Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

I still blog!

November 30th, 2013 by Jack Styczynski

Anyone looking for updates on how I’m doing in New Orleans, click here!

As part of his 50-state volunteering trip, Chris Strub interviews me about YRNO.



July 9th, 2013 by Jack Styczynski

As of July 2013, I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA at Tulane’s Center for Public Service, working with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans.  Part of my job is volunteer coordination, so if any of y’all ever want to have some fun and help rebuild my most beloved city, be it for a day, a week or a month, just shout and I’ll set you up right!

Thanks to everyone for five great years at the J-school!  This blog should stay up as an archive of all the material I taught over that time.  I hope it remains useful to you.

In case you missed it, I left New York with a bang, writing about my pickup hoops life, “having coffee” with a fellow researcher and celebrating with friends at one heck of a farewell blast. Witness the evidence below!


Quiz recap

May 19th, 2013 by Jack Styczynski

The quiz results are in and I would call the overall performance “typical.”  There was a wide variation in grades.  Congratulations to the high scorers–Orie Givens, Aine Pennello and Divya Verma.  Aine and Divya each missed one question, while Orie was perfect (with 10 minutes to spare!), minus the bonus.

For the record, no one got the bonus, so I’ll assume you thought “mandatory viewing” only applied if it came from the professor’s mouth, not Jonathan Dienst’s (LOL).  Anyway, you can see the answer if you watch segment 17 from the PBS Frontline series “News War”, which can be found in part three.

Of the regular questions, there were several that gave many of you problems, starting with the one on Pete Thamel’s biggest mistake.  Even if you forgot our class discussion, I did write about it later and post a link on the blog.  As I’ve said, the blog is not for my own health.  I was also somewhat disappointed a bunch of you didn’t get full credit on the query about the two basic questions for fact-checking, which was right there on my post of February 13th.  Easiest question on the quiz, IMO.

What else tripped you up?  Well, most of you knew to go to the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and ProQuest respectively for the questions about Nixon’s resignation video and New York Times front page headlines from my birthday, but made mistakes when you got there.  A lot of you provided video links for something other than the NBC evening newscast on August 9, 1974 and headlines from stories on November 18, 1965 that appeared somewhere other than the front page.  ProQuest does have a way to limit your search to front page stories, folks.  We used the advanced search to do this in class.

Next, the two questions where I asked for separate answers that were supposed to come from the same place obviously caused some confusion.  The answers on births and baby names were at the latest Mother’s Day compilation of the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features, and the poll numbers on background checks for gun buyers could be found in the guns section at Polling Report.  Both sources were listed on my post of March 11th.

Lastly, the Bernard Madoff question proved to be one of the most difficult, for whatever reason.  Many of you missed it entirely, while others gave me a Manhattan Supreme court case where he was a plaintiff (for which I did award credit), but what I really wanted was the case where he was a defendant from the SCROLL database, as we called it up in class before heading out to NBC.

Anyway, thanks for a memorable semester, friends.  I’ll have one last roundup of your work posted soon.

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!)

Quiz recap

December 18th, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

The quizzes are all graded and the class as a whole did better than any group I’ve ever had, by a wide margin.  Congrats!  Almost everyone scored in “double digits,” led by Irina Ivanova and Nick Wells, who each got 15.5 out of a possible 16.5 points.  Nick in fact got full credit for all the main questions, missing only the bonus.  None of the questions was a total stumper for the entire class, but the bonus was the one that the fewest people got, which is how it should be.  It was referred to only in a September e-mail about a potential enterprise project.

Really, only two other questions are worth mentioning…

I didn’t love all the answers to the first one about the superiority of Nexis and Factiva compared to Google, even when I awarded credit.  A number of answers were technically correct, although I didn’t think they expressed the most important advantages.  If I had just a few words at my disposal, I would’ve said, “More customizable searchability and deeper and denser archives of reputable sources.”  And yeah, I know that’s 11 words…sue me…or throw a semicolon between “searchability” and “deeper” instead of the word “and.”  I gave ya two ways for the price of one there anyhow.  LOL

The question about the founding and staff size of the Innocence Project was the second.  When I composed it, it was with the idea that you’d get the info from Associations Unlimited, which some of you did.  But others went to Guidestar, which is just as reputable of a source.  So I accepted a slightly different staff size number from Guidestar, so long as you reported it correctly.

Again, great job overall, folks.  I’m really happy.  I’ll be back with one last semester wrap up post soon.

Your research geek goes viral…

November 1st, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

Hope everyone survived Sandy unscathed.  Sorry I missed you this week, especially since I know a few of you wanted to discuss your beat memos.

Anyway, a big reason I had been a little slow getting them back to you last month was because I was working on this and this, which comprise an enterprise project I undertake every five years.

And today, it’s worth it as news of the project makes its way around the web, such as here and here.

It’s nice to be recognized.  Particularly when your name is spelled correctly (hint, hint).

See ya soon!

The world is mine!

The world is mine!

We’ve got bylines!

September 22nd, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

Shamanth Rao’s story about the comeback of the West Side Tennis Club made The Queens Courier.

And congrats to Nathan Place for his Mott Haven Herald article on a teen robbery spike.

In other news…

When it comes to quality-of-life summonses, Mott Haven is number 1!

If you’re a TV news junkie, there’s a new archive for you.  Read all about it.

Former J-school student Collin Orcutt has become the Derek Jeter of Sports Illustrated.

In case you missed it…

August 23rd, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

A sampling of what caught my attention this summer:

Government cutbacks hurting research? You be the judge. The Bureau of Justice Statistics will soon cease funding the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statisics. And the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey could be next on the chopping block.

Oh well, at least New York City put its Green Book on the web.  Finally!

New Orleans will be without a daily newspaper soon, after the Times-Picayune announced it’s cutting back to three days a week, with a much-reduced staff (more here). Of course, things are rough all over.

Speaking of rough, my employer was the subject of a less-than-flattering article in New York magazine. The Times is also ending a partnership with the J-school and my favorite reporter has left. I’ll definitely miss working with Pete Thamel.

Elsewhere, CNBC’s Darren Rovell provided an example of how to get burned by not properly checking someone’s background (as well as how not to apologize).

ESPN’s Lynn Hoppes also provided an example of what not to do. So did The New Yorker’s Jonah Lehrer and Time’s Fareed Zakaria (more here and HERE).

On the lighter side, we’re apparently in for some crazy new web domain suffixes.

I loved the Times’ tributes to pickup basketball in May and July.

Tim Tebow has company living the abstinent lifestyle in New York.

I was fascinated by the debate about whether or not women can have it all.

(But who needs it all? Like Tim Kreider, I am the laziest ambitious person I know.)

And last but not least, the J-school hired a superb new research adjunct…

Hamming it up with fellow research prof Sandra Jamison.  Welcome aboard, Sandra!

Hamming it up with fellow research prof Sandra Jamison. Welcome aboard, Sandra!

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.

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.