Archive for January, 2009

Lesson II-1: Intelligent search strategy

January 26th, 2009 by Jack

For this lesson, we’ll be referring to the blog’s “Nexis/Factiva tips” page and the documents I sent you via e-mail, but I do want to make one important point here…

With the exception of the most late-breaking stories when time is too tight, every story you write should be accompanied by (preferably preceded by) Nexis and/or Factiva searches on the story topic.  You can’t write a story properly without previous background.  A Google search is fine, but it is NOT a substitute for Nexis and Factiva, which have much deeper archives of RELIABLE source material.  The scarce embracement and command of Nexis and Factiva among Craft I students was most disappointing.  We’ll change that in Craft II.

Assignment due for class on 2/17 (and be prepared to discuss!): Using Nexis and/or Factiva (and nothing else), find at least five news stories in your Community District since school started in September, and write a brief “roundup” type report.  Don’t worry about a catchy lead, doing interviews or any of the other things you typically do when writing for publication.  This is a SEARCH exercise.  At the end of the report, I want Nexis/Factiva article citations and a listing of your search strategies (terminology).

Some interesting stuff I read between semesters

January 23rd, 2009 by Jack

Welcome to the official research blog for Steve Strasser’s section of Craft II, everyone.  (And for a couple of you, welcome back.)  I thought you might be interested in some stuff I read between semesters.

Poynter Online had a couple of good stories this week on journalists’ Facebook pages and developing ethics guidelines for journalists using social networking tools.  This is worthwhile follow-up material to some of the related readings I posted last semester.

There’s also some news about the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  The New York Times stories here and here explain it pretty well.  The upshot is, now you can get recent Census bureau stats for more and smaller communities (as small as 20,000 people) rather than having to go back to the year 2000 numbers.  We’ll talk more about it during a Census research lesson this semester.

Speaking of the New York Times, did you see this story in New York magazine?  With all the bad news about the journalism profession these days, it’s nice to have a little good news, at least for cybergeeks.

Oh yeah, about me?  As my colleagues at the Times and NBC will attest, I’m a bit of a geek myself.  And a hoop-head.  For more, here’s my welcome message from last semester.

Talk soon.