Nevada native Neal Morton and card-carrying Oregonian Dahlia Bazzaz are the newest members of the Education Lab team at The Seattle Times.
If you’ve been reading our coverage lately, you might recognize some new names on our stories and Twitter feed. Since you’ll be seeing us around, we thought we’d take the time to introduce ourselves.
Neal Morton, Education Lab reporter
Hi, I’m Neal Morton, and after a little more than a month into the job, I couldn’t be more excited to introduce myself as the newest reporter to join Education Lab alongside Claudia Rowe and Katherine Long. My byline most previously ran in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where I interned as a high school student and returned as the paper’s K-12 reporter covering the nation’s fifth-largest school district, Clark County in Southern Nevada.
Before Las Vegas, I worked on the business desk at the San Antonio Express-News and reported on several interesting companies in Texas, including the Whataburger fast-food chain (best hamburgers in the nation, y’all). I also covered public schools in Deep South Texas along the U.S.-Mexican border, home to some of the poorest counties in the country.
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My experience there and in deeply segregated Las Vegas taught me about the profound impact that race, poverty and school funding have on a child’s chance to obtain a decent education. And I hope to explore local solutions to those challenges during my time at The Seattle Times.
I especially enjoy spending time in the classroom, if only to watch and listen to students who are light years beyond where I was at their age.
Dahlia Bazzaz, Education Lab Engagement Editor
Hey, I’m Dahlia! If you follow us on Twitter (@educationlab) or read any of our engagement posts (including this one) about surveys, polls or events, it’s most likely coming from me.
Before I started working at The Seattle Times, I reported for The Wall Street Journal, Oregon Public Broadcasting and served as editor of my college newspaper, The Emerald, at the University of Oregon. I’ve had the opportunity to report on changes in higher education funding in my home state, Oregon, and efforts expand to STEM education.
I believe the best journalism requires conversation. As engagement editor, my job is to facilitate and add new people to that conversation — and to make sure we’re bringing you relevant information about education in your communities. Sometimes that can take the shape of an online feedback form or a Facebook post, but also by attending PTA meetings and planning events where I can meet you in person. The information I collect goes directly to our team and lets us know what stories and audience we might be missing (a report card, if you will).
For the next few months, I’ll be working hard to make sure we continue some of the Education Lab traditions that invite you to interact with us. Student Voices and Ignite Education Lab are two of the efforts making their return after the new year. We’ll also experiment with new ways to touch base with our readers over text, and perhaps even start a podcast.
If you ever have an idea for a story or a comment about our work, feel free to give me a call (206-464-8522) or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Oh, and I guess I wouldn’t mind if you increased my Twitter follower count: @dahliabazzaz.