Data Journalism Final Project – Fall 2016

Worth 100 points (or 30% of overall grade)


-Must meet deadlines for all of the required steps. All work must be submitted on time to get credit. No late work accepted.

-Must be a story that you need three and half weeks to report. No “day after” stories. It must be a feature article that requires analysis, reporting, writing and visualization.

-Your goal is a publishable article. Pick a publication that you think would publish an article on your topic. Write your article for that publication. Submit it when you are done. (If a 12-year-old can do it, so can you.)

-You must obtain data from a reliable source or collect it yourself.

-You must do original reporting to flesh out the data. You must use at least five (5) other sources, including interviews/quotes from at least three (3) people.

-Final written article (approx. 750-1250 words) will consist of:

  • Compelling, descriptive headline that uses key words
  • An image that pulls reader into the story (If you don’t take it yourself it must be Creative Commons)
  • Strong lead
  • Nut graph that states story angle
  • Organized story structure
  • Quotes from at least three sources will something relevant and compelling to say
  • At least one chart, graph or visualization that supports the story
  • Clean copy – no grammar or spelling errors

Here are some sample projects from previous semesters:

Are Five Star High School Footbal Recruits Destined for NFL?

Marvel and DC Comics Fail on Affirmative Action

The Worst Pitching Seasons in Baseball History

How the 2015 Rowan baseball team successfully embraced the philosophy of “small-ball” without sacrificing consistency

Five steps in the project:

1. Proposal and Data Plan– Students will pitch a data journalism project. What is the data? How will it be obtained? How will it be analyzed? Why do you believe this data set will yield something newsworthy? What publication are you writing it for? (15 points) Due Wed, Nov. 23 before you leave for Thanksgiving break

Post your Pitch and Data Plan to in the following format

Your Name’s Final Project Pitch and Data Plan

Pitch: My story is X… and it’s interesting Y. Be as concrete, specific and focused as possible. (Is this something you can answer in a 750-1250 word article with a few graphics? If not, you may need to focus it more or tighten your angle).

Sources of data: I’m using the following sources:

  • Source with link if available
  • Source with link if available
  • Etc

Story framed as questions: I am looking to answer the following questions:

  • Question 1
  • Question 2
  • Question 3

2. Outline and Storyboard – Students will present an outline of the key findings of data analysis and a proposal for displaying it graphically. (10 points) Due Wed, Nov. 30 Friday, Dec 2 at Noon

3. First Draft of article – Students will write a full draft of the article with the all of the elements above. I will review it and offer suggested revisions. Due Wed., Dec. 7

4. Final Product – Students will submit their written and visual work. Students must also submit a spreadsheet of data. (70 points) Due Wed., Dec. 14 at 12:30pm

5. Presentation – Students will make a brief present their final project to classmates during the final exam period (5 points) Wed, Dec. 14 12:30-2:30pm

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