A dialogue in which Sara and Scott explain just how we ended up in your inbox and why we’re sticking around:
Sara: A reporting job covering higher education wasn’t something either of us specifically set out to get. Beats like city government, politics, and criminal justice were the more-typical paths. But then we each ended up at The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Scott: Originally, I was just trying to move back to the East Coast from Albuquerque. And I wanted to write stories.
Sara: I wanted to cover public policy as it affected some group of human beings, instead of just writing about the sausage-making on the Hill, as I was doing in my first real journalism job.
Scott: At first I covered professors and graduate students — eventually became an editor and got to learn about all parts of the system. Along the way, I came to realize there was nothing small or narrow about higher ed. It touched on nearly everything in American life.
Sara: On any given week, I found myself editing stories about gender and race and economic divides. About the burdens of debt, the toll of toxic leaders, and big gaps in who colleges were helping and who they were leaving behind. There were cheaters and liars, and innovators and dreamers.
Scott: I would joke with people that yes, I worked at a trade publication — but it wasn’t Plumber’s Supply Weekly or Fast Casual Dining News. It was a niche to be sure, but one that felt more like the Grand Canyon than a narrow ravine. I came to appreciate just how sprawling and multifaceted this world of colleges was. And I came to see that I was covering a part of our society that is incredibly important; a part that, at its best, transforms lives. It’s a force that creates knowledge, educates citizens, and helps power our economy.
Sara: In short, we grew to care deeply about higher education. That’s why we’re here. We want to do more to help more Americans in more places connect with their colleges and understand how they are shaping their communities. We see higher ed as a public good. We want to hold colleges to that standard.
Scott: We’ve created Open Campus to do just that. (You can read more about our big idea here.) Today we want to welcome you to this new weekly newsletter. Here’s our plan:
This email will go out every Friday. It will include original reporting, focused on issues of inequality and the importance of place. We’ll spotlight good accountability reporting on higher ed from around the country. And we’ll let you know what we’ve been up to. We’re here to start a conversation, too, so don’t hold back. Tell us what you think!