Marcia Clemmitt

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WHO I AM:

As a high school teacher turned writer, I love finding things out and sharing my discoveries. An Ohio native, I'm a longtime Washington, DC, resident, a public-policy junkie, and an avid walker, mixed-media artist and musician.

Read my work.
Get in touch.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT ME:

EDITORS

My longtime colleague Marcia Clemmitt has asked me to pen a “couple of sentences saying that I’m an okay writer who doesn’t screw up deadlines or whatever.” More than glad to. Marcia is so good, so dependable, that, as an editor, I just about would weep with gratitude every time she came up in the assignment rotation. She’s a joy to work with, and yes, she NEVER misses a deadline. Funny too.

Marcia wrote long-form, in-depth reports on a wide range of subjects for me at CQ Researcher, but mainly science, social policy, economics and technology. These 13,000-word reports are fact-checked and footnoted and have to be readable for college students but comprehensive and substantive enough to inform academics and other experts in specific fields.

Marcia has a great talent for clear, concise, accurate writing and a polymath’s ability to get her arms around any subject, giving an editor confidence that she has mastered the field and doesn’t miss anything. The term consummate professional, overused as it often is, nonetheless is the only way to describe Marcia.

--Thomas J. Colin, former Editor and now Consulting Editor, CQ Researcher

In my 20 years of covering health policy on a daily basis in Washington, I've met no one who matches Marcia's combination of clear writing and passion for deeply researching a topic.

--John Reichard, Founder, CQ Healthbeat; former Executive Editor, Medicine & Health and Faulkner & Gray's Healthcare Information Center

Marcia Clemmitt is among the most creative, versatile, discerning and dependable journalists with whom I’ve worked. Marcia works hard, digs deeply and consistently produces work of distinction and originality. She writes masterfully on a wide range of subjects, from science, health care and technology to religion, social policy, business and education, and the result is always first rate -- insightful, thorough, accessible, and accurate.

--Tom Billitteri, Managing Editor, CQ Researcher

CLIENTS

I faxed your foreword to my...editors. My "fairy god-editor" called...and said, "Holy Sh--, this is terrific. It says it all!" And she never uses language like that....Thank you for taking the time, thought, and effort -- and thorough understanding of the message -- to create this foreword. You're awesome.

--Pam G., author -- entrepreneurship and business leadership

READERS

I teach composition and literature..., and as a long time user of CQ Researcher (going on 20 years) thought it was about time to compliment you on your work. Whenever I see your name on a CQ article, I know that my students (and myself for that matter), will find a clear, tightly organized presentation of the salient issues of that topic. Indeed, I often (okay, always) find myself assigning your work over a more recent edition to ensure students get the clearest elucidation of an issue. Thanks for keeping the “good writing” lamp lit.

--David B., Associate Professor of English, New Jersey

SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS

TECHNOLOGY: I had always hoped that there was a Congressional Quarterly [Researcher] on hackers and hacking. Well now there is one and I have to say, they have done a fantastic job. I am not surprised...The author, Marcia Clemmitt,...cover[ed] open source, transgressive hacking, Anonymous, and cybersecurity among many other issues. Out of all the recent publicly oriented publications on hackers and hacking, this is the one that is the most in-depth but accessible.

--Gabriella Coleman , McGill University Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy; author, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking and Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

HEALTH, HEALTH CARE, FINANCE: Sloppy, ideologically biased reporting on the long-term care issue is endemic in the media. A welcome exception follows....CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY NAILS THE LTC ISSUE....We're very pleased to point you today to an excellent, 23-page report titled "Caring for the Elderly." It was written by Marcia Clemmitt and published in CQ Researcher....By all means, get a copy of this excellent article.

--Stephen A. Moses , President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform, Seattle, Washington

SCIENCE, HEALTH: Ever wondered what explains the....often misguided health policies by our government? Well, it is beyond our humble brains to capture...what may be going on…but we now see that lack of access to quality information is certainly not the main problem. We are really impressed by the...24-page special issue Preventing Memory Loss by [Marcia Clemmitt of the] Congressional Quarterly Researcher....The publication is...worth the price for anyone active professionally in the healthcare sector, or interested in learning about latest research and policy trends, from academics to students.

--Alvaro Fernandez , CEO and founder, SharpBrains.com

TECHNOLOGY, LEARNING: My Library subscribes to a lot of periodicals, but the one I always make a point of checking out each month is CQ Researcher....The most recent issue....was devoted to [a report by Marcia Clemmitt on] Internet Accuracy. The section I found particular interesting, titled "How to Evaluate Blogs and Online Information Sources," can serve as a good checklist for anyone doing internet research.....I like this list so much that I'm going to co-opt it into a post for my Library's blog....All in all, definitely an issue worth reading....[C]heck for it at your local library.

--Brian Herzog , reference librarian and blogger at Swiss Army Librarian

FINANCE, PUBLIC POLICY: Excellent Report on Aging Infrastructure. Congressional Quarterly publishes something called CQ Researcher. Its Sept. 28, 2007, issue includes a long, well-done report, "Aging Infrastructure" by Marcia Clemmitt. It does more than document the problems with infrastructure that is not being properly maintained; it also shows how incentives resulting from current laws and policies lead to that outcome....I commend it to your attention.

--Robert Poole , Director of Transportation Policy, Reason Foundation

POLITICS, LANGUAGE, PSYCHOLOGY: On Feb. 21, 2011, @BrendanNyhan tweeted: Attention profs: New issue of CQ Researcher on "Lies and Politics" [by Marcia Clemmitt] -- would be great for teaching

--Brendan Nyhan , Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College; author, All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media, and the Truth

SOMETIMES I WRITE JUST FOR FUN:

My musical comedy The Odyssey, written with Buzz Mauro, has had multiple productions, amateur and professional. At The Journal/Northern Virginia Theater Alliance One-Act Play Festival, it snagged honors as Best Original Production and Best Production Overall, along with a Judges' Special Award for Excellence in Design.

Wrote actress Mikel Lambert, a festival judge: Reminiscent of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and every bit as good, if not better...the FIND of the festival!

WHAT'S NEW:

Had a great time recently interviewing education scholars for a piece on teaching thinking skills. Some see the Common Core as a potentially positive development but worry that implementation will be shallow and mechanistic.

“The way things are going now there's some hope,” says Robert Swartz, a University of Massachusetts emeritus professor of philosophy who's been helping schools incorporate thinking-skills education since the '70s. While the Common Core's emphasis on concept-based learning and intellectual skills has promise, “we're still dominated by multiple-choice tests not made up by the schools – and there's a big conflict there," Swartz says.

For one thing, ever since the No Child Left Behind law, “teachers and principals are terrified” of standardized tests, making it less likely that schools will risk the nontraditional teaching methods that education for thinking requires, says ReLeah Cosset Lent, a Georgia-based author and consultant on literacy.

The choice is stark, Lent says. “You can cover all the wars and memorize dates” – as in a traditional class, or – in a thinking-oriented class – “you can divide the kids into groups, with each group asking an essential question like, ‘What caused this particular war?’ Then they can report back to each other. They'll understand only one war, and some teachers and administrators will be afraid of that. But they'll have internalized ways of digging for information, they'll be motivated, they'll want to know more. That's deep learning. It comes from the students,” Lent says. “We either go there, or we fail.”