J. T. Johnson Course Experience Essays J421: Analytic Journalism San Francisco State University



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J. T. Johnson

Course Experience Essays

J421: Analytic Journalism
San Francisco State University


Fall ‘03J. T. Johnson Course Evaluations

San Francisco State University

Fall ‘03
Class and Semester: J421-F’03

Last Name, First Name: 'SM'

Year in School: 'Junior'

Major: 'Journalism' Non-journalism Major:
Q1. Think about what you did NOT know 15 weeks ago related to the objectives and content of this course. Prepare an essay of appropriate length (you decide what's appropriate) describing what you have learned about these topics in the past weeks.

' Analytic Journalism class has taught me many things about an array of different subjects I knew little or nothing about before. Most of what I learned had to do with technological or Internet-based materials and it has left me feeling far more enriched in those areas than before. J421 opened up my eyes to the benefits of Excel and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as tools to use in the newsroom. Each assignment was valuable in some way because they all gave me the chance to do things in a hands-on manner. The Excel and GIS assignments though were probably most enlightening and beneficial. The class also taught me useful information of how important infographics can be to a story and it even allowed me to experience the values of journalism listservs. In addition the class taught me how to write a memo and how to do it professionally. Finally I encountered many useful Internet tools along the way and I also got a better understanding of some search engines and bookmarking tools. Every week?s class was a learning experience in some way but I probably got the most enrichment from the above things. The most important tools I learned about in J421 were Excel and GIS. Prior to this class I had only used Excel for a very brief time in a high school Business Computers class and I had never used or knew the benefits of GIS. Both tools opened my eyes to the fact that each can have a place in quality journalism. Excel can allow one to get at the core of the data by calculating a wide array of things. This can allow the reporter to dig deeper into a set of data than simply writing about the given numbers. Excel can actually permit an analysis of those numbers. Three assignments that really drove home the point to me that Excel is very valuable were the Howard Dean San Francisco State Trend Reports and Freeport City Budget assignments. In each of those three assignments I had to ?massage? the data with Excel to come to conclusions about what the data was actually telling me. In none of my previous journalism classes had I ever been asked to take on tasks like those with Excel. In fact I had not even written a budget story in any of my other journalism classes. Thus the Freeport City Budget assignment with its numbers to be analyzed taught me how to write a good budget story. I also was not aware of how relatively simple it was to make graphics showing the data through Excel. For the SFSU Trend Reports and Dean assignments graphics created in Excel were an important part of the assignments and I had never even touched the tools in my high school class. In the end using Excel has taught me how to really analyze the data and take the given numbers to a new level. With it we can help show readers things like the impact of property taxes or which departments at SFSU are growing the most. Only in J421 was I really able to get a good feel of the Excel tools and benefits. GIS is also a valuable tool. Before this class I had no idea how great this tool was and how it could be used to create high-quality journalism. David Herzog?s Mapping the News was especially insightful with its case studies and GIS basics. Though we did not do a lot of assignments using GIS I learned enough about it to at least have a working knowledge of it and its benefits. I now know GIS has an emphasis on layering and GIS simply uses map shapefiles to chart the data. Through the assignment around Herzog?s book I also learned how GIS has an array of different programs and it does not have to cost an exorbitant amount for a newsroom to get the tools. The case studies in Herzog?s book showed how valuable GIS could be to journalists and their readers. It is no wonder that most of those stories received awards and honors. GIS seems to take geographic analysis to another level and show it to the readers in ways they can quickly grasp. It can analyze a large set of data and paint an interesting picture like the story in Herzog?s book that showed how drunk-driving accidents were prolific around drinking establishments. I hope to someday learn even more about GIS because it is a tool that all journalists should have some knowledge of. I am glad to have had the chance to work with it a bit on the EnviroMapper at the Environmental Protection Agency?s website and I can now say I have at least gotten my feet wet in GIS. I will feel much more comfortable with ArcGIS or shapefiles than I would have had I not taken J421. Like GIS infographics can be important tools to ?show? readers the story as well. When a story has numerical data it can be understood better in an infographic and it allows the reader to grasp relationships among numbers. No class I have had spent as much time discussing infographics so I did not fully realize the advantages they give to a story. My assignment on infographics was not one of my best but through my mistakes I have learned to always include the authorship source and some specific chatter in the infographic. I also learned the best infographics are the ones that can stand alone and are understandable by themselves. These infographics tell the story themselves and are most helpful to the reader. In addition it is important to keep infographics clean so the reader can understand what exactly is conveyed. If the reader cannot understand the infographic it has no point and is useless. After taking this class I also learned the importance of including definitions of the data. Thus not only did I learn how to set up a good infographic with sourcing chatter title etc. but I also learned it has to be clear what the definition of the data in the infographic is. For a story about ?The Top Five Majors at SFSU ? it is not enough to label an infographic something like ?Number of Students