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A free summer seminar for experienced high school journalism advisers

From the 23 teachers who attended this workshop in July 2019, we have included Solutions Journalism Story Ideas, other Story Ideas for a whole range of topics and Tech Examples of something they learned, many of these for data visualization, plus some resources anyone can use in the future for these topics.

Baby names data exercise (possible homework assignment)

The assignment: 
Use the Social Security Administration’s baby names dataset to examine the popularity of a name or names over time.

You’ll pick a state and download the name list at Social Security Card Applications-Data by State and District of Columbia — it contains records back to 1910.

1. Import the information into an Excel spreadsheet.

2. Pick a name to examine and sort and sift the data to answer the following questions:

• Provide a news peg for the name you selected. (i.e., two sentence story description) In other words, why are the numbers you’re finding significant?

• Find the average number of boys or girls given the name during the last 10 years.

• Find the number of boys or girls given the name in 1967 (or 50 years earlier).

• Find the year the name was most popular as either a girl’s or boy’s name.

• Create a simple chart using Excel or Google Spreadsheets about the popularity of the name.

One hint to make the data viz work out: Name the Excel document after the baby name, but remove the column that contains the name you selected from your spreadsheet.

A version of this assignment won a “Great Ideas For Teaching” award from AEJMC for Nick Geidner, who teaches at the University of Tennessee.

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