Archive for March, 2013

Enjoy the break!

March 23rd, 2013 by Jack Styczynski

Noting the work below, it’s well-deserved…

Sierra Leone Starks wrote about a library reborn in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Danielle Valente’s piece about a firm that combines fashion and philanthropy found a home in Lifestyle + Charity Magazine.

Danielle was also a contributor to a News Service multimedia report on the future of the old Rockaway Railway, along with Sarah Khuwaja, Anne Lagamayo, Ilie Mitaru and Aine Pennello.

Also on the News Service, Orie Givens profiled an artist who nearly lost her sight.

Keep up the good work!

C’est magnifique, Mademoiselle Hamel!

March 19th, 2013 by Jack Styczynski

You made a research nerd look (sorta) cool!

The Life of Jack Styczynski from Mathilde M. Hamel on Vimeo.

Update, 3/21: Thanks to Jim Coningsby for the kind words after seeing the video!

March Madness bonus: It’s been a busy month doing research for stories about
the (not so) fast and fraudulenta cannibal cop and gun rights vs. protection orders,
not to mention writing on hoops.  (Check out all the comments on the Big East story!)

Finding statistical trends: Census tools and polls

March 11th, 2013 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.  (Baruch College’s NYCdata site also has New York statistics beyond just those from the Census Bureau.)
  • 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.

Bonus tip: Barbara Gray has compiled a handout on Mining Census data for reporting that does an especially good job explaining the differences between the decennial census and the American Community Survey.

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.

Finding video and graphical archives

March 4th, 2013 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.
  • Although they don’t qualify as a professional subscription databases, the Internet Archive also has useful TV News and “moving image” collections that you might explore.

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

  • We have access to PDF archives of the New York Times, Amsterdam News and Village Voice through the J-school’s subscription to ProQuest.  The titles have varying dates of coverage.  In addition, 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 (including New York), 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: Looking for photos?  The J-school has a subscription to AP Images and the New York City Department of Records Municipal Archives has an online photo gallery.

Links to your work

March 1st, 2013 by Jack Styczynski

Presenting the semester’s first roundup of your work:

For the News Service, Danielle Valente and Karen Petree covered Nolcha Fashion Week.

Meanwhile, Brianne Barry and Elena Popina found some apparel controversy away from Fashion Week.

On Voices of NY, Anna Teregulova followed up on a Staten Island couple recovering from Superstorm Sandy, while Sierra Leone Starks reported on free Mandarin classes in Brooklyn.

And on The Local, Aine Pennello detailed Black Artstory month on Myrtle Avenue.

The bonus: I’ve gotten many research credits at the Times, but until this week my work had never been mentioned within a story!

Last word: I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my best wishes to departing Dean Steve Shepard.