in Top Five Departments at SFSU.? It is important to define ?Top? in the chatter or the title itself. When I take the Publication Design & Graphics class next semester I will have a much better idea of one of the best kinds of graphics a newspaper can use?an infographic. J421 also taught me how to write a good memo. As the class is ending I feel I have become quite good at doing memos. Since I did several this semester I had a good deal of practice writing them. I learned to not only try to sell the story to your editor through these memos but to sell yourself as well. It seems very important to let the editor know you can do a good job on the story and you can show him or her that by showing all the research you have done. In addition I learned to make the memo look as professional as possible. After all you are turning it in to a professional so it is good to try to make it look professional. On my first memo the margins were quite out of whack and it was pointed out to me by Professor Johnson. From then on I paid attention to my margins in the memo and they really did come out looking better. Since no class had taught me how to write a memo and since I had never written one I learned in J421 how to write one properly. This meant including facts such as the cost of the story amount of time to do the story story length and the methods of getting information for the story. Through J421 I also learned some things about the Internet that I had not known previously and listservs were one of those things. The powers of these listservs cannot be underestimated. It is because of this class that I opened my eyes to their benefits and can enjoy them firsthand. From Professor Johnson I learned not to ask dumb questions that are similar to ?What is the history of journalism?? They can be used to find out about sites that can be helpful in your reporting and this happened to me. Bill Dedman had asked about a site that did comparisons of cities and gave good data sources. Another lister got back to him with the site http://www.epdunk.com. I checked it out myself and found it could be helpful for my final project where I am looking at California city and county data. If I did not have the listserv access I would likely have never found this gem of a site. Thus the listservs can lead the journalist to useful Internet sites and it can be a big help for a journalist who needs some answers to useful questions. There are some quality people on the listserv who can be used to help build a rolodex as well when I need information in the future. It is like one big happy family that helps each other out. In addition there were many helpful discussions on Excel and GIS that took place on the listservs throughout the semester. I was not able to use much of the information yet but I know in the future those details on ?how-to?s? will come in handy. Thanks to J421 I came across an indispensable tool. I encountered many Internet tools that may be helpful but Keyhole and Snagit stand out in my mind. With Keyhole you could type in an address and the site will take you there. For journalism this can be helpful when a reporter wants to show where something took place with an actual layout of the area. It is a step up from a map or drawing of a scene or location because it is essentially a real-life picture. This type of tool can help bring alive a story in a unique way. It can show where the murder took place where the accident occurred and the area around the specific spot. In addition it is a fun tool to play around with as well. Snagit was another Internet tool that I was unaware of prior to this class. Snagit is useful because it can capture images straight from the web. If there is something from the Internet I need to show my editor in a memo this tool is ideal. They do seem helpful to tell the story better to the readers. Both of these tools really caught my attention as very useful and I had no opinion of them before since I had not even heard of them. There were many Internet-based things the class taught me about but these two made me say to myself ?Wow.? J421 also taught me a little more about bookmark tools and search engines. I have used both of these Internet-based tools for a while but this class sharpened my knowledge and use of both. For the assignment on bookmark tools I explored several and Backflip.com was the one I thought was the best. Sites can be added and searched from any computer and a user can save a site and come back to it later by utilizing the backflip button. I found Internet Explorer favorites the worst because there is no annotation or ability to retrieve and add favorites from other browsers. I had never thought about what the best bookmarking tools were but J421 allowed me to do that. In terms of search engines they can be helpful but also have drawbacks. For instance I learned that search engines cannot find data from sites that require a log in intranets PDF files and commercial resources with domain limitations. Also the generic search engines are at best out of date and unspecific. Search engines then can be helpful as well as not-so-helpful. Previously I thought they were great tools and I still think they are good. But I am now aware of some of their limitations as well. My class in Analytic Journalism was an overwhelmingly enriching experience. I now know and understand all kinds of ways that data can be analyzed and ?massaged? to produce a higher-quality story. At the beginning of the semester I wondered how worthwhile it would be to take this class. At the end of the semester I realize how glad I am that I took it. It has taught me a lot about tools I did not knew about before and it has made me feel more confident that I can be a good journalist with these tools in hand. One of the main things I noticed through the work I did and the information from class lectures was how important it is to be able to ?show? the reader the story by analyzing the numbers and/or putting them in a graphical form. Whether it be by GIS infographics or some other tool this class taught me how important it is to do a quality story for the reader. I do not know why more journalism majors did not take this class because it teaches you so much you can actually use to be ahead of your peers. It is always good to have any kind of edge you can get in today?s job world and this Analytic Journalism class has given me the tools and the confidence to have that edge. '

