U.S. News & World Report

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U.S. News & World Report
US News College.jpg
U.S. News & World Report cover
Editor Brian Kelly (editor)
Categories Newsmagazine
Frequency Monthly
Circulation 1,269,260[1]
Publisher Kerry F. Dyer
First issue 1933 (United States News)
1946 (World Report)
1948 (merger)
Company U.S. News & World Report, L.P. (Mortimer Zuckerman)
Country Washington, DC, United States
Language English
Website usnews.com
ISSN 0041-5537

U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. since 1933. Since 1983, it has become known primarily for its influential ranking and annual reports of colleges and graduate schools, spanning across most fields and subjects. U.S. News & World Report is America's oldest and best-known ranking of academic institutions,[2] and covers the fields of business, law, medicine, engineering, education, social sciences and public affairs, in addition to many other areas.[3] Its print edition is consistently included in national bestseller lists, augmented by online subscriptions. The organization's staff is the largest dedicated predominantly to compiling and analyzing data for ranking purposes. Additional rankings published by U.S. News & World Report include hospitals, medical specialties and automobiles.

Starting in June 2008, the magazine reduced its publication frequency in three steps. It switched in June 2008 from weekly to biweekly.[4] In November 2008 it decreased to monthly.[5] In November 2010, it was reported that U.S News & World Report would be switched to an online-only format, effective after it published its December issue, with the exception of print publishing special issues on colleges, hospitals, and personal finance.[6] Moving forward, the publication expressed its plans to focus mainly on research and the provision of relevant information to students pursuing higher education. Its rankings and university guide books are available in print at the majority of bookstores and magazine vendors in the United States, selling millions of copies on an annual basis.[1]


United States News was founded in 1933 by David Lawrence (1888–1973), who also started World Report in 1946. The two magazines initially covered national and international news separately, but Lawrence merged them into U.S. News & World Report in 1948 and subsequently sold the magazine to his employees. In 1984, it was purchased by Mortimer Zuckerman, who is also the owner of the New York Daily News.

The editorial staff of U.S. News & World Report is based in Washington, D.C., but the magazine is owned by U.S. News & World Report, L.P., a privately held company based in the Daily News building in New York City.

Historically, the magazine has tended to be slightly more conservative than its two primary competitors, Time and Newsweek. It also eschews sports, entertainment and celebrity news.[7]

In 1995, the website Usnews.com was launched providing access to all articles from the print edition.

In 2007, U.S. News published its list of the nation's best high schools for the first time. Its ranking methodology includes state test scores and the success of poor and minority students on these exams, and schools' performance in Advanced Placement tests.

In June 2008, citing the decline overall magazine circulation and advertising, U.S. News & World Report announced that it will become a biweekly publication, starting January 2009.[8] It hoped advertisers would be attracted to the schedule, which allowed ads to stay on newsstands a week longer. However, five months later the magazine changed its frequency again, becoming monthly.[9]

In August 2008, U.S. News expanded and revamped its online opinion section.[10] The new version of the opinion page included daily new op-ed content as well as the new Thomas Jefferson Street blog.[11]

An internal memo was sent on November 5, 2010, to the staff of the magazine informing them that the "December issue will be our last print monthly sent to subscribers, whose remaining print and digital replica subscriptions will be filled by other publishers".[6] The memo went on to say that the publication would be moving to a primarily digital format but that it would continue to print special issues such as "the college and grad guides, as well as hospital and personal finance guides".

America's Best Colleges[edit]

In 1983, U.S. News & World Report published its first "America's Best Colleges" report. The rankings have been compiled and published annually since 1985 and are the most widely quoted of their kind in the United States.

These rankings are based upon data which U.S. News & World Report collects from each educational institution, either from an annual survey sent to each school, or from the school's website. They are also based upon opinion surveys of university faculties and administrators who do not belong to the schools.

