Sawsan Morrar is The Bee’s new school accountability reporter

Sawsan Morrar is The Bee’s new school accountability reporter.
Sawsan Morrar is The Bee’s new school accountability reporter.

Sometimes the most meaningful stories are the most local.

Last year, I was part of a 10-person reporting team that looked at how where you’re born determines how you will live and when you will die. We focused on Fresno County, home to some of the nation’s starkest inequalities.

I’ve reported internationally, covering stories on climate change and mental health among refugees. More recently, I freelanced for The Washington Post, continuously covering the shooting death of Stephon Clark.

Often, it’s the reporting in your own neighborhood – the kind that national news outlets overlook – that is most influential.

As a reporter, it’s important that I am able to take a broader issue and extract anecdotal stories that resonate with readers. It could be about the effects of gentrification in the Bay Area, how local elections unite the community, or how California residents mailed in their acorns to plant in the North Bay after the fire.

As the education reporter, I want to ensure that the news involving our region’s schools is accessible, transparent and meaningful to our readers. Education news is not about the schools, or their budgets. It’s about our most important residents – our youths.

I am a product of Sacramento-area schools myself. I attended K-12 in the Elk Grove Unified School District, and UC Davis for my undergraduate studies. In May, I received my master’s at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. During those two formative years I expanded into multimedia journalism and networked with influential reporters – even meeting Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Sacramento is home. I grew up reading The Bee and I wrote my first news stories at Laguna Creek High School. My newspaper teacher, Erik Olson, was instrumental in supporting my aspirations. It was in a local classroom where I learned how to write a lead, design a layout and shoot film – and decided to become a journalist.

In many ways, returning to Sacramento as an education reporter is like coming full circle. I look forward to bringing you the important issues involving K-12 schools, preschools, colleges and universities in our region.

Sawsan Morrar covers school accountability and culture for The Sacramento Bee. She grew up in Sacramento and is an alumna of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She previously freelanced for various publications including The Washington Post, Vice, KQED and Capital Public Radio.