Jason Spencer, who was been covering the Houston school district as a Houston Chronicle reporter and editor for six years, has a new job: Promoting the Houston school district.
Spencer starts soon in HISD's communications department, where he'll be paid $95,000 a year to help give the district a positive image.
So does that mean the Chron's coverage has been positive enough to impress HISD? (They've surely been big backers of superintendent Terry Grier's Apollo 20 project.)
"I believe we've been consistently fair and tough on the school district throughout" his six years, Spencer tells Hair Balls. (And for good measure: "I don't expect that [to] change just because I'm leaving.")
The transition has already begun, apparently: Spencer says he is "very excited and honored to have this opportunity to help tell HISD's story at a time when the district leadership is deeply committed to doing right by the children of Houston....Superintendent Terry Grier has committed to running a transparent operation and I know he expects me to live out that philosophy. I wouldn't put my 14-year journalism career on the line for HISD otherwise."
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Spencer will remain at the paper through Thanksgiving, but says he will not play any role at all in any HISD coverage in that time.