The popularity of U.S. News & World Report's college rankings is reflected in its 2007 release[12]

  • Within three days of the rankings release, the U.S. News website received 10 million page views, compared to 500,000 average views in a typical month
  • Eighty percent of visitors access the ranking section of the website directly rather than navigating via the magazine's home page
  • The printed issue incorporating its college rankings sells 50% more than its normal issues at the newsstand

U.S. News also publishes comprehensive college guides in book form.[13]

Criticism of college rankings[edit]


During the 1990s, three educational institutions in the United States were involved in a movement to boycott the U.S. News & World Report college rankings survey. The first was Reed College which stopped submitting the survey in 1995. The survey was also criticized by Alma College, Stanford University, and St. John's College during the late 1990s.[14]

SAT scores play a role in The U.S. News & World Report college rankings even though U.S. News is not empowered with the ability to formally verify or recalculate the scores that are represented to them by schools. Since the mid-1990s there have been many instances documented by the popular press wherein schools lied about their SAT scores in order to obtain a higher ranking.[15]


On June 19, 2007, during the annual meeting of the Annapolis Group, members discussed the letter to college presidents asking them not to participate in the "reputation survey" section of the U.S. News & World Report survey (this section comprises 25% of the ranking).

As a result, "a majority of the approximately 80 presidents at the meeting said that they did not intend to participate in the U.S. News reputational rankings in the future".[16] The statement also said that its members "have agreed to participate in the development of an alternative common format that presents information about their colleges for students and their families to use in the college search process".[17] This database will be web-based and developed in conjunction with higher-education organizations including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges.

On June 22, 2007, U.S. News & World Report editor Robert Morse issued a response in which he argued, "in terms of the peer assessment survey, we at U.S. News firmly believe the survey has significant value because it allows us to measure the 'intangibles' of a college that we can't measure through statistical data. Plus, the reputation of a school can help get that all-important first job and plays a key part in which grad school someone will be able to get into. The peer survey is by nature subjective, but the technique of asking industry leaders to rate their competitors is a commonly accepted practice. The results from the peer survey also can act to level the playing field between private and public colleges".[18] In reference to the alternative database discussed by the Annapolis Group, Morse also argued, "It's important to point out that the Annapolis Group's stated goal of presenting college data in a common format has been tried before [...] U.S. News has been supplying this exact college information for many years already. And it appears that NAICU will be doing it with significantly less comparability and functionality. U.S. News first collects all these data (using an agreed-upon set of definitions from the Common Data Set). Then we post the data on our website in easily accessible, comparable tables. In other words, the Annapolis Group and the others in the NAICU initiative actually are following the lead of U.S. News".[18]

Some higher education experts, such as Kevin Carey of Education Sector, have argued that U.S. News and World Report's college rankings system is merely a list of criteria that mirrors the superficial characteristics of elite colleges and universities. According to Carey, the U.S. News ranking system is deeply flawed. Instead of focusing on the fundamental issues of how well colleges and universities educate their students and how well they prepare them to be successful after college, the magazine's rankings are almost entirely a function of three factors: fame, wealth, and exclusivity". He suggests that there are more important characteristics parents and students should research to select colleges, such as how well students are learning and how likely students are to earn a degree.[19]

In January 2011, U.S. News & World Report became associated with the National Council on Teacher Quality to begin an evaluation of teacher education programs across the nation. Because its methodology in previous rankings of teacher education programs across the country was highly controversial, this undertaking raises serious questions about the validity of these rankings and U.S. News as an unbiased reviewer.[20]

America's Best Hospitals[edit]

For the past 22 years, U.S. News has compiled a list of America's Best Hospitals.[21] Military and veterans' hospitals are excluded.[22]

Although there are alternative rankings of U.S. hospitals that reflect routine medical procedures,[22][23] the U.S. News rankings are specifically based on a different methodology that looks at difficult cases within 16 specialties, including cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, ear nose & throat, gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, heart & heart surgery, kidney disorders, neurology & neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, psychiatry, pulmonology, rehabilitation, rheumatology, and urology.[22] In addition to rankings for each of these specialties, hospitals that excel in many U.S. News areas are ranked in the Honor Roll.[24] In the 2013 rankings, Massachusetts General Hospital displaced Johns Hopkins Hospital, which had been ranked No. 1 for 21 consecutive years.[25] John Hopkins regained the top place in the 2013-14 rankings.[26]

