other Internet tablets.

CLAIRE ENDERS: Textbooks, learning tools, testing tools, exam tools. Probably the single biggest growth area in education is completely digital.

So if a school leader like Joel Klein can help a media titan like Murdoch make money off education, what can a media exec like Cathleen Black bring to the New York schools?

Media analyst Gary Arlen believes it’s more than just budgeting skills and fundraising connections.

GARY ARLEN: The public sector is recognizing the value of media as part of the culture and the way people learn and bringing in people who understand how to communicate, especially to young students, is I think is a very forward-looking idea.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks so. He said Black’s business savvy makes her the perfect schools leader. The mayor may need to persuade a few folks of that notion. The New York Daily News today described Black as a “Park Avenue exec who sent her kids to a fancy boarding school.”

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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