Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Overview

Higher Education Beat

A blog about issues affecting postsecondary education.

A blog about issues affecting postsecondary education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Critical Race Theory: Resources and Tips to Debunk Misinformation
How reporters can arm themselves with knowledge to prevent the spread of intentional and unintentional incorrect information.

This story was updated on Sept. 23, 2021. 

After a more than 40-year-old graduate-level, academic research framework became the center of a national culture war that began last year, misinformation and disinformation infiltrated the public sphere, and internet searches increased.

In 2019, Nexis listed a total of 635 news articles mentioning “critical race theory.” Today, the phrase is cited in more than 5,000 pieces a month. And the vast majority of those stories focus on how history and race are taught in schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

8 Questions to Ask About College Enrollment Numbers
COVID-19 sparked enrollment declines at universities, especially among low-income students.

As students and higher learning institutions prepare for the fall semester, lagging vaccination rates and the rise of the delta variant present unanticipated challenges.

For reporters looking to tell stories about how the ongoing public health crisis is affecting higher education access, enrollment numbers are a good place to start.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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.

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Critical Race Theory 101: Essential Context for Education Reporters

Critical Race Theory 101: Essential Context for Education Reporters

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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. 

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How to Turn Higher Education Coverage into Published Books

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)

How to Turn Higher Education Coverage into Published Books

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Video Tutorial: Downloading and Using College Scorecard Data
Analyze alumni earnings, student debt and other college data.

Video Tutorial: Downloading and Using College Scorecard 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.

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Video Tutorial: How to Use the College Scorecard Tool
Find college data on student loans, alumni earnings and more.

Video Tutorial: How to Use the College Scorecard Tool

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.