Assignments for April 10

Guest speaker: Next week our guest will be Ron Nixon of The New York Times. Mr. Nixon works on the Business desk as a projects reporter in the Washington bureau and often uses computer-assisted reporting for his stories and projects. He’ll talk about his work and will expect some questions on these stories: For Schools, Lottery Payoffs Fall Short of Promises and Loans to Homeowners Along Gulf Coast Lag. You can see more of his work here.

Excel Exercise: Using Census data on commuting (where people live and work by county), locate and download the file for Maryland marked “Residence County” (you may download either the Excel or text version). You’ll need the record layout. Then calculate the percent of each county’s total workers that each work destination represents for the following counties: Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Frederick, Charles (you can delete the others if you like). When you’ve done that, use sorting and filtering to figure out a story angle and write up a brief story pitch to me. Include the spreadsheet with it.

Final Projects: Meet with your partner and come up with a topic and several possible questions/angles to address. Be prepared to talk about them in class.

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