Why the Founder of Ozy.com Still Goes to College

Those who attended the 15th annual HBCU College Tour in Cleveland last month heard from, among other speakers and presenters, the founder and CEO of digital news and culture magazine Ozy.com, Carlos Watson.

“There were several thousand students, not just from the region but from as far away as Canada,” Watson told me.

The former “problem child” who was asked to leave his kindergarten class (and later graduated from Harvard and Stanford) found it invigorating to speak with students at the HBCU College Fair, which encourages those in high school and even middle school to consider attending historically black colleges.

“The kids were thinking not only about college, but about how do you think about becoming an adult, what’s the best way to think about the rest of your life,” Watson says.

OZY and Education

What was Watson doing at the HBCU College Fair? This son of parents (and grandparents) who were teachers probably can’t help it—”I have an intense love of education,” he told me.

“I see it as a continuum, from news to knowledge. OZY is part of that education process.”

Watson says that education is now more important than ever, especially in light of those in leadership who seemingly can’t distinguish between news that’s authentic and news that isn’t.

“Knowing who you are and where you are and what’s happening is just critical to navigating the world and to making a better life,” Watson says.

Watson and his team also learned—completely by accident—that educators were using OZY in their classrooms.

“We made changes to the OZY website, moved things around on it—and professors complained. They had been using OZY in their classes.”

He heard from West Point, Stanford, George Washington, and others.

“We ended up spending more time with teachers and professors asking how OZY could be helpful. Some said just keep doing what you’re doing, but others said, come see us—so we’ve been traveling around to a variety of college campuses from the University of Georgia to Stanford.”

But beyond OZY’s appeal to educators, Watson wants to take OZY readers beyond just the day’s headlines.

“Our hope is to become their first and favorite source of news and information. We want to help people to focus not just on the day’s news items but to see beyond the headlines, see across history, to hear from different voices. We want to provide a fresh and original way for people to make sense of the world. We want to help people see and think boldly.”

To check out OZY, visit Ozy.com.