[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
By LIA MILLER
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 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, 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.
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 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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