Higher-ed reporting gets a boost in Pittsburgh as part of partnership between PublicSource and Open Campus

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Some University of Pittsburgh's students, faculty and alumni are upset that it accepted $4.2 million in funding from the Charles Koch Foundation for a new center to study politics, markets and technology.

The University of Pittsburgh's campus in Oakland. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Pittsburgh’s nonprofit newsroom PublicSource and the national Open Campus network are partnering to ensure a watchful eye remains on higher education in Southwestern Pennsylvania when it matters the most.

The coronavirus pandemic is derailing students’ education plans, imperiling their health, safety and employment prospects. The uncertainties created by the pandemic have also put pressure on higher-ed institutions, from how students and employees return to campus to how colleges and universities respond to their fluctuating finances. At the same time, the region will be looking to its colleges to help it recover.

As new challenges arise, PublicSource and Open Campus recognize the Pittsburgh region needs a dedicated higher-ed reporter. Today, we announced our search for the right journalist to fill the position.

Open Campus is a national nonprofit news organization focused on improving local coverage of higher education by working with newsrooms like PublicSource to add dedicated reporters in their communities.

“College gets a lot of national attention, but it rarely gets the local attention it deserves,” said Scott Smallwood, co-founder of Open Campus. “That’s why we’re excited to collaborate with PublicSource — a mission-driven news organization in a city where higher education really matters.”

The PublicSource newsroom in Pittsburgh, Pa. — founded in 2011 — currently covers K-12 education, local government, economic development, the environment, health, public safety and race relations. The mission of the newsroom is to inspire critical thinking and bold ideas through local journalism rooted in facts, excellence, diverse voices and pursuit of transparency.

"We are thrilled to partner with Open Campus,” said PublicSource Executive Director Mila Sanina. “Through this partnership, we hope to extend our mission of informing residents of the Pittsburgh region. It will help us serve the public interest in ways that make our region better, especially because higher education is a pillar of our local economy and intellectual infrastructure. This is a big win for Pittsburgh.”

The Pittsburgh economy is often talked about as a phoenix rising from the collapse of steel and now dominated by ‘eds and meds.’ The major tentpoles of our region are again under great stress due to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

PublicSource and Open Campus believe the engaged citizens of the Pittsburgh region deserve passionate and innovative journalism about higher ed as it plays a key role in our economy and society’s future.

If you’re the right person for the job or know someone who might be, see the job posting here.

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