Lots To Learn From Education Dive

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In case you haven’t heard, newsletters are back. Once considered old-fashioned, they’re increasingly being launched and spiffed up by outlets and advocates who realize that for many people email remains the focal point of the workday. (Sad, perhaps, given all the social media and communications apps out there, but unavoidably true.)

Two relatively new education newsletters you may not have heard about come from Industry Dive, a company started in 2012 that has been putting out a K-12 and higher education newsletter for a while now.  According to its Twitter bio, Education Dive [@educationdive] “covers “k12, higher ed, MOOCs, blended learning, edtech, school administration, testing, education policy + more.” Elsewhere on the site, it claims speed and comprehensiveness: “Your Industry in 60 Seconds.”

For reporters and editors, Education Dive might be a good way to track trends and help get your stories out to a larger audience. For education newsrooms and outlets, it might be a good model for something that you might be trying to do to engage with your readers. Education Dive is going big-time at the end of this month, sponsoring the NYT higher education summit in NYC.

If you’re thinking SmartBrief, the ASCD-sponsored email,you’re on the right track. Like Smartbrief, Education Dive aggregates stories from other outlets, summarizes them, and adds a few insights. Like SmartBrief, it runs newsletters in a number of different topics. The content is aimed at district leaders and principals, not a general audience. 

What Education Dive adds, according to education editor Autumn Arnett, is a mobile-first approach. “Our presentation really wins for us,” she says. “We’re very mobile friendly, which is how we beat a lot of competitors.”

Smart story picks and add-on insights also stand out. For example, Education Dive took apart a CQ Roll Call story on statehouse policy concerns to see where education fit in. Erin McIntyre and Tara Garcia Mathewson are the main contributors. Two of the most popular stories are an early 2015 piece about the pros and cons of free community college plan and a more recent piece about growth mindset (“Promoting growth mindset means checking biases at the door”).

Its newsletters are entirely ad-supported. Education advertisers are “mostly vendors who want to sell to our audience,” according to Arnett. This includes software companies like Blackboard and Ellucian.

Located in DC’s Chinatown, Industry Dive was named one of the best places to work in the region according to a local business outlet. But that doesn’t mean it’s a slow-moving environment. For both K-12 and higher education, Education Dive pumps out about five briefs per day, plus one or two features a week.

Recent stories as of Friday: Tennessee students take state to task over standardized testingNorth Carolina Senate proposes rollback to siloed math classesFarm Bill Broadband Loans a little-known rural K-12 connectivity option.

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Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.