Archive for May, 2009

This week’s bylines

May 18th, 2009 by Jack

Tim Persinko has become a byline machine at the Daily News.  Just this weekend, he reported on ATM machines in the Flushing River, the need for new area codes in NYC and a toddler falling three stories and surviving.

Mary Stachyra was also on duty at the DN, writing a story on free pedicab rides in Harlem.

Finally, slideshow guru Kristen Joy Watts got another piece of work posted on “The Local” blog for the New York Times.   By the way, Kristen is also very excited about the new Lens blog from the Times, launched today.  Keep your eye out for her work there too!

Google’s new challenge?

May 16th, 2009 by Jack

So has everyone been reading all the hype on this newly-launched “search engine” called Wolfram|Alpha?  Some have billed it as a challenger to Google, although it’s really quite different.   I’d call it a “fact engine,” or even an almanac on steroids.  Chock full of statistics in particular, it seems useful in its own way.  I like that it supposedly uses authoritative sources of information, but I don’t see any source citations in the search results, so I don’t care much for that.

But hey, anything to deflect the media obsession with Twitter, right?  Ah, Twitter me Twitter(more…)

David Geffen, my future boss? At a non-profit?

May 15th, 2009 by Jack

Fortune and Newsweek reported his interest in buying the Times earlier this week, but now even the Times itself is speculating.

Quiz recap

May 14th, 2009 by Jack

Well, my Craft II quiz, even with four fewer questions in the same allotted time, was obviously tougher than my Craft I quiz.

That wasn’t the intention.  In fact, I cut the number of questions in an effort to ease up somewhat and hope you could finish.

The high score was 11.5 out of 16, which would have been fine if everyone else followed closely behind.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.  The second high score, achieved by three people, was 9.5.  And there were a few significantly lower than that.

Of course, I felt compelled to grade on a bit of a curve, but given some of the lower scores, I could only go so far.  The lowest passing score I allowed was a 7, which I assigned a C. (more…)

Catching up on bylines

May 12th, 2009 by Jack

I’ll start reviewing the quizzes Wednesday and have them back to you by week’s end.  I’ll also post a general quiz recap here on the blog.  In the meantime, I need to catch up on posting some class bylines from the past month…

Tim Persinko has been a Daily News regular, with a Good Friday feature, a shared front page byline for a story on the Swine Flu in Queens, a tale of a home run ball and briefs on a shooting and rising postal rates.

Ben Fractenberg has also been a busy man, first putting his 155-pound physique up against a giant in an arm wrestling contest (Note to Ben: I weigh 140; shoot for me next time), then reporting on “less strenuous” warm weather, auto accident and math stories, all for the Daily News.  Yesterday he had another story on “The Local” blog for the New York Times about a new TV show.

Meanwhile, Kristen Joy Watts and Mary Stachyra have continued their work on “The Local” too.   Kristen added some text to a previously mentioned slideshow on a labor services representative and Mary covered a public meeting on postal problems.  Kudos also to Kristen and another of my past Craft I students on a big time honor!

Last but not least, Marcella Veneziale wrote about growing noise complaints in Chelsea and the potential impact of a proposed outdoor advertising law, and Joe Walker produced a story and slideshow on the Building Green Expo.

Looking for free magazine archives?

May 11th, 2009 by Jack

More and more of them are becoming available on the web.

Titles such as People, Sports Illustrated, Time, Billboard, Ebony, Jet, Kiplinger’s, New York, Popular Mechanics and Popular Science.

With many of these now hosted by Google Books, I’m sure the list will continue to grow.

Two lessons, one site

May 9th, 2009 by Jack

What do you get when you combine our federal government lesson with our social networking lesson?


…a live feed of official news from U.S. Government Twitter, YouTube, RSS, Facebook, Flickr accounts and more, all in one place.

Research quiz: 5/12

May 4th, 2009 by Jack

It will be very similar to the quiz I gave for Craft I, but obviously focusing on the research topics covered in Craft II.

  • You will have one hour.  You’ll need your computer, and it’s “open blog.”  You’re free to use all my posts, handouts, tips, etc.  I would highly suggest familiarizing yourself with them before the quiz so you don’t have to waste time hunting for the proper sources.
  • There are 16 short answer questions.  Why 16?  Well, last semester was my first stab at this and I really didn’t know how many I should expect students to be able to answer in an hour.  I put 20 on the quiz and nobody finished.  The average was around 15.  So this time I’m going with 16 to relieve the angst somewhat, yet keep enough that you’ll still probably feel some time pressure.  That’s part of this business.
  • There’s at least one question from every research lesson this semester, including the social networking and Excel lessons taught by Barbara Gray and Jo Craven McGinty.  The most from any one lesson is four.
  • There are no multiple choice questions because researchers and reporters never get multiple choice questions and no essays because I don’t feel like wading through the you-know-what.  Most answers require a sentence or less.  Just to be a nice guy, I provide helpful hints on some questions.  And there are no “tricks.”

Good luck!

Impressive new Google tool

May 1st, 2009 by Jack

Need unemployment or population trends for states or counties?  Check this out.