Q2. Write a brief essay describing what, if anything, you have learned about yourself, your work habits, your interests and/or your skills and talents as a result of this course.

' Analytic Journalism class taught me several things about myself my work habits and my skills and talents. A lot of what I learned from this class and Professor Johnson with regards to those things dealt with professionalism. He taught me how important it is to be professional and consider yourself a professional. I came into the class with expectations of learning some ways to make myself a better journalist but as I look back now I learned a lot about myself and my strengths as well. Through this class I also found some things I am interested in and want to learn more about. As I described in the essay above the class has been an enriching experience. It was enriching not only in terms of content but also in terms of myself. Because of J421 and Professor Johnson I learned some interesting things about myself. I learned right from the very beginning that I was worthy enough to take a challenge and complete it to the best of my ability. From the very first assignment of creating a business card this education about myself held true. Each assignment presented some kind of challenge that at first seemed huge to me but after working with it I found I could complete it and do a reasonably good job if I totally focused on it. I learned I could be quite determined in this way. Related to the business cards J421 also made a point about professionalism. In e-mails it is important to be a professional and not simply refer to yourself as a ?student journalist.? Thus one thing I learned about myself is that I can consider myself a professional journalist. After the business card production I even felt more professional carrying it around in my wallet. I saw myself acting more professional in intereviews or emails and it truly was a boost to my morale to know I am a professional. Another thing I learned about myself has to do with the fact that I attended the class every week. As I look back through the 15 weeks I realize how important I knew it was to attend every class session. It is a good thing to etch into your brain. You learn that you are determined to learn something new and you are dedicated to the class enough to let nothing stop you from showing up to class every night. I learned something new at each class session and it even taught me to be proud of meeting the mandatory attendance requirements. Finally I learned I could be good at something if I really give it a good shot and take the time to learn about it. This was the case with GIS and memo-writing especially and it will be discussed a bit more below. All in all I learned some good things about myself and my character due to J421. I also learned several things about my work habits. First I realized I had to start assignments earlier. In most classes with weekly assignments I waited until the day or two days before the assignment was due to start on it. However I quickly realized that I could not do that and be successful in this class. For most assignments in this class I started to delve into them on Thursday night and worked on them little by little the proceeding nights. Then the Monday night before the class I would polish it all up. With technology and computers it is always wise to start things early. So I learned I could do much better if I started things earlier and set up a schedule to work on them. It worked out well this semester. I also learned that it was best to make things look neat and professional. If I did that it would usually mean a better grade on the assignment. I tried my best to make things on assignments look as good as I could. Sometimes I was successful and other times I was not but it is a work habit I had not given foremost thought to in other classes as much. The habit of neatness and professionalism is an important one though. Finally I became acquainted better with my work habits when pressured by a tight deadline in class. Most of my other journalism classes had no exercises like the stories we did earlier in the semester on each particular class. I learned that I could do a fairly good job on a story under a tight deadline if I had good notes on the subject. I took good notes in those class sessions where we had to write a story at the end so it worked out well. I saw how worthy it was to take good notes and I saw how it is to write with a tight deadline. In the end I think I learned I could handle it well. More journalism classes should have more ?deadline? exercises like those. This class also taught me a lot about some skills I did not realize I had prior to this class. Mainly I found out that I can write a good memo. These assignments were my best ones throughout the semester and I actually kind of enjoyed writing them. It was a nice change of pace to learn about something that will be important to me as a journalist down the road and do so well with them. If I am ever called on to write a memo for another class or at a job I will definitely feel good about writing it. Another area I found I am somewhat good at (with limited attempts) is GIS. I am by no means a professional but the tool did arouse my interest. With the assignment we did surrounding GIS I realized I could do well with the basic operations and functions of GIS. Overall everything I learned in J421 can add to my skills and talents especially remembering that Professor Johnson said we will have an edge on other journalists if we know about the things discussed in this class. My skills and talents were enriched with GIS and memo-writing and I have this Analytic Journalism class to thank for that. J421 has taught me a lot about myself and my talents. I have become aware of new talents I have sharpened old talents and learned how important professionalism is as a journalist. At times the class was challenging and demanding but I have little doubt those challenges and demands will pay off in the future. The skills I learned from this class will hopefully put me ahead of many other young journalists in this country. As I look back on the semester of work and effort I am proud of my achievements and newly gained knowledge from J421. '
%%%J. T. Johnson Course Evaluations

