About Open Campus


Mission

Open Campus is a nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigating and elevating higher education.

We’re working to transform local reporting on college by combining the sophistication of a national newsroom that knows a topic very deeply with the engagement of a community newsroom that knows a place very deeply. This, we believe, can be part of a new collaborative model for how important public-policy journalism can be done in this country. 

Values

We believe an independent, nonprofit news organization can use the moral force of investigative journalism to hold these powerful American institutions accountable and to connect them more deeply to the public.

At the same time, we believe in the core mission of higher education. And we believe that holding it up to its own standards can foster the social impact it can and should have.

We are committed to:

  • Independence. We accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations, corporations, and foundations. Our news judgments are made independently, and supporters have no control over our editorial decisions. More about our funding.
  • Diversity and Inclusion. We seek to empower citizens of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds through our journalism. To do that, we work to amplify diverse voices in the communities we serve, to reflect the racial diversity of those communities in our sources, and to elevate the experiences of people who have long been under-covered in stories about college. We are committed to building a diverse team of journalists who reflect the racial and socioeconomic backgrounds of the nation and of the cities and states where we work. More about working with us.
  • In-depth Journalism. Our goal is not simply to increase the quantity of stories on higher education, but, more importantly, the quality. We focus on producing thoughtful, sophisticated, impactful reporting. We seek to hold higher education accountable, to challenge conventional story lines, to point to solutions and barriers, and to assess and identify broad trends and disparate impacts. 

Why Open Campus

Higher education is vital to our democracy, to jobs and the economy, to racial equity and social mobility, and to solving society’s problems.

Losses at news organizations around the country mean higher education gets less attention than it deserves. That disconnects citizens from their colleges, fuels skepticism, and prevents people from getting information they need to engage with these powerful actors in their communities. 

Founded in 2019, Open Campus is working to improve the coverage Americans get about college at both the national and local levels. Our local reporters, embedded in partner newsrooms, are part of an Open Campus network of higher-education journalists, supported by a team of national editors and reporters who are subject-matter experts. More about our local network. 

More about our vision from the co-founders, Scott Smallwood and Sara Hebel.

More about Scott and Sara and the Open Campus team.

Read our annual report.