Archive for the ‘Readings’ Category

This week’s advice

September 12th, 2009 by Jack

Don’t do what Mark Whicker did.  (The research was fine.  The column was awful.)

Today’s bonus: Here’s a good reaction to last week’s Michael Kinsley column on corrections.

Regret the error

September 5th, 2009 by Jack

This week, we used Nexis and Factiva for background research prior to reporting a story.

Are these databases also good for fact-checking your stories?

No, and here’s why.

Today’s bonus: One-stop shopping for news media errors.

Word of the day: focus

September 2nd, 2009 by Jack

Having received and reviewed your research prior to today’s “man on the street” interviews, I’ll quote one of my Craft teaching colleagues from the spring who must have used the same word at least a hundred times.


What was the focus of your reporting assignment?  Was it troop deployment in Afghanistan?  Not specifically.  Was it the neighborhoods where you were doing your interviews?  No again.  That’s not to say background on either of those subjects would be useless to your story, but they shouldn’t have been the focus of your research.  You weren’t going to be interviewing President Obama or General McChrystal, nor writing neighborhood profiles.

Given that you were going to be interviewing average citizens, the focus of your research should have been on the opinion of the general populace regarding troops in Afghanistan.  There are always stories mentioning polls and surveys on this sort of hot button topic.  Armed with that information, you could then compare what you found in your interviews to what the general populace thinks.  Did you find a different vibe in your neighborhood?  You might even be able to ask people some good follow up questions, such as, “Would you be surprised if I told you x percent of the population thinks such and such?”

Kudos to those who e-mailed me yesterday asking for advice on how to tackle the research on this assignment.  I look forward to seeing how you incorporate your research into your work.

Today’s bonus: Since we’ll be talking about how to use social networking tools for research later this semester, I found this Times magazine article interesting.  Is the lure of Facebook wearing thin?

How I spent my summer

August 28th, 2009 by Jack

OK, I won’t bore you with a kiddie-style rundown of everything I did the last few months, but here’s some stuff I came across that may interest you…

Just this month, MSNBC acquired EveryBlock, a hyperlocal news aggregator you should definitely check out if you’re not already familiar with it. Also, several parties are challenging a settlement between Google Books and authors and publishers. And this week, I was happy to read that Wikipedia is getting stricter.

Earlier, I stumbled upon an interesting (albeit lengthy) web project about The Future of Journalism. Related to that, I largely agreed with this Columbia Journalism Review article, but found this Huffington Post piece utterly ridiculous.

Here’s a good 4-minute video on political fact-checking.

Twitter obsessed? Then check out The Ultimate List of Twitter Tools.

Speaking of Twitter, Editor & Publisher posted the Wall Street Journal’s rules for online conduct and Pro Football Talk did likewise with ESPN’s guidelines. In January, Poynter had posted the New York Times policy on social networking.

Speaking of the Times, an embarrassing snafu there last month showed the importance of fact-checking and research (more here and here). On the positive side, this New York City homicides map is pretty impressive and the paper continues to develop the Represent database of elected officials representing NYC addresses. Lastly, if you’re looking for Times-related laughs, did you read this article or see this segment from Comedy Central’s Daily Show?

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
End Times
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Newt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Next week: due diligence

April 29th, 2009 by Jack

Please read the articles below before class on 5/5.

Can you make a living as a blogger?

April 24th, 2009 by Jack

The Wall Street Journal calls it The Fifth Estate.

The Elements of Style hits 50

April 23rd, 2009 by Jack

Now should we burn it?

Social networking tipsheet

April 15th, 2009 by Jack

I’ve now received a copy of the social networking tipsheet Barbara Gray promised us during her presentation last week.  Make sure to take a look.  Could easily be some quiz material on there.

Speaking of social networking, did you see the article on the virtues of Twitter in Tuesday’s Times?  Or conversely, how about the one in AM New York Wednesday that says Twitter can make you mean?

See you on April 7th!

March 26th, 2009 by Jack

On April 7th, Barbara Gray, who put together the immigration handout, will give you the same social networking presentation she gives to New York Times reporters.  I’ll be “along for the ride,” but the research lesson that morning will be hers.  It looks like we may also have a special visitor.

In the meantime, I’d like you to read the Times policy on social networking as well as the social networking material I’ve posted to the blog since the fall.  Although I won’t be able to hold you accountable for reading any of it prior to the 7th, I can hold you accountable for it on the final quiz, so you may as well familiarize yourself with it now, when it makes sense.

Also, for a laugh, check out the Twitter video below!

Lesson II-5: Immigration research

March 24th, 2009 by Jack

For today’s lesson, we have two handouts: the first is the Brooklyn immigration project primer from Jere Hester, and the second is a lengthy list of immigration resources from my Research Methods colleague Barbara Gray (with assistance from Barbara Oliver).

Of course, the key resources on Jere’s handout are the Community District Profiles, the list of Brooklyn Community Districts, and most importantly, the New York City Department of Education page.

Barbara Gray’s handout begins with several good articles for you to read.  I would suggest the most noteworthy for you to check out is the seven-part Remade in America series currently underway at the Times.  Don’t miss all the bells and whistles accompanying the main articles.  You’ll see more each Sunday until the project is finished, so keep looking.  Excellent stuff!

She also lists numerous statistical resources, and tells me that the Population Reference Bureau’s Immigration Data Matters report in the “U.S. Agencies and Statistics” section is a particularly useful guide to stats nationwide.  Additionally, she suggested I stress that some oft-cited immigration-related organizations–such as the Center for Immigration Studies–often have an agenda, hence her link.  So be careful.

Barbara Oliver recommends the New York City Department of Education’s Office of English Language Learners report as a great source re: schools and recent immigrants, Gotham Gazette’s “The Citizen” page and the handout’s experts section.

What sources do I recommend?  Definitely the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics listed in last week’s federal government handout.  Also, Infoshare Online, RAND New York, NYCdata and the New York State Statistical Yearbook, all of which I had listed in my Craft I cops and crime handout for different statistics.  Note that the information contained within is dated to varying degrees, however.