San Francisco State University

Fall ‘03
Class and Semester: J421-F’03

Last Name, First Name: 'MG'

Year in School: 'Junior'

Major: 'Other' Non-journalism Major: 'International Relations'
Q1. Think about what you did NOT know 15 weeks ago related to the objectives and content of this course. Prepare an essay of appropriate length (you decide what's appropriate) describing what you have learned about these topics in the past weeks.

'Looking back on the last 15 weeks spent in this class I see that I know more about certain subjects now than I did before. I even learned some new subjects I did not know existed. Most of the things we learned in class are outlined in the course objectives and as so I will compare my knowledge on the subjects to what is present in the Course Objectives in the class syllabus. One of the objectives says that I should have ?achieve a fundamental employable understanding of online search and retrieval methods and relevant tools.? I feel that in this area I have improved tremendously. Before the class I knew to use Google and the library to do research. For the most part this has been enough for most of my work in the past. Now thanks to this class I know how to use Google more effectively like putting quotation marks around a phrase to get an exact search. I also know how to use Boolean search methods now for more accuracy in my searches. And thanks to this class as well I know to use a bookmark manager to keep track of interesting sites I come across. Before I used to just save the web page on my hard drive. Now I use MyBookmarks and Backflip at lot. Its just more convenient to use. Another objective says that I should now know more about listservs and journalism organizations after being in class. In truth I really have only gained knowledge on listservs. Even now I do not know much about the journalism organizations out there. I know more about IRE and the Columbia school of journalism but that it is. I will admit that I did not do much research on them. On the other hand the listervs were a huge help. I keep any post that I think will help me out in the future. If it were not for this class I wouldn?t have known that this nugget of information was available to me. The third objective in the outline says that I should have more knowledge about databases and file types but I will admit that I only gained knowledge in one of them. Before coming into the class I knew all about file types like that ?.doc? belongs to Microsoft Word or that ?.pdf? belongs to Adobe Acrobat. Wgat I did learn about more were databases. Thanks to this class I learned about databases with information that I could use later on in my career. While I did know about American Factfinder to find census information I found out about the National Weather Service. Here I can look up any bit of information I want on weather. PowerReporting.com is another good resource I found where I can look up info on any subject that is relevant to journalists. Before I entered the class I knew nothing about GIS but now 15 weeks later I at least know it exists. I think that is the best thing I learned. In all this is what I have learned after spending 15 weeks in the class. I know that I still have a way to go but I will learn more along the way. '

