Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

The power of people finding

September 28th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

Here’s the promised post about when people finding and football intersect.  It’s nothing without pictures! 

Recently, a friend who runs the Phoenix of New Orleans e-mailed me to see if I could find updated contact information for some people who were candidates to have their Hurricane Katrina damaged homes rebuilt by the organization.  Using techniques I demonstrated in class Tuesday, I found them, and ultimately a family was chosen.  Obviously, I felt great about it, but what I didn’t know at the time is that the project was being funded by Jahri Evans, Lance Moore, Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper of my beloved New Orleans Saints.  As such, I was invited out to dinner with them after Sunday’s conquest of the Houston Texans. WHO DAT!

With Saints guard Jahri Evans, PNOLA's Jim Coningsby and the Rush family.

With Saints guard Jahri Evans, PNOLA's Jim Coningsby and the Rush family.

The bonus:  A must-read profile on a Saints hero and more pictures… (more…)

Seeing the bigger picture on crime

September 14th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

After yesterday’s class, I just wanted to make a point on crime reporting that I felt may not have been made clear.

That is, there are still important stories to be written after the gritty details of individual crimes have been reported.  I want to defend the “feature” stories that may be written a week out, or even later.

For example, I would contend it’s impossible to put together a very good profile of a “perp” within the first 24 hours of a crime.  What makes him (or her) tick?  Why might he have committed the crime?  Answering those questions is going to require research and talking to as many people as you can after the initial chaos of a crime has subsided.

You’ll be writing a profile story soon.

As another example, there are crime “trend” stories that require the same kind of time investment to do properly.  Is a certain type of crime on the rise?  Is it a bigger problem in a specific geographic area?  Why?  You’ll need statistical evidence and expert opinion to detail and explain the trend.

This second kind of story would fall into the “enterprise” category, which is another of your assignments this semester.

So while it’s great to beat the competition on the details of a crime, that’s not the end of crime reporting.  Some of what I’ve already taught and will be teaching in upcoming lessons will be particularly useful for those profile and enterprise “feature” stories.

Ten years later

September 11th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

Back in the studio at NBC today.  A few years ago, I posted my memories of September 11th, 2001.  Here are some of the research requests I worked on that day:

  • Background information on Barbara Olson and David Angell
  • Contacts for mass terrorism organizations
  • Death tolls of other atrocities
  • Map of the World Trade Center area
  • Number of workers in the WTC

Think about how you might find these items today.

Full circle

May 2nd, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

It’s especially good to be working at NBC today, remembering my day here on 9/11.  I just wish Times Square Church pastor David Wilkerson could have seen this…

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Don’t forget our special court research session on Wednesday!  Here’s an example of my latest court research success.  (Yup.  Even college basketball reporters need court research.)

Speaking of the Census…

March 28th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

Librarians are organizing to save from budget cuts the United States Statistical Abstract, a Census Bureau reference work that has been around since 1878.  It’s a resource I had included in my Census lesson last year.

An excellent example

March 7th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

Here’s a research-inspired story by a CUNY J-school graduate now working at NBC:

Merry Christmas, online obsessed!

December 21st, 2010 by Jack Styczynski

Congratulations to the Class of 2010!

December 15th, 2010 by Jack Styczynski

Graduation day, and I have great expectations for my former students Erica Butler, Dan Chung, Michael Cohen, Liza Eckert, Spencer Freeman, Danny Gold, Katie Honan, Suyeon Kim, Kerri MacDonald, Eugenia Miranda, David Montalvo, Khristina Narizhnaya, Vish Persaud, Lisa Riordan Seville, Matt Robinson, Sam Roudman, Jordan Shakeshaft, Andrea Swalec and Joe Tacopino.  A few quick shout outs…

Lisa, you’re still the one and only to ever get a perfect score on “the quiz.”

Matt, I’m still using your enterprise story as the model for how students should do it.

And Katie, awesome speech!  As a fellow connoisseur of deprecating humor, I know you’ll appreciate it when I say I hope nobody in the Class of 2011 paid more than a buck-fifty for your beat memo.

Now everyone please take Dean Shepard’s advice and GO FOR IT!!!!

Dean Steve Shepard’s remarks at the Class of 2010’s commencement ceremony from CUNY Grad School of Journalism on Vimeo.

Katie Honan’s remarks at the Class of 2010’s commencement ceremony from CUNY Grad School of Journalism on Vimeo.

Quiz recap

December 11th, 2010 by Jack Styczynski

The quiz results are in and I would call the class performance “typical.”  Five of you made me “happy” by scoring in double digits.  Most of the rest at least passed by scoring 7 or better.  But a few of you clearly need work on your research skills.  I’m always happy to help; all you need to do is ask.  Believe me, I hate giving poor grades as much as anyone hates receiving them.  When you fail, we both fail.  On the bright side, school is the place to learn your weaknesses so you can address them without terrible consequences.  Especially in the first semester.

Among the high scorers, special kudos to Yudith Ho, the only one to correctly point out that my brother is not enrolled in any political party.  It wasn’t a trick question, but I wasn’t going to pick a Democrat or Republican, where you could just guess and have a decent chance of getting the right answer.  Once you figured out his birthday and his county, all you had to do was go here.

Congratulations also to the few who knew to use Access World News for the Staten Island Advance question and Associations Unlimited for the Habitat for Humanity question.  It didn’t surprise me those were among the “harder” queries.  For whatever reason, students seem not to make sufficient use of the premium databases the school makes available, even the higher-profile ones like Nexis and Factiva.  However, a lot of you did know to use ReferenceUSA for the corporate sales volume question, so that was good (…although maybe it was because I assured there would be a RefUSA question on the quiz).

The biggest surprise (and disappointment) was that not many knew where to go for the 1996 New York Times web headlines, especially since we had just reviewed the Wayback Machine the previous week, so it should have been fresh in mind.  I would have expected that to be one of the quicker and easier questions on the quiz.

Apparently, the easiest questions were the ones on Prue’s web site, the sex offenders and the police precinct crime stats.  Almost all of you got credit on those.  The last of the three should have been easy though, given that you already had to do it for the CD beat memo.

So that’s all, folks.  Enjoy your holiday break.  I may be back with some of you next semester; ya never know.  If not, just remember, ARE YOU SURE? and SAYS WHO?

And WHO DAT?!?! (LOL)

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24th, 2010 by Jack Styczynski

At this point, everyone should have received a final grade on the research-inspired enterprise assignment.  To give you an idea how you did relative to the rest of the class, the median grade was a B+.  Good job, overall.  In particular, every rewrite resulted in a better finished product.  Thanks for your effort.

Now don’t eat too much!

Today’s bonus: Annais Morales has another byline in the New York Post, and it’s no turkey!