Month: August 2017

Non-profit group Muckrock wants to help student journalists with public records requests

MuckRock is an organization that makes it easy to file and keep track of public recordsScreen Shot 2017-08-31 at 2.43.46 PM requests. It is offering a few student newspapers small grants and free Muckrock accounts to carry out investigations built on public records

Check it out. 

And tell them The Center for Campus Investigations sent you!

Summer To Do List #4

It’s the beginning of the term. It’s time to find an idea for an investigative story.

Here’s some tips for doing that:

  1. Begin with a small idea. Barbara Ehrenreich’s bestselling book Nickel and Dimed, which explored the world of minimum wage work, began with a high-priced lunch and the notion that it must be tough to live on minimum wage.
  2. Pay attention to gossip. Don’t accept problems as a fact of life or old news. If a problem exists, there oughta be a solution to it, and that means a good story.
  3. Follow up on tips. You don’t know how many times people tell reporters: “You should do a story on…” It happens so often that many reporters tune off as soon as they hear those words. Instead, tune in. don't listen
  4. Keep your eyes and ears open. When you see anything out of whack or that
    seems wrong, consider that the starting point to an investigation.
  5. Scan news briefs. Often briefs tell you that something happened but they don’t explain the why or how. When you look into why or how a problem occurred or is occurring you are investigating the problem.
  6. Replicate an investigation done elsewhere. You can find great examples at the Extra!Extra! section