Q2. Write a brief essay describing what, if anything, you have learned about yourself, your work habits, your interests and/or your skills and talents as a result of this course.

'After taking the course and going through it I have come to learn a couple of things about myself that I did not know beforehand. I learned that I make myself nervous over numbers. Going into the class I felt that I could easily work with numbers and that they would be friendly to me. After the Dean assignment my perception of myself in that aspect changed. I came to realize that numbers as presented by any organization are not as they appear. Like you said so yourself in class ?all data is dirty.? I learned this the hard way. Every time after that when I looked at a set of data I started to ask myself questions about it like where did it come from who had access to these numbers would anybody want to inflate or change the numbers to their own benefit and so on. I would never look at data the same way again. I also get nervous because I feel that I might not be seeing something that I should be seeing some abnormality in the data that I should notice. When an abnormality is pointed out and it one I didn?t see I get anxious that I am not catching the most obvious changes. If I can?t catch these abnormalities like a good journalist should I don?t know if I could work around numbers. As for my work habits I have come to realize that they need major improvements. One of the worst offenses I do is that I put things off at the last minute. For some reason I can?t seem to get myself to work on something until is almost due. I know that is not the best way to work on a project but I unfortunately do it time after time. There were some instances when I would start right on a project like the Enviromapper assignment. The night after class I went home and started to look up and work around the EPA site getting used to using Enviromapper and seeing what it can do. Unfortunately once I figured out how to use Enviromapper I put it off thinking I could return to it when my work load had died down. That was a bad idea. I ended up working on it the Sunday before it was due. I didn?t do as good as I should have and I realize that it is because of my work habits. They need major improvement and fast. I also learned throughout this course that I have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to journalism. My strengths are that I can find things on the internet without much problem. This is thanks to using an online bookmark manager and saving any valuable resources I come across. It is also from my general knowledge of websites that I can say I am good at researching. Another strength I have is that I can work in a team. Usually journalists will work alone on assignments but on some occasions journalists will work in pairs or teams on an article. After working with some of the other people in class on assignments jointly I noticed how easy it was for me to spilt up work and cooperate with my team members. I had no problems expressing how I wanted to go with an assignment but also listening to the concerns of my team members. I would have to say that my research and team-working abilities are very good. A weakness I have is that I doubt myself too much. This affects my work. Sometimes I will look at data see any abnormalities that I could and come up this questions to ask a person on an interview. Unfortunately no matter how much background information I feel I have gathered I think I am never asking any good questions. In my mind I think I have to come up with the best and most analytical questions possible. Even if they are good questions I still don?t feel that they were and think I could have done better. Of course I could always do better but I never do not have the feeling when interviewing someone. Another weakness I possess is that I think I am a terrible writer. I always feel that is a better more direct way to say something in an article I am having. I just took an editing class and I found out that the editorial choices I made on a sentence were always not the best way to go. My problem I guess then is my style and flow with words worked within the structures of the journalist way of writing. I can never seem to write any good. In all I would have to say that I did learn a lot about myself my work habits and talents. After looking at myself as a whole I came to realize that I need to work on my skills and work habits in order to become a good journalist. I?m glad this class was able to show me this because otherwise I might have been blind to what I need improving. '
%%%J. T. Johnson Course Evaluations

San Francisco State University

Fall ‘03
Class and Semester: J421-F’03

Last Name, First Name: 'PC'

Year in School: 'Junior'

Major: 'Journalism' Non-journalism Major:
Q1. Think about what you did NOT know 15 weeks ago related to the objectives and content of this course. Prepare an essay of appropriate length (you decide what's appropriate) describing what you have learned about these topics in the past weeks.

