Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Field trip links

April 25th, 2018 by Jack Styczynski

Here are the resources from David’s Freedom of Information presentation yesterday:

And here’s the PBS Frontline series Jonathan recommended:

Thanks again to both of them!

Jonathan shows off the Nightly News studio.

Jonathan shows off the Nightly News studio.

More odds, more ends

April 23rd, 2018 by Jack Styczynski

On Tuesday, we’ll take a field trip to meet WNBC investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst. Among other things, we’ll discuss filing Freedom of Information requests. The Washington Post has an excellent primer video on the subject and ProPublica has a useful article, even if Illinois focused.

While I’ve got NBC on the brain, you might be interested to learn my employer recently launched Archives Xpress, a searchable library of license-ready content from NBC News and other NBCUniversal brands that’s available for immediate download by consumers. Users can select from different pricing options.

Max Parrott has become a reporting machine at AM New York, with bylines on stories about a hockey guidebook, the New York International Automobile Show, an event commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an approaching deadline for e-cigarette shops and the closing of a club I’ll definitely miss. (Sorry New York doesn’t prioritize music venues like my beloved New Orleans does.)

Elsewhere, Karina Hernandez partnered with Max for a Queens Latino piece on undocumented bakery workers. Check out the video!

Finally, I’m in a good mood since I last saw you, given that my favorite basketball team won the national championship

Interviewing two-time national champion coach Jay Wright of Villanova.

Interviewing two-time national champion coach Jay Wright of Villanova.

Odds and ends

March 26th, 2018 by Jack Styczynski

On Tuesday, J-school alum and NBC colleague Rima Abdelkader will join me to talk about social media research and reporting. Please read and be prepared to discuss the social media policies for NBC News and the New York Times.

Also Tuesday, the New York Public Library will be at the school for library card signups from noon to 3 p.m. Barbara Gray created a list of NYPL resources available remotely.

Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are now available online CUNY-wide. For subscription information, click here.

Last but not least, I’m tardy in shouting out some of your work…

Amy Mackinnon wrote about how hundreds of thousands of patients are likely misdiagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in a story for Slate.

Max Parrott is interning at AM New York and has written stories about a spry Harlem sprinter and a midtown wellness retreat.

Make sure to send me anything you want spotlighted here!

Occupational Safety project

February 28th, 2018 by Jack Styczynski

Here are the resources I cited in class yesterday:

Research-inspired enterprise option

November 13th, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

If you choose this option for your enterprise assignment, it should be a three-step process.

  1. Find a newsworthy statistic that interests you.
  2. Compare it to something.  (e.g. other geographic areas, the same statistic in previous years, etc.)
  3. Use reporting, and possibly more research, to determine and explain why your number compares as it does.  This will certainly involve identifying and interviewing experts on the subject.  In addition to getting them to explain “why,” you’ll probably want them to make suggestions for how to improve the number and/or predictions for the future.

Your research grade will be based on how well you handle items 2 and 3.  (Note: identifying and using experts will be part of your research grade no matter what enterprise option you choose.)

Common pitfalls to avoid (the first of which is more specific to this particular enterprise option; the others apply to any story):

  • Back-end research: Don’t conjure up a story idea and then try to figure out how to fit (statistical) research into it.  That’s backwards.  The research is supposed to inspire the story.  In fact, don’t even bother making a pitch unless you already have the data that inspired your story idea.  Once you start writing, if you find yourself several paragraphs into the story before you’ve mentioned any numbers, you’re also “back-ending” it.  A research-inspired enterprise story needs the research up high.  The nut graf is often a good place for statistics.
  • Numbers without context: Reporting that there are 27 widget manufacturers in your CD means nothing without context.  How many were there five years ago?  What is the difference from the average CD?  Get it?  Some kind of comparison is vital.  Chronological or geographical comparisons are two of the most common and accepted.
  • Statistical overload: Don’t operate on the “more is better” principle.  All you really need is one good statistic to inspire your story.  That’s not to say you’re limited to one, but don’t bombard.  Cramming too many numbers into a story often clouds the theme or makes the necessary backup reporting too unwieldy.

