Blog: Higher Ed Beat
How to Cover COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Bans at Colleges
Learn about the key players, find data, get story ideas and more.
The fast-spreading COVID-19 Delta variant is forcing rapid changes in colleges’ vaccination plans and requirements. And these changes are encountering backlash from state legislatures and students as they roll out.
Reporters covering the vaccine and its usage among students, faculty and staff at colleges need to provide context on how policies comport with state laws or preemptions, how students and local communities are affected by these decisions, and how to track vaccine mandates’ rollout and potential outbreaks.
With Schools Reopening Full-Time, What Pandemic-Driven Changes Will Last?
Get 7 story ideas to help you cover K-12 and higher education shifts that may have staying power.
Despite the many hardships the pandemic caused, the COVID-19 disruption also sparked – or in some cases accelerated – changes to K-12 and higher education that leaders say should stick.
The speakers pointed to the power of flexibility, the need to focus energy and resources that will serve the “whole student,” and how increased outreach and new communication strategies with students and families could be transformative during a plenary at the Education Writers Association’s 2021 National Seminar.
Free College Tuition Isn’t Enough: Fresh Story Ideas on the Dropout Crisis
What education reporters need to know about social service programs that can help close the completion gap
When it comes to writing news stories about efforts to help low-income students earn a college degree, journalists may be tempted to focus on “promise” programs that provide free tuition and, occasionally, intense academic counseling.
Legislation banning the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools and colleges is being advanced in statehouses all over the country. Lawmakers sponsoring these policies claim that such teaching is divisive, racist, and psychologically distressing. Opponents say that this is a manufactured misinformation campaign intended to chill teacher speech and limit educators’ ability to teach about race and racism.
‘We Are Not a Monolith:’ How to Better Cover Race on Campus
Questions to ask about student activism, racism and racial injustice at colleges
For decades, college campuses have served as vital spaces for student activism, especially on issues of race. And, if anything, campus activism on racial issues has been ramping up in 2021.
Advocating for accommodations has been a constant, but largely quiet, struggle for college students with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990. The law requires colleges and universities to provide equal access to students with disabilities by providing accommodations that remove barriers to their participation.
Tips for Scrutinizing Data on College Value
Are college students getting the best education for their (and taxpayers’) money?
What’s the “value” of a college education? As college costs rise, more people are questioning what they’re getting for their tuition and tax money.
Reporters investigating this important topic can access a growing number of databases that are starting to capture at least some aspects of value, according to Dominique Baker, an education policy professor at Southern Methodist University, and Robert Kelchen, a professor at Seton Hall University and data manager for the Washington Monthly College Rankings.
Professional journalists who turned their beat coverage of higher education into books shared their experiences during a May 4 session at the Education Writers Association’s 2021 National Seminar.
Learn about the different ways they found literary agents, and how they approached their writing, publishing and promotion journeys.
The participants were:
- Adam Harris, The Atlantic
- Josh Mitchell, The Wall Street Journal
- Andy Thomason, The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Melissa Korn, The Wall Street Journal (Moderator)
Video Tutorial: Downloading and Using College Scorecard Data
Analyze alumni earnings, student debt and other college data.
Data on how quickly people pay back their student loans, and how much alumni earn are among the most commonly cited indicators of the economic value of higher education.
So where do you find that important, and news-making data?
Check out the College Scorecard. The U.S. Department of Education provides free in-depth data on five areas: cost, graduation rate, employment rate, average amount borrowed and loan default rate.
Video Tutorial: How to Use the College Scorecard Tool
Find college data on student loans, alumni earnings and more.
If you’re on the higher education beat, your readers are hungry for news and information about student loans and whether a particular college or major paid off in the form of a good job.
Luckily, the U.S. Department of Education has started providing free in-depth data on student debt levels and alumni earnings on its College Scorecard.
Are ‘Merit’-based Education Admissions Practices Racist?
Experts outline problems with - and efforts to improve - use of SAT scores, affirmative action, school lotteries.
It is one of the thorniest topics in education: What criteria should be used to fairly determine which students are admitted to America’s “elite” public schools, colleges and universities?
Many top schools have faced criticism in recent decades for not reflecting the nation’s racial and socioeconomic diversity.
Racism at VMI
The Washington Post’s Ian Shapira shares backstory to his prize-winning investigation of racist policies and practices at Virginia Military Institute
(EWA Radio Episode 270)
The impact of reporter Ian Shapira’s deep dive into the troubled culture at the nation’s oldest state-support military college was seismic: within days, the Virginia Military Institute’s leader had resigned, and Gov. Ralph Northam pledged an independent investigation.