Avery Nichols to lead education journalism nonprofit Chalkbeat

Nicole Avery Nichols — the editor who has led COVID-19 coverage and other important work for nearly two decades at the Detroit Free Press — has been named editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, the nationwide journalism nonprofit dedicated to telling the story of American education.  

Avery Nichols has been an editor at the Free Press since 2003 and has supervised coverage, as she puts it, “from courts and corruption to immigration, race, gender, public health, pop culture, politics and much more.” 

“I will always cherish my experiences working at the Detroit Free Press,” she says. “I have worked with and learned from some of the most talented and dedicated journalists in the business. In all the ways that matter, Detroit has helped prepare me for whatever comes next.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for Nicole, one she richly deserves,” Free Press Editor and Vice President Peter Bhatia said. “Chalkbeat has become a major player in education coverage. They have picked a great leader and someone we will truly miss.

“Nicole isn’t just a fantastic journalist. She has been an effective and valued partner in pushing the Free Press forward on matters journalistic and especially in our ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts. Her influence is felt every day in our work and in how we operate as a news organization. I will miss her wise and candid counsel,” Bhatia said.

Avery Nichols started her career as a weekend reporter at the Utica Observer-Dispatch in upstate New York more than 25 years ago. From the start, and throughout her work at several newspapers and magazines, she has been committed to creating space for underrepresented people within the realm of mainstream media. 

In 2020, she was named the “Working in the Spirit of Diversity” awardee by Wayne State University in Detroit.

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