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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.

Using Google Flourish with Sports Data

One of the Google tools that stuck with me a week after the CSJ Advising Institute was Google Flourish, especially the line chart race. A tool like this lends itself well to sports reporting, where data is relatively accessible and easy for students to understand, especially to fans.

Using a site like Max Preps provides students with relatively easy access to lots of statistics, player information, and rankings. For those who are not intense sports buffs, I find it fascinating that these records are kept for high school sports. 

It was a little cumbersome to access the Team Stats for each year. While a team “overview” link exists, it only provides the total wins/losses along with state and national rankings for the seasons on digital record (which for my school, only went back to 2010). I’m curious if and where statistics exist prior to that; perhaps a good question to ask the athletic office this upcoming school year. 

To get more specific statistics, I had to access each season. If they existed (and a few years did not), I found very details team and even player statistics that could provide a lot of possibilities for student journalists to play with. 

I decided to present a comparison of total touchdowns scored for Hammonton (my school) and its first match-up of the season, Oakcrest. Admittedly, some gaps existed in the data (Team Stats were not available for years 2010 and 2011 for Hammonton); therefore, this is not wholly accurate. This would be something to warn students about; while impressive, a site like Max Preps does have gaps. Lesson learned.

The best way to learn really is by doing. I thought it looked so much simpler and straightforward when I began to work on this; it demanded a little more of my time than I realized! Are there other sites like this that would lend themselves well to using Flourish?

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