Final Project Overview – Fall 18


To produce a publishable feature story using data and visualizations.


The Final Project is worth a total of 115 points. You must meet deadlines for each of the required parts. All work must be submitted on time to get credit. No late work accepted.

There are five parts to this assignment. (See detailed requirements for each below.)

  1. Story Pitch (Worth 10 points) – Due Tues., Nov. 27 at start of class
  2. Outline (Worth 10 points) – Due Tues., Dec. 4 at end of class
  3. First Draft (Worth 25 points) – Due Tues., Dec. 11 at end of class
  4. Final Draft (65 points) – Due Thurs., Dec. 20 at 10:15 am
  5. Presentation (5 points) in class on Thurs., Dec. 20 from 10:15 am to 12:15pm


-Follow this process:


(Note: Everything we have covered this semester for each of these steps is on the Resources page.)

-Must be a story that you need several weeks to report. No “day after” stories. It must be an 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. (Writing it for the Whit is a great option.) Write your article for a specific publication and their audience and niche. After the semester ends, pitch it to that publication. (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, including your own interviews/quotes from at least three (3) people who are knowledgable about your topic.

1. Written article (approx. 750-1,000 words) will consist of:

  • Compelling, descriptive headline that uses key words
  • Byline
  • An image that pulls reader into the story (If you don’t take it yourself it must be Creative Commons)
  • Strong lead that starts with a real person and real events.
  • Nutgraph that states story angle. What is your story?
  • Cosmic graph – a sentence or two that puts your story in a larger context. Why should reader care?
  • Methodology – A sentence or two that tells reader how you got your data.
  • Organized story structure with key findings. Follow this structure for your article.
  • Quotes from at least three (3) sources will something relevant and compelling to say
  • Clean copy – no grammar or spelling errors
  • A link to a spreadsheet of your data

2. Visualization(s) that convey your information and your story visually

Some possible formats include:


Example: You know enough to do of the graphs or charts on Flourish.


Example: You can put together a series of graphs and graphs into an infographic using Info.gram

Photos or Images

Example: You can do before and after with comparisons with Juxtapose or a visual history using Timeline.


Example: Bust out some legos, download the app StopMotion, and make a GIF.


Example: You know to make maps with points or shapes using Google My Maps, Fusion Tables or Flourish.

Short video

Example: See How the NJ 911 service fee gets divided ( and Women’s Marches Around the World (Penisula Press)

Here are examples of students’ Final Projects from the past:

    • Are fashion magazine’s cover models becoming more racially/ethnically diverse?
    • Which comic series – DC or Marvel – has the most diverse cast of characters?
    • Are “Five Star” High School football recruits destined for NFL success?
    • Has Rowan’s baseball team “small ball” strategy led to success?
    • How much student debt do Rowan students have compared to other schools in New Jersey? How does the debt affect their post-graduate decisions?
    • Will Philadelphia adopt dockless bike sharing? What can they learn from other cities who already have it?
    • What are the most dangerous areas for pedestrians near Rowan University?
    • A growing number of universities are donating unused food to food banks and charities. How does Rowan’s efforts compare to others?
    • Why does Lonzo Ball get talked about so much on social media?
    • Who is the worst pitcher in baseball history?
    • Why do Rowan students not use the shuttle service?
    • Why are the same songs performed over and over on “American Idol?”
    • How many undocumented students attend Rowan? Is the university doing enough to support them?
    • A few years ago Rowan proposed a plan to help students graduate in 3 years by going to school year around. Are many students are taking advantage of it?
    • Has Rowan increased fees for parking permits over the past five years? Where does that money go?
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