[Paleopsych] NYT: New Web Site for Academics Roils Education Journalism

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Thu Apr 14 19:31:17 UTC 2005

New Web Site for Academics Roils Education Journalism
February 14, 2005

[I sent several articles from Inside Higher Ed a few days ago, but I 
haven't visited it since about this time. It has a good signal/noise 


    Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman had covered higher education for
    years but on May 30, 2003, they found out that - in journalism -
    there's no such thing as tenure.

    On that day, both Mr. Jaschik and Mr. Lederman, the editor and
    managing editor of [1]The Chronicle of Higher Education, announced
    they were leaving the paper, where they had both worked for nearly 20
    years. They did not explain why.

    But now they are back on the beat, competing through a start-up with
    their former employer. Mr. Jaschik and Mr. Lederman, along with
    Kathlene Collins, who worked at The Chronicle for 20 years, introduced
    last month an online publication, [2]insidehighered.com. In doing so,
    Mr. Jaschik and Mr. Lederman, who are both editors, and Ms. Collins,
    who is the publisher, are trying to become the first significant
    competition in higher education publishing since the
    intellectual-if-gossipy Lingua Franca folded in 2001.

    The Chronicle of Higher Education has long been the giant in the
    field. Founded in 1966 by Corbin Gwaltney, a former editor at Johns
    Hopkins University who still owns the publication, it quickly
    established itself as a must-read for college administrators and
    faculty. The Chronicle now has a print circulation of just over 85,000
    and its Web site gets more than 10 million page views per month.

    Along the way, The Chronicle also earned a reputation for being stodgy
    and resistant to change. Jeffrey Kittay, the founder of Lingua Franca,
    now an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at
    Columbia University, says that The Chronicle regards itself as the
    paper of record in higher education, and that makes it an easy target.

    "They fulfill a need," he said. "They aren't lazy; they've taken on a
    lot of responsibility. But they see themselves with certain
    constraints, that's why you get this love-hate relationship."

    When Mr. Jaschik and Mr. Lederman saw their relationship with The
    Chronicle end in 2003, there was speculation among the remaining staff
    that they had been forced out over differences with Mr. Gwaltney. Both
    Mr. Jaschik and Mr. Lederman are circumspect when asked about their
    departure from The Chronicle.

    "We had come to the conclusion that we and The Chronicle's owner had
    different visions about what the publication and company should be,"
    said Mr. Lederman. Mr. Gwaltney was traveling and could not be reached
    for comment. Phil Semas, the editor in chief of The Chronicle, would
    only say, "We reached a mutual agreement they should leave."

    Some of that different vision will be on display on
    insidehighered.com. The site features news and opinion pieces, plus
    links to many of the blogs about academia that thrive on the Web. "The
    impact of the blogs on higher education is huge," said Ms. Collins.

    And, in contrast to The Chronicle, which is a print publication that
    publishes its content online, insidehighered.com is an online-only
    publication. The three founders all cite the desire for their site to
    be as easily accessible and democratic as possible.
    [3]Insidehighered.com is free, with no registration required; access
    to most of The Chronicle's articles requires a password that can only
    be obtained with a print subscription, which costs $82.50 a year.

    "A big part of our model is to try and reach everyone in higher ed -
    it means that everyone can be part of the conversation," said Mr.
    Jaschik. "We want grad students, young professors, people at
    institutions without a lot of money, in addition to people at
    wealthier institutions and senior administrators."

    Scott McLemee, who worked at Lingua Franca and then at The Chronicle
    and has been hired to write a column for insidehighered.com, said he
    thought there was a big market in higher education that was not being
    served by The Chronicle.

    "The Chronicle was traditionally oriented towards the administration -
    there was a brief period where it tried to reach a larger
    constituency, and then it retrenched," said Mr. McLemee. "They have no
    particular interest in reaching anyone else." It is still too early to
    know how much of the market insidehighered.com can capture. According
    to an estimate in the September 2004 Advertising Age, The Chronicle
    grossed $33 million in advertising revenues and $7 million in
    circulation revenues in 2003, although its total number of advertising
    pages for the year, 3,169, was down 14 percent from 2002.

    Some of that ad revenue comes from recruitment advertising, and it is
    there that insidehighered.com and other well-established recruitment
    sites such as [4]higheredjobs.com could pose a challenge to The

    Within a couple of weeks, insidehighered.com plans to add a job search
    database, including some innovative features, like a searchable
    database of résumés and recommendations for applicants, that Ms.
    Collins says will facilitate the labyrinthine academic hiring process.
    "We are part of the entire recruiting process, not just that first
    step of posting the job," said Ms. Collins.

    Mr. Semas of The Chronicle said that there was much on The Chronicle's
    site that was free, including the job search database and some of the
    chat forums. He also said that he was not alarmed by the new

    "We think that we already do a good job of covering higher education
    both in print and online, and provide a very popular job service for
    people in higher education, and we've been doing it since 1966."

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