Archive for September, 2008

Lies, damned lies and statistics

September 16th, 2008 by Jack

Whenever I see a statistic in a story, I immediately have two questions:

  1. Are you sure?
  2. Says who?

Preferably, you want to verify any and all statistics with the highest possible authority on the subject.  At the very least, you need to attribute cited statistics to a source.

Keep those things in mind for all your future stories.

Lesson #2:

September 15th, 2008 by Jack

Points of emphasis for critical thinking:

  1. is going to be a (if not the) primary research source for your Community District.
  2. Like almost all government web sites, the bulk of “the good stuff” is buried deep within  Never think the home page of a government web site is going to be intuitive.  You need to dig.
  3. Do you necessarily trust every piece of information released by the government?

Tuesday teaser

September 13th, 2008 by Jack

My latest research assignment earned me a credit in today’s paper that ties in perfectly with this week’s scheduled lesson on resources.  I’ll give you a demonstration of what I did in Tuesday’s class.

Research flashback: seven years ago today

September 11th, 2008 by Jack

As our two presidential candidates visit Ground Zero and everyone else recalls the events of seven years ago, I mark today as the first 9/11 since the WTC attack that NBC’s Information Center (i.e. research department) is back in Manhattan after spending the interim years in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Most of our days pass by without making much of a dent in our memory, but I remember virtually every detail of my work day on September 11th, 2001.  (more…)

Reason #97,464 to beware Google (and Wikipedia)…

September 11th, 2008 by Jack

You wanna know why Nexis and Factiva are better?  Click here.

Social networking, blogs and new media in J-school

September 8th, 2008 by Jack

I find this post from a journalism student at NYU fascinating.  We won’t have time to discuss it in class, but I’d love you to post any comments here.  Feel free to incorporate your thoughts on the previous social networking readings as well.

Research tip of the week

September 6th, 2008 by Jack

Whenever you’re covering a scheduled press event, it’s always wise to do some background research on the topic at hand before you go.  Take this as a suggestion for daybook stories.  As another example, if I knew I’d be attending a David Paterson Q&A with a Crain’s editor, I’d want to fire up Nexis or Factiva (Crain’s is in both) and look for some clips on the governor, with a particular focus on his positions on business.

Note for Tim Harper's class

September 4th, 2008 by Jack

After having read several of your profiles, we will be focusing heavily on items 3 and 4 in the Lesson #1 points of emphasis next Tuesday.   If you have a few extra minutes before then, read the “only to be burned” link under item 4.  You all seem vulnerable to having something similar happen.