Archive for December, 2011

Wrapping up the semester

December 23rd, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

All the grades are out.  Hallelujah!

Special kudos to Alex Robinson on his enterprise story, as I told him it was the most ambitious, well-executed research project I’ve ever graded.

And going back to the quiz for a quick minute, one of the questions there apparently won’t be in future editions.

That’s all for now, folks.  Maybe some of you “broadcast types” will be with me again next semester.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Bonus byline: Claudia Bracholdt wrote about the possible closure of Gompers High School.

Congratulations to the Class of 2011!

December 15th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

For all those who couldn’t attend yesterday’s graduation ceremony, Alva French’s inspirational commencement address is below.  Hopefully, her classmates are as “undeterred” as she is.  I only wish I could also post Christina Diaz’s rousing rendition of the national anthem. You can sing at my gig anytime, Christina! Anyway, here’s Alva, who gets one final A in research for using 2010 Census data in her speech…

Alva French, M.A., ’11 from NYCity News Service on Vimeo.

Catching up on bylines

December 9th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

Eli Chen has been busy, busy, busy detailing more on protesting gardeners, the arrest of five and a grassroots recycling initiative; Gwen McClure followed up an earlier story on a controversial housing development; and Evan Buxbaum reported on a different kind of fight for South Bronx boxers.

This week’s bonus: The NYPD Facebook story we discussed Tuesday, in case you missed it.  And this was one of the tools I used.

Quiz recap

December 7th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

The research quizzes have been reviewed and graded, and I would call the results typical.  There was certainly more grade differentiation than for the beat memo.

Tip of the hat to Claudia Bracholdt for the highest score.  Among other impressive answers, she was the only person to get full credit on the question about former employees of a business.  I knew that would be one of the more time-consuming questions, if not the most difficult.  Claudia correctly used the Google strategy to find LinkedIn profiles that I demonstrated during last week’s lesson.

Another question that stumped all but one person was the query about my colleagues at NBC News.  That required using the Leadership Library, as demonstrated in my lesson about finding sources.

As for some of the other questions on the quiz, one thing I end up saying every semester is that a lot of you need to bone up on Nexis and Factiva.  Most students are too addicted to Google, which isn’t enough to do good research.

And speaking of banging my head against a wall, I can’t believe a couple of repeat offenders misspelled names again, even when they got full credit for the bonus question about spelling names!  Talk about irony.  One of you pointed out that the Times e-mail I sent out last month is also posted on the web site, so now you can refer to it forevermore.  Eat it, drink it, sleep it, memorize it.

Beyond that, most perplexing were several answers to the questions about 40th precinct crime stats and the Bronx Supreme Court civil cases involving someone named David Lewis.  The former was perplexing because everyone knew to use CompStat, but a bunch didn’t read the report correctly to get full credit.  The latter was similarly perplexing because many of those who knew to use the New York Unified Court System eCourts database didn’t process my requirement for Supreme civil cases, which was emphasized (in bold) in the quiz question the same way it is in this paragraph.  WebCrims is not going to find you a civil case.  And WebCivil Local is not going to find you a Supreme Court case.  You need to use WebCivil Supreme, which seems pretty straightforward to me.

I was also a little surprised that more of you didn’t get the two questions that ReferenceUSA could have answered.  Not that they were particularly easy, but I did talk about ReferenceUSA multiple times in class, so I thought it was fairly obvious I’d have related questions on the quiz.  I even mentioned last week that the quiz would feature several questions requiring use of the school’s premium subscription databases, which would include ReferenceUSA (along with Nexis, Factiva and Leadership Library).

On the bright side, many of you got credit for the questions on locating a sex offender, getting information on a lawyer, determining the owner of a web domain and tracking down info on the deceased.  None of those should have been especially difficult or time consuming, so they were good ones to knock off early.

Anyway, onward and upward.  Looking forward to your enterprise final drafts.