About Spotlight Schools

Spotlight Schools is a hyperlocal newsroom dedicated to covering education in Orange County. We're making it easier to get reliable and trusted information about your school and district, leaving you better informed to make decisions about your child's public school education. Our information network includes a website, weekly newsletter, and social media accounts which offer insightful coverage you can trust.

Founded in 2021, Spotlight Schools was selected as part of the Tiny News Collective, a national initiative to launch hundreds of local newsrooms across America in the next few years. Spotlight Schools is supported by Google News Initiative, LION Publishers and News Catalyst.

Our Mission

Spotlight Schools helps you better understand, navigate and participate in the TK-12 public school experience in Orange County.

Our Vision

Our goal is for Spotlight Schools to be the most trusted source for education reporting in Orange County. A trusted news source can bring people together around facts, shared challenges and thoughtful solutions. With trust there’s increased civic engagement, more informed and respectful debates, responsive governing and ultimately, better outcomes for all.

Our Values

Spotlight Schools delivers fact-based, independent, civic-minded reporting that clarifies the issues by going beyond partisan narratives with these values as our guide:

Accuracy — Facts are everything. Our #1 priority is to deliver reporting that captures what is actually happening locally. We strive to provide necessary context, use precise language and show measured proportionality to reveal the complexity of issues. If an error occurs, we will fix it as quickly as possible and make the correction known.

Public Service — We aim to serve the public interest with nonpartisan journalism that is reliable and geared toward fostering understanding, civic engagement and civil discourse.

Cooperation — Build the news with Spotlight Schools. We want to partner with parents, students, educators, community members and stakeholders to get accurate information out to everyone.

Transparency — Not only do we work to uncover how public officials do their jobs, we also want readers to understand how we do our jobs as journalists. That means giving you information about our process such as how we select stories, correcting errors quickly, and explaining editorial decisions.

Independence — We are nonpartisan. We report without fear or favor. We employ skepticism but not cynicism. Our financial supporters do not influence our editorial decisions.

Who is Spotlight Schools for?

  • Do you live in Orange County and want to better understand what’s happening at TK-12 schools?
  • Do you want to be able to make informed decisions about your child’s education?
  • Are you tired of relying on unverified posts online for hyperlocal coverage about your school?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then Spotlight Schools is for you! Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Staff

Jeannette Andruss, Co-Founder

Jeannette Andruss is a longtime journalist, public school parent and believer that civil discourse and a free press are vital for democracy. She founded Spotlight Schools in 2021 with the help of the Tiny News Collective.

She writes and reports the weekly Spotlight Schools newsletter.

Before launching Spotlight Schools, Jeannette was a freelance journalist in Orange County and was published by The Los Angeles Times, The Sun Newspapers and the Event-News Enterprise.

Prior to freelancing, Jeannette worked in local TV news as a morning newscast producer for ABC7 and KTLA in Los Angeles and at various stations in San Diego. She earned her Masters Degree at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in 2003 and completed her undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. She was born and raised in Orange County and attended public schools from 4th-12th grades. She lives in Seal Beach with her husband and two kids. Her parents are from Puerto Rico. Wepa!

Follow Jeannette on Twitter @NetteAndruss.

David N. Young, Co-Founder

David N. Young is an editor at Integrity Newspapers, having edited the Seal Beach Sun, the Catalina Islander, and now the Event-News Enterprise.

He has worked with the Department of Justice on informational products for the education community and spent many years in Washington, D.C. as a public affairs strategist, working with a host of federal agencies.

He has twice been named to Who’s Who in America and is a former television journalist at KATC and Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

He completed the LSU School of Journalism before studying broadcasting at the University of Southwestern, where he received the “Telecasting Award” for innovative programming.

Follow David on Twitter @davidnyoung

Learn about our staff →

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