Helpful hints: Interesting statistics you found while researching your beat memos may make for good story ideas.  Many of the sites listed on my NYC.gov handout are treasure troves of statistical information.

April’s best

April 30th, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

Thanks again for a great semester, everyone!  Here’s the last batch of bylines…

Amital Isaac reported on the New York Botanical Garden’s annual Orchid Show for the News Service.

At the Local, Erin Horan wrote about Ed Towns’ love of golf and covered a Stop the Violence march in Fort Greene.

And I finished up my season-long series on the most important college basketball statistics.

Research bonus: The Research Center has posted some excellent videos on Factiva and a new mobile app, with the latter hosted by one of your classmates (ask Melissa her middle names…LOL).

Double bonus: Check out the new online photo gallery from New York City Department of Records Municipal Archives, as noted on the New York Times City Room blog.

One more: Here’s a good article on the state of advanced searching in Google.

And a flashback: This week marks a major anniversary.

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!

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)

Highlighting your work…and more

February 21st, 2012 by Jack Styczynski

It’s been a busy month and I’ve yet to post any news, so here goes.  For starters, I bow to your reporting efforts…

Evan Buxbaum wrote about a plan to bring a Gourmet market to Melrose.

Erin Horan has news on a Baptist church and some Black History Month profiles.

And Minty Grover is also on the Black History Month profiles beat.

Speaking of profiles, I finished mine on Staten Island hoopster O.D. Anosike; only you know how a clip search made it better.  And as long as I’m citing my own work, see if you can figure out the background research I did on this profile of a woman boxer.

Last but not least, here’s the promised Facebook page I mentioned in class that includes a number you can call to check if someone is a Level 1 sex offender in New York.

The bonus: Next time we’ll be discussing how to find video and graphics for use in your stories.  For a preview, watch the segment below that I helped out with just yesterday!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Research-inspired enterprise option

November 3rd, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

If you choose this option for your enterprise assignment, it should be a three-step process.

  1. Find a newsworthy statistic that interests you.
  2. Compare it to something.  (e.g. other geographic areas, the same statistic in previous years, etc.)
  3. Use reporting, and possibly more research, to determine and explain why your number compares as it does.  This will certainly involve identifying and interviewing experts on the subject.  In addition to getting them to explain “why,” you’ll probably want them to make suggestions for how to improve the number and/or predictions for the future.

Your research grade will be based on how well you handle items 2 and 3.  (Note: identifying and using experts will be part of your research grade no matter what enterprise option you choose.)

Common pitfalls to avoid (the first of which is more specific to this particular enterprise option; the others apply to any story):

  • Back-end research: Don’t conjure up a story idea and then try to figure out how to fit (statistical) research into it.  That’s backwards.  The research is supposed to inspire the story.  In fact, don’t even bother making a pitch unless you already have the data that inspired your story idea.  Once you start writing, if you find yourself several paragraphs into the story before you’ve mentioned any numbers, you’re also “back-ending” it.  A research-inspired enterprise story needs the research up high.  As I mentioned last month in class, the nut graf is often a good place for statistics.
  • Numbers without context: Reporting that there are 27 widget manufacturers in your CD means nothing without context.  How many were there five years ago?  What is the difference from the average CD?  Get it? Some kind of comparison is vital.  Chronological or geographical comparisons are two of the most common and accepted.
  • Statistical overload: Don’t operate on the “more is better” principle.  All you really need is one good statistic to inspire your story.  That’s not to say you’re limited to one, but don’t bombard.  Cramming too many numbers into a story often clouds the theme or makes the necessary backup reporting too unwieldy.

Helpful hints: Interesting statistics you found while researching your beat memos may make for good story ideas.  Many of the sites listed on my NYC.gov handout are treasure troves of statistical information.