Archive for March, 2012

Latest and greatest

March 31st, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

For those of you who missed Gary Price’s webinar on Tuesday, here’s a link to the tools he reviewed.

I know you remain busy.

Gwen McClure covered a hunger strike in protest of China’s occupation of Tibet.

Tom DiChristopher profiled a Brooklyn skateboarding pioneer, with an accompanying slideshow.

Alexander Tucciarone collaborated on a story and video about families rallying for justice in the Trayvon Martin case.

And Erin Horan wrote about the new Urban Assembly Unison School.

March Madness update: I continued my relentless pursuit of hoop truth here and here.

Last but not least: Congratulations to Class of ’09 graduate Maya Pope-Chappell, who’s soon headed to Hong Kong to be an online news editor for the Wall Street Journal Asia. You can watch Maya’s latest below. One of my best students ever!

Finding statistical trends: Census tools and polls

March 20th, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

The Census Bureau has one of the most valuable and densely-packed web sites you’ll encounter.  You’ll constantly find new information there that will amaze you with its obscurity and level of detail.  Below are some of my favorite Census Bureau pages.

  • First and foremost is American FactFinder, which includes annual American Community Survey data.  It’s the best place to get estimates since the last decennial census was undertaken.  You definitely should familiarize yourself with how to navigate this!
  • State and County QuickFacts provides easy access via a map for a quick look at some broad statistics for states, counties and cities.
  • Facts for Features & Special Editions consist of collections of statistics from the Census Bureau’s demographic and economic subject areas intended to commemorate anniversaries or observances or to provide background information for topics in the news.

Additionally, some excellent “third party” sites aggregate Census Bureau data.  Below are a few of my favorites in that category.

  • The New York City Department of City Planning’s population page has some useful resources, including American Community Survey data and a map delineating Community Districts and Census Bureau PUMAs.
  • Infoshare Online and Social Explorer are two subscription sources we have.  Take advantage of CUNY access!
  • The University of Virginia Library has a great Historical Census Browser with data from 1790 to 1960.  Need slave and slaveholder statistics?  (Ugh.)  This is one place to easily find them.
  • Last but not least, check out the All Things Census blog from the Pew Research Center.

Opinion polls are also a great way to detect trends in the population.  When most people think of polls, they think of political polling, but there’s much more to be found.

Warnings about polls: Many times there are concerns about the credibility or methodology of a pollster, so be cautious of sources.  Also remember that polls always have a margin of error, which you should cite.  Here are 20 questions journalists should ask about poll results.

Martin’s tip and byline madness

March 13th, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

Last week after class Martin Burch tipped me off to another resource for archival video. Check it out at archive.org.

With that, it’s about time for another round of links to your work.

Alexander Tucciarone contributed to a City Limits package on the participatory budgeting process.

Minty Grover profiled a first-time novelist.

And Erin Horan recently wrote stories about an arrest for murder, a replacement school and redistricting.

The bonus: It’s that time of year when I’m “feelin’ the madness.”  I recently wrote about Jeremy Lin’s replacement, five college basketball programs going nowhere fast and some others to watch in the NCAA tournament this month.

March is the month that gives me the energy of a kid!

March is the month that gives me the energy of a kid! (Photo courtesy: not AP...LOL)

Finding video and graphical archives

March 5th, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

Looking for video online?  Of course, there’s YouTube and the like, but what about professional databases with substantial broadcast archives?  The J-school has subscriptions to such databases, which also feature superior search functionality.

  • Critical Mention was introduced in this semester’s first lesson when I mentioned getting closed captioning of programming as an alternative when transcripts are not available in Nexis and Factiva.  (I’m also aware of two similar services called ShadowTV and ITV, which we don’t have.)
  • Whereas the services above allow viewing of recent broadcasts, the Vanderbilt Television News Archive is a deeper archive of news broadcasts from major national sources–with streaming video available from CNN and NBC, and DVD ordering available from all sources.  Also, keep in mind that a broadcast operation will usually have its own internal archive.  At NBC, the searchable database is known as Ardome

Regarding graphical print archives, there are many more places to go.

  • We have access to PDF archives of the New York Times, Amsterdam News, Village Voice and the old New York Tribune through the J-school’s subscription to ProQuest.  The titles have varying dates of coverage.  In addition, we have a subscription to another database that provides graphical access to the last several months of the Daily News, albeit not in PDF form. The Brooklyn Public Library also has scanned archives of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 1841 to 1902.  On a national scale, the Library of Congress has a collection of newspapers from selected states, ranging from 1836 to 1922.
  • You can get PDFs of current newspaper front pages around the world from the Newseum.  Only front pages, though.
  • We have access to many magazine and journal PDF archives through the J-school’s subscriptions to EBSCO MasterFILE Premier and JSTOR, which are aggregator databases similar to Nexis and Factiva, but are not limited to text only.  Also, CUNY and the J-school maintain lists of where you can obtain articles by publication name, many of which are in PDF format.
  • You can get PDF archives of the Economist, JAMA, Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine and Science via separate web sites courtesy of J-school subscriptions.  Again, varying dates of coverage.
  • Google Books has scanned archives of many magazines, popular and otherwise.  Billboard, Ebony, Jet, Life, New York, Spin and Vibe might be especially useful, but there are plenty more.  These aren’t completely up to date, but do have deep archives.  On screen images only, though.  No downloads.  Similarly, Google News has scanned archives of many newspapers, including the Village Voice.  Same deal with the lack of downloads.

This is the warning NBC uses for the sites above:  THESE SITES ARE FOR REFERENCE ONLY.  You will be connecting to external sites and all images must be cleared for on-air use, regardless of source. If you have questions, please contact the Rights & Clearances Department.

Bonus tip: The J-school also has a subscription to the AP Images database.