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Chronicle Higher Education - The Chronicle of Higher Education: A Model of Lively Thought

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When a Ph.D. is looking for an academic job, there’s one publication he turns to first: the Chronicle of Higher Education. Over 30,000 academic positions are listed in the Chronicle each year, and more than 95,000 readers have signed up with them to receive job alerts.

Founded in 1966 by Corbin Gwaltney who still owns the newspaper, the Chronicle of Higher Education is the preeminent source for academic-related news and information in the United States. The Chronicle has a paid circulation of 80,000 and an estimated readership of 350,000. Over 75 writers, editors and foreign correspondents contribute to the Chronicle’s print edition, which is published 42 times a year, and its website, which is updated every weekday. Since 2007, the Chronicle’s editor has been Jeffrey J. Selingo.

History of the Chronicle of Higher Education

In 1957 Corbin Gwaltney, then editor of Johns Hopkins University’s monthly alumni magazine, began augmenting the magazine with a supplement focusing on news of interest to the national academic community. The insert became very popular, quickly attracting an audience of 2.4 million readers. Shortly thereafter, Gwaltney applied for – and was awarded – a Carnegie Foundation grant to investigate the viability of publishing an entire publication devoted to information of interest to college and university faculty and administrators. Could such a journal make money? Gwaltney began publishing the print edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education in 1966. Eight years later, the newspaper began turning a modest profit.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Website: chronicle.com

In 1993 the Chronicle of Higher Education became one of the first newspapers to appear on the Internet through the document retrieval application, Gopher.

Today the Chronicle’s website chronicle.com receives more than 15 million page views per month from 1.5 million unique visitors, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC.) Over 300,000 users have registered to access the free portion of the website. The website also offer premium content, available only to digital or print subscribers.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Features

Under Corbin Gwaltney’s editorial direction, the Chronicle of Higher Education eschewed all editorial writing, anything that might seem like opinion rather than fact. That stance has mellowed over the years and today the Chronicle’s Opinion & Ideas is one of the newspaper’s most popular sections, particularly its blog Brainstorming which focuses on whimsy and the arts. The Chronicle has a book review section and even a crossword puzzle.

But the heart of the Chronicle remains its academic news coverage. Recent pieces have included a story about the suicide of The Virginia Quarterly Review’s editor Kevin Morrissey, a feature expose on student loan default rates (which has since become a breaking headline on mainstream news sites), and a heartfelt plea from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales begging students not to use his online encyclopedia as an academic resource.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Awards

The Chronicle of Higher Education and many of its writers have been shortlisted for many prestigious newspaper awards over its 44 years of publication. The Chronicle was a Finalist in the National Magazine Awards’ General Excellence category in the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. In 2005, regular Chronicle contributor Carlin Romano was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism.

Both the print edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education and its website have also won many commendations over the years. In 2007 the newspaper won the Utne Reader’s Independent Press Award for Political Coverage for its “Chronicle Review” section in which guest academics debate political and social issues – sometimes very heatedly indeed. The Chronicle has received over two dozen citations from the Education Writers Association as well as the Folio Editorial Excellence Award on three occasions.

The Chronicle’s website has won several awards for creative online newspaper design, including one Webby.

The Chronicle of Higher Education vs. Inside Higher Education

In May 2003, then editor and managing editor Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman left the Chronicle of Higher Education on less than amicable terms. One year later the two men founded a competitor website insidehighered.com which, unlike the Chronicle. had no print counterpart. Although Inside Higher Education writes and publishes academically oriented news, much of its content consists of links to the many blogs about academia that already existed.

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about 7 years ago

This article misrepresents the competition between The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed; the latter is quickly overtaking the Chronicle as the news and jobs source of choice, particularly for younger academics.