Interview with education reporter and blogger Katy Murphy

27 04 2012

Education reporter and blogger for the Oakland Tribune, Katy Murphy

When and why did you start blogging about education?

I was writing about education for seven years. I started a blog for Oakland schools and thought this was very useful. I feel it’s a better way to inform [the] community. I chose to write a blog to involve the community more.

What do you think of the general society’s perception of urban youth communities such as Oakland? How do you think we as community members can change that?

I’m not sure of [a] perception. [I think] from movies, they think of urban schools as violent, dysfunctional, and chaotic.

Many schools are undergoing changes in the next school year. Fremont Federation is one particular school that is expecting major ones. What is one thing you think the OUSD schools should to improve on to better society’s perception of it?

“Safety concerns.” I think the principles should establish culture [in the schools]. Community involvement for families, policing, discipline. Everyone has to play a part in it.

Why do you think Oakland in general is looked at the way it’s looked at? Many have told me Oakland is such a dangerous city but doesn’t give it the change to show its true beauty

I didn’t realize how great it was until I moved here.

Certain murders happen in certain neighborhoods. About 30 people get murdered in West Oakland, a community of approximately 25,000.

There’s also a history of activism in Oakland (Black Panthers, etc.). Across the country Oakland looked like a threat. [There are] violent protests on the news.  The events are very real.

Murphy explained that she wrote about a shooting at McClymonds High School a few years back. There were three shot and injured. Luckily, no one died. She also explained how events like these can “desensitize the students.”

What misperceptions do you think society has on Oakland?

“I feel like people nationally, they don’t realize how much Oakland has changed. I think a lot of people see Oakland as a b/w city. When its grown much more diverse. [It has] a lot of natural beauty and people don’t see that. People just see one side of it. I think people in the Bay Area don’t see that. A lot of news will show just crime, catastrophe, mayhem.I think some people are just fearful.