Talking data at Youngstown State University



YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University was kind enough to invite me to take part in “Press Day,” giving me an opportunity share the potential of data-driven journalism with students and prospective journalism students.

I’m always happy to talk about how journalists can craft unique, impactful stories by developing a toolbox full of data skills.

If you were part of the Oct. 4, 2016, session and would like to review the stories and tips discussed, follow this link.

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Data journalism at Central Michigan University


Central Michigan UniversityI was thrilled to get the opportunity Oct. 8-9, 2015, to talk data journalism with students and faculty at Central Michigan University’s Department of Journalism, one of just two nationally-accredited journalism programs in Michigan.

We spent an afternoon talking to students, encouraging them to open their eyes to data journalism and offering some tips to get them started. Then I had an opportunity to trade ideas with faculty during a full day workshop.

Look for future data journalists to come out of CMU. There are some bright and interested minds there.

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Dig into the cost of college sports


The NCAA is a reporter’s friend when it comes to digging into the money spent and generated by college sports. The NCAA requires each school to annually file a detailed report, containing everything from coaching salaries to how much money in student fees are used to pay for sports.

The NCAA does not share the information. And private schools generally don’t release it. But the reports public schools can be obtained through public records requests at the individual schools. What we found in a 2015 series is that for many Division I schools, close to $1,000 a year in student fees per student (or other university help) is being used to support athletics, and coaching salaries are going up faster than even the cost of tuition.

Check out our 12-part series to get ideas about what you might find in analyzing the reports for schools in your area.

Also, 2016 update.

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The cost to non-athletes for Division I college sports

We took a dive into the funding of Division I NCAA sports and found that – outside of Ohio State – every other public school in Ohio is dipping into student fees, general funds or other public sources to operate their sports programs.

On average, it amounts to about $700 per student on campus – directly through mandatory student fees or other sources. Supporters say NCAA sports at the top level add to campus life and elevate the profile of places like Kent State, Akron and Cleveland State. Others question such spending, especially the part that goes to six-figure coaching salaries in some sports.

Read our award-wininng package on money in college sports. You’ll find details about all the Ohio Mid-American Conference schools, plus Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Wright State and Youngstown State. The private schools declined to share their information.

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Quick stop to check job growth (and loss) numbers

Bureau of Labor StatisticsThe politicians love to boast about employment gains, or take shots at their opponents over job losses. It’s a separate debate as to the degree politicians are responsible for job gains and losses, but at least it’s easy to check

Here’s a link that will get you to the right spot to quickly fact check what is being said with the official numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, once there, it doesn’t take long to take a look at a wider timeframe so you can begin to draw your own conclusions.

From this link, it just takes three clicks and about 15 seconds to to see 10 years’ of monthly data: (A) select “top picks,” (B) select “Total Nonfarm Employmen” and (C) click “retrieve data.” From there, you can dig deeper if you like.

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