' I have learned how to use a lot of new tools during the past 15 weeks. I particularly enjoyed learning how to use some of the Microsoft Excel functions which I always wanted to know but as a busy student never even took the time to do an online tutorial on it. I learned that the counting sorting and graphing functions of excel makes statistical and analytic stories a lot more easy to work with and they are easy to use. I think back at when we were assigned the Dean?s payroll story and I remember how none of that data made any sense to me and how I struggled an entire weekend trying to get a story out of those numbers. After that horrible weekend I have definitely improved my skills in terms of seeing possible stories in data sets. It was good to learn how to do graphics too. Even though I?m not a graphic artist and Excel isn?t the best program to make graphics knowing the functions and basic goals of graphics were really important. I do pay a lot more attention to them when I see it on the newspapers. I found myself criticizing a graph that the SF Chronicle did the other day (I can?t remember what it was exactly). I which we had more time and had learned a little more about GIS. It seems to be a very interesting field to study from what I learned so far this semester. I just wish we had gone further with it in terms of learning how to actually make maps and graphs by using GIS. But I guess that would have to be a separate course. I?ve gained a lot of good skills this semester even the little ones were important. Believe it or not I did not know how to compile multiple files into an archived folder. Now that I do I know how helpful it is. There were also other little computer functions that because I didn?t needed (or didn?t think I needed) I never tried to use such as the ?replace tool? in Microsoft word. That became very handy to me when I wrote my papers for other classes too. In General I really liked this class. Of course it was challenging and during the first couple of months I wished to just drop out. I can say at some point I hated this class but I got the point I started to like it and I?m glad I took it and learned all these skills. I? '

Q2. Write a brief essay describing what, if anything, you have learned about yourself, your work habits, your interests and/or your skills and talents as a result of this course.

'The first and most important thing I learned about myself during this course is that whenever I think ?I can?t do something ? that means all I have to do is put a lot of effort into it and make it happen. Because I have an almost full-time job and I?m a full-time student I do all my school work under very tight deadlines usually I only have one or two days of the week to write my papers. I?m a junior now so I have been doing this for a while but this semester was with no doubt the hardest one so far. However I am much more comfortable working under deadline and under pressure than I used to. And I am definitely writing a lot faster than before the beginning of this semester. But in general the big thing I learned about myself in this course is that some things can hard to do but if I try hard I can do it. '
%%%J. T. Johnson Course Evaluations

San Francisco State University

Fall ‘03
Class and Semester: J421-F’03

Last Name, First Name: 'SM'

Year in School: 'Junior'

Major: 'Other' Non-journalism Major: 'Political Science'
Q1. Think about what you did NOT know 15 weeks ago related to the objectives and content of this course. Prepare an essay of appropriate length (you decide what's appropriate) describing what you have learned about these topics in the past weeks.

'What I have loved and hated learning in this class would have to be the computer skills. When it comes to computers I am unskilled. When I first enrolled in the course I expected to be writing stories; I did not expect to do the work on the computer that was hurled at me. Though I have a bit of dislike for computers this class gave me a new appreciation for them and the things you can accomplish with them. Working in excel would have to be the most tedious and enjoyable part of my learning experience. I can now say that I can create a somewhat decent chart which I was not able to do fifteen weeks ago. Another aspect of the course that opened my eyes was what I learned about the Internet. While I have always heard it called the information super highway and new that it had a plethora of information I guess I never understood exactly how informative it is. Exploring the different listservs such as IRE and Lexus Nexus was very interesting and learning how they are right at the tip of my fingers. I first learned about GIS when I took a geography class and I was amazed at how you could use it but I never thought of using it as a journalism tool. Seeing how it is used as a journalism tool was very helpful.'