Best Cars and Trucks[edit]

Since 2007, U.S. News has developed an innovative rankings system for new and used automobiles. The rankings span over 30 classes of cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans, wagons, and sports cars. Each automobile receives an overall score, as well as a performance, interior, and recommendation score to the nearest tenth on a 1-10 scale. Scores are based on the consensus opinion of America's trusted automotive experts, as well as reliability and safety data.[27] U.S. News also produces annual "Best Cars for the Money" and "Best Cars for Families" awards across approximately 20 classes of cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans. Money award winners are derived by combining vehicle price and five-year cost of ownership with the opinion of the automotive press,[28] while family awards are tabulated by combining critics' opinions with the vehicle's availability of family-friendly features and interior space, as well as safety and reliability data. Money and family award winners are announced in February and March of each year, respectively.[29]


  1. ^ a b "Average Total Paid & Verified Circulation for Top 100 ABC Magazines". Association of Magazine Media. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  2. ^ "U.S. News college rankings are denounced but not ignored". 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  3. ^ "U.S. News & World Report: Comprehensive Categories of Academic Institutions". 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  4. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard. "U.S. News Plans to Publish Biweekly and Expand Consumer Focus". The New York Times. June 11, 2008.
  5. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard. "U.S. News Will Become a Monthly Magazine". The New York Times. November 4, 2008.
  6. ^ a b "USN&WR: 'December issue will be our last printed monthly sent to subscribers'". PoytnerOnline. 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  7. ^ "U.S. News & World Report". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  8. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (2008-06-11). "U.S. News Plans to Publish Biweekly and Expand Consumer Focus". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  9. ^ "Red Ink: 'U.S. News' Goes Monthly, Hearst and Rodale Cut Staff". MediaPost. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  10. ^ "Political Blogs, Opinions, Commentaries and Forums on Current Issues - US News Opinion". US News. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  11. ^ "Political Blogs, Opinions, Commentaries and Forums on Current Issues - US News Opinion". Usnews.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  12. ^ Putting a Curious Eye on a High School Ranking System" The New York Times (December 5, 2007)
  13. ^ "Amazon's listings of U.S. News "College Guides"". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  14. ^ Christopher B. Nelson, "Why you won't find St. John's College ranked in U.S.News & World Report", University Business: The Magazine for College and University Administrators.
  15. ^ Diver, Colin. "Is There Life After Rankings".  The Atlantic. November 1, 2005.
  16. ^ Jaschik, Scott (20 June 2007). "More Momentum Against 'U.S.News'". Inside Higher Ed. 
  17. ^ "ANNAPOLIS GROUP STATEMENT ON RANKINGS AND RATINGS". Annapolis Group. 19 June 2007. 
  18. ^ a b Morse, Robert (22 June 2007). "About the Annapolis Group's Statement". U.S. News and World Report. 
  19. ^ Carey, Kevin. "College Rankings Reformed". educationsector.org. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  20. ^ Robinson, Sharon. "AACTE Offers Feedback on Forthcoming National Teacher Preparation Program Ratings Report". AACTE.org. Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Top American Hospitals - US News Best Hospitals". Health.usnews.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  22. ^ a b c Pomarow, Avery (2008-07-10). "A Look Inside the Hospital Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 
  23. ^ Lowes, Robert (2012-09-20). "Joint Commission's Top-Hospital List Still Missing Big Names". Medscape Medical News. 
  24. ^ "Top American Hospitals". U.S. News & World Report. 17 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "U.S. News Best Hospitals 2012-13: the Honor Roll". U.S. News & World Report. 17 July 2012. 
  26. ^ Leonard, Kimberly. "Best Hospitals 2013-14: Overview and Honor Roll". U.S. News Best Hospitals 2013-14. U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  27. ^ How We Rank New Cars | U.S. News Best Cars. Usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  28. ^ Page, Jamie. (2014-02-12) Best Cars for the Money Awards 2014 | U.S. News Best Cars. Usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  29. ^ Page, Jamie. (2014-03-12) Best Cars for Families Awards 2014 | U.S. News Best Cars. Usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.

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