Students looking to research colleges when deciding where to apply take value in a large number of sources to guide their decisions. Magazines, newspapers, and websites provide reports, reviews and other forms of information that can help steer a decision towards one college. But do you ever wonder if the information available is as balanced as it could be? There are more than 4,000 higher education institutes in the country. Is it easier to use familiarity to create reports and press on these schools for these publications?
A SUNY student at Binghamton University (and recent intern with the Office of New Media at SUNY System Administration!), Jack Fischer sought to find out if certain types of schools were receiving more or better coverage from one of the largest daily newspapers in the country, the New York Times. Specifically, private schools versus public schools. The reason? “It just seemed like there wasn’t much being said about a lot of public institutions, especially in light of the intense coverage of similar private schools,” Fischer said.
Jack set out to gather data about how the New York Times provides coverage to higher education institutions, whether it be good or bad. After processing the data, his larger conclusion matched his casual observations: “Public schools are not covered as much as private schools, accounting for those factors (ranking, size, liberal, location near New York City).”
With these observations, Jack concludes that private schools with large legacy reputations may dominate the news, thereby weakening the opportunity for public colleges to grow their reputations and their social presence.
Some very interesting observations from a student who went through the decision process not too long ago.
Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.