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Mainstream Media and Higher Education News Reporting

by P.D. Lesko

For those who work within the field of higher education in the United States, finding industry-related news can be a chore. Of course, there is The Chronicle of Higher Education. The weekly newspaper strives to examine higher education with the detail of an electron microscope. Don’t get me wrong, I (and evidently the news-paper’s 90,000+ other subscribers) thoroughly enjoy the gossipy tales of tenure denied and research grants misused. But to twist a popular saying: “How is higher education playing in Peoria?” In other words, what are the mainstream media publishing about higher education?

One can always open the pages of the local daily paper and find a sampling of higher education reporting, but more often that not that reporting focuses on local colleges and universities. The two national newspapers with by far the most comprehensive coverage of higher education are The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times. Each paper boasts extensive coverage of higher education news and trends, as well as investigative exposés.

The Christian Science Monitor’s “Learning” section includes sub-sections which cover “higher learning,” “policy and reform,” “in the classroom” and “creative solutions.” The newspaper’s “higher learning” section focuses squarely on

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