Q2. Write a brief essay describing what, if anything, you have learned about yourself, your work habits, your interests and/or your skills and talents as a result of this course.

'What I have learned about myself is shocking. While I have been going through many personal issues like my father being sick I have also been a bit lazy. I love writing so that is what I expected that I would be doing all the time. I did not expect to have to be a computer guru. To an extent I think my initial dislike for computers set me back because I did not really want to take the time out to learn more about them and how they can help me. As the course is winding to an end I am starting to apply what I have learned on Excel and the investigative tools on the Internet to other parts of my life other than school which is a big step for me. '

%%%J. T. Johnson Course Evaluations



San Francisco State University

Fall ‘03
Class and Semester: J421-F’03

Last Name, First Name: 'SM'

Year in School: 'Senior'

Major: 'Journalism' Non-journalism Major:
Q1. Think about what you did NOT know 15 weeks ago related to the objectives and content of this course. Prepare an essay of appropriate length (you decide what's appropriate) describing what you have learned about these topics in the past weeks.

'15 weeks ago I started the semester with preparing a business card. In order to do so I had to buy the appropriate card and find a webpage to download a specific format. After changing the format I could print out a professional looking card. The difficulty about this assignment was to download the format because my computer still did not have internet access and I had to figure out a way to do it on the school computers. I learned to create a business card and to stay patient with computer work. After some of my tries to subscribe to the recommended email membership groups I had to contact my teacher to assist me through the process. Because we do not have real personal contact to our teachers in Germany it was important for me to learn that communication between teachers and students can take place and that it can clear situations. Within the semester I learned how to work with different search engines and even learned how to work better with the mainstream search engine google which I always used. Furthermore I found out how to save and archive my work in a better way. Through WinZip as well as StuffIt I can save my documents in folders and send them as an email attachment that doesn?t take up to much space. Going to the San Francisco Marine Exhibition helped me to improve my preparation before going to an interview as well as my reporting skills. Because of the unknown subject I had to do a lot of research before the actual event had to pick a company and their product and become familiar with it. Therefore my own process of getting information and analyzing it became more detailed. The class also taught me that it is important to be more critical with the information I get from sources and other articles. I always have to question all information as well as all data I am working with. The most valuable improvement I got from the class is the ability to work with data that I can get through the internet. The Howard Dean webpage had a lot of information data which had to be cleaned as well as it had to be transformed into an excel spreadsheet to get a graph out of it so that it is possible to analyze the hidden information. I learned how to get data how to work with it and to interpretate it as well as I realized the importance of the work and to bring the results of this work out to the people. The part I enjoyed most in class was to work with maps and actually create maps. It was really interesting which kinds of maps are available and which stories can result our of experimenting with them. Within the class I learned to realize how important it is to be serious about journalism and the differences between different kinds of articles. '

Q2. Write a brief essay describing what, if anything, you have learned about yourself, your work habits, your interests and/or your skills and talents as a result of this course.

'The fall 2003 semester was connected with a major amount of school work especially for the Golden Gate [X] Press and the Analytical Journalism class. Having a part time job besides taking four journalism classes and one German literature class forced me to make some changes in my live. In order to get all my homework and articles done I had to follow a specific schedule more or less every day. Even tough I have always been organized as well as I planned my days I had to make some changes. I had to start working more effectively and force myself to end up one thing before starting another. So one of the most important things I learned from the class is to improve my time managing as well as to be professional with the amount of time spend on the work I am doing. Another important improvement I got from the class is the ability to work with others. Because M, L and I did some of the assignments as well as the final project together I had a lot of situations in which I could learn how to interact in a group. Even tough I took more time to met up with group members and we had to discuss all parts of the assignment and sometimes we had to argue about disagreements I learned to bring myself into a group project and to listen to others opinions and ideas. As a last learned thing I guess I started to loose my computer and internet aversion. Because I was forced to work online every day as well as I had to become familiar with programs like excel and backflip I started to enjoy the help these programs give me and even save me time after I learned how to work with them. '
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