We’re a nonprofit newsroom that covers higher ed in partnership with local news outlets around the country.
We’ve created a new way for local newsrooms to partner with Open Campus. We’re looking for pitches from news outlets for ambitious, one-time stories on a range of higher education topics that center local communities.
We’ll provide newsrooms up to $10,000 per story to help cover their costs. You’ll also get:
- Our higher-ed expertise
- Editing support
- Data assistance
- Additional reporting help, if necessary
If we choose your project, we’ll work with you to finesse the idea and help you plan your reporting. From there, our level of involvement will depend on what your newsroom needs. We’ll also get select stories placed in national news outlets.
To be considered for the first round of awards, fill out this short form by January 15, 2024. We’ll be taking additional applications throughout 2024.
What types of stories will be considered?
We’re excited to consider stories about all aspects of higher education — and that means much more than just what your local flagship university is up to. Here are some of the topic areas that we’d like to see covered:
- Issues facing rural colleges and students
- Education in prisons
- Community colleges and workforce development
- Student success and retention efforts
- Economic development
- Town-gown relations
- Financial aid
- Student loans and debt
- Historically Black colleges or minority-serving institutions and the role they play in communities
We aim to foster stronger local coverage of higher ed. After all, most Americans go to college within 50 miles of their hometown. To that end: While we are open to a range of ideas, these should be truly local stories. The most successful projects will have a clearly defined scope of what you’re covering and what you’re not. Focus on one city, one flagship institution, or one pattern in one state.
A good project idea for this fund seeks to hold power to account, complicates existing narratives, and surprises the reader. Got just the inkling of an idea right now? Get in touch. We don’t need perfectly formed stories to start talking about whether your newsroom might be a good fit.
Is this limited to solely higher ed reporters?
No! We’re excited to hear from reporters on a range of beats who have ideas for a higher ed story. It’s OK if you aren’t a higher-ed policy expert.
Should news organizations or individual reporters apply?
We’re open to both. Our goal is to do great stories and build long-term relationships with newsrooms. That means our priority is partnering with news organizations. Individual reporters are also welcome to pitch projects as well, with support from their newsroom.
Can freelancers apply?
We’re looking to partner with existing local outlets that serve local audiences. So, yes we’re happy to hear from freelance reporters but we’ll want to work together from the beginning with a local outlet. Freelancers with story ideas should feel free to reach out to us with questions.
Where will the story run?
Most likely in a few places — on our site and your news organization’s site, for starters. We’ll also get some stories placed in national outlets.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our story partnerships are made possible by support from Ascendium.
About Open Campus
Founded in 2019, Open Campus is the only nonprofit news organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to higher education. It’s built on an innovative collaborative model, combining a national newsroom that knows higher ed deeply with local newsrooms that know their communities deeply. Open Campus has put local reporters on the higher-ed beat in partnerships with ten newsrooms around the country.