Journalism students across the globe, here is your reporting assignment.

[UPDATE! Read everything you need to know about this project here.]

In yesterday’s CollegeJourn chat, a group of student journalists produced a road map for our first global collaborative reporting project. Sarah Jackson blogged about the idea here, and Josh Halliday wrote about it for the Online Journalism Blog here.

Students, join us. Take up the assignment. Use this opportunity for one of your journalism classes, produce a piece for your college media outlet, or just jump in because you want the unprecedented experience for your resume. Teachers and pros, we welcome any help and guidance you can give us!

We split the topic of health into two, so that the feature writers and beginning reporters could jump in to one area and the data-miners and investigative reporters could jump into another.

If you want to do a news feature, here is your assignment:

What does health mean in your area?

Get creative. We want to get humanizing stories from around the world. How does your town’s attitudes toward health differ from the rest of your country, and how does your country differ from other countries? Find those stories and share them.

Here’s some prompts you may want to explore:

  • What is physical health?
  • What is mental health?
  • What is good health care?
  • What is a healthy work/leisure balance?
  • What is healthy eating?
  • What are healthy relationships?
  • What is addiction?

Use writing, video, audio, slideshows, whatever you see fit. You can produce one story or many. It’s up to you to get creative. But do get specific to your geographic location.

If you want to help us with the data-driven reporting, here is your assignment:

How does the health care on my university campus compare to the health care at other universities?

We want to examine what happens when a student becomes sick or injured on the university campus. What process do they go through, what’s the quality of care, and how does it rank with other campuses around the world?

The first leg of the assignment: Establish a narrative on what happens to a sick or injured student on campus. The second part is gathering data from each area, such as:

  • Distance to nearest hospital or clinic
  • Ambulance response times
  • Average cost of visit (if not to student, then to whom?)
  • Number of clinicians per 100 students
  • What services are available on-site
  • Population statistics over time for the campus
  • Statistics like weight, pregnancy, AIDS diagnoses, gonnohrea/syphillis, etc.

Any statistics we can find that will help us compare campuses, we want to dig up. It will also take a basic explainer on how your country’s health care system differs from others, and that will take collaboration and note-sharing.

We realize this can be very complex. We also want to be flexible in case the stats are unavailable, but we want you to use good reporting skills to do whatever necessary to find out.

I should also mention that the coordinating and planning will be conducted in the English language, but we are open and willing to find a way to accommodate non-English speakers. (Suggestions welcome!)

We are going to use Paul Bradshaw’s Help Me Investigate website to coordinate. Please contact either me (suzanneyada ~at~ gmail) or Josh Halliday if you want to participate, and we will invite you to the HMI group. (We also have a WiredJournalists‘s group you can join here without invitation.)

This means for you North American CollegeJourners that the Sunday chats will be moved up to 3 pm ET/noon PT until further notice, so we can chat at a reasonable global time and update each other about our progress.

So you have your assignment. It’s due Oct. 30, but each week we will advance our reporting and share notes, so we will know where we need to go for the next week. You’ll have a support group and clear guidance for what’s expected week by week.

More logistics will be hammered out, and we will keep you informed.

Any questions?

EDIT: Here is the Google group we are using to do internal coordination. Leave a comment here on this blog and then join — I’d like to know who you are!

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8 comments
Kathleen
Kathleen

Sounds like a fantastic and ambitious project! Good luck!

Greg Linch
Greg Linch

I passed this post and a couple of other links to The Hurricane.

Bob Stepno
Bob Stepno

Terrific idea... I'll pass it on to my students and the prof teaching the "Specialized Reporting" course this semester. (Also passing along the hand-sanitizing gel just installed in our classroom. First week of school was accompanied by our first confirmed H1N1 case.)

Josh
Josh

Sure, I'll explain it a bit. These 'challenges' on Help Me Investigate are just a way of giving an investigation some direction - splitting it up into bitesize chunks for people to work on. I think the idea is that with numerous people working on different parts of an investigation, taking part in the challenges they feel suit their knowledge/skill-set, the whole project becomes more manageable. Help? Josh.

Suzanne
Suzanne

That might not be a bad idea, Steve... we are going to have a coordination chat Sunday 3pm EDT at collegejourn.com, can you make it & give your 2 cents?

Steve Fox
Steve Fox

Great idea! But, I wonder about the tight deadline, especially for us J-profs considering whether to work this project into a class. Is it possible to think of this as a semester-long project, and extend the deadline to early December? thanks, Steve

Suzanne
Suzanne

Not sure. I'm still unclear on how the Help Me Investigate site works. I've poked around on it, so maybe you could help explain - what does "challenges" mean?

Josh Halliday
Josh Halliday

Hey Suzanne, Thorough post, nice work. For the data-driven investigation, is it an idea to set each of the bullets you list as challenges for members to complete? Josh. (@JoshHalliday)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] And if you’re a student i’d reccomend two other projects to get involved with: #CollegeJourn, an ongoing web conversation  that intends “to provide a meaningful and resourceful forum of conversation for college journalists.” Last debate resulted in a reporting assignement open to Journalism students, and with the support of the HelpMeInvestigate platform. You can have the details here. [...]

  2. [...] And if you’re a student i’d reccomend two other projects to get involved with: #CollegeJourn, an ongoing web conversation  that intends “to provide a meaningful and resourceful forum of conversation for college journalists.” Last debate resulted in a reporting assignement open to Journalism students, and with the support of the HelpMeInvestigate platform. You can have the details here. [...]

  3. [...] @suzanneyada, (Suzanne Yada). Runs #collegejourn chat on Twitter, created a semester global project for student journalists focusing on health. San Jose State [...]

  4. [...] Yada wrote a blog post here,urging journalism students to “Take up the assignment. Use this opportunity for one of your [...]

  5. [...] with our new global reporting project. Read Josh Halliday’s writeup here, and my writeup here. Then get [...]

  6. [...] Yada wrote a blog post here,urging journalism students to “Take up the assignment. Use this opportunity for one of your [...]

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