is the New York City education reporter at
POLITICO New York
. She received her bachelor's degree in political science and French at Barnard College and her master's degree in magazine, newspaper, and online journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
at Syracuse University. She covered general news in the
neighborhoods of College Point, Flushing, Whitestone, and Fresh Meadows
at the TimesLedger Newspapers in Queens from 2014 to 2016 and New York City politics at the Observer from 2016 to 2018. She started covering education at POLITICO in June.
How did you come to work in journalism?
I've always enjoyed writing - I've kept journals since I was in elementary school. At the time, I knew that that was what I wanted to do merely because I liked writing and the idea of interviewing people and being on the scene seemed cool. But as I got older, and particularly when I started working for the student-run newspaper, Columbia Daily Spectator, while I was in college as well as my experience writing for the local paper in Syracuse when I was in grad school, I started to really see how writing and reporting and telling people's stories can help make a difference - and influence policy and bring about reform.
What do you currently cover as a reporter?
I'm covering education for POLITICO New York. The focus is citywide education policy and politics - so the public school system and higher education.
What kinds of stories are particularly interesting to you?
I like hyperlocal/local news and focusing on what's happening in neighborhoods and communities. I very much enjoy reporting on spot news and issues of the day, if you will, but I'm passionate about the untold stories. There are certain issues as well as groups or communities that do not get covered enough or well - especially people of color and marginalized communities. My family is African and Muslim, so it's an instinct to also think about that, too.
What advice do you have for people who want to pitch you?
I think it's important to know both the publication's specific area of focus and what individual reporters are covering. I also have some specific issues that I'm very interested in, such as immigration. I don't expect people to read every single thing I write, but I always appreciate people who say "I know you love to cover XYZ" or "You've done a lot of reporting on XYZ, so I thought this might interest you." Sometimes they'll tag me on Twitter for certain press conferences, events, and rallies, too. It's always nice when people take the time to look at what I'm interested in and what types of stories I tend to cover.
What are some common mistakes that people make while trying to pitch you?
Sometimes I get random story pitches that have absolutely nothing to do with my beat - it's always good to know both the publication's specific area of focus and what individual reporters are covering.
Our focus at Anat Gerstein is on nonprofits - what are some tips on how nonprofits can best pitch you or colleagues?
I think that there are a lot of sub-areas within the education beat: immigration, homelessness, police reform, language access, etc., and there are plenty of nonprofits that specialize in those and other areas and work on policy initiatives.
How should people reach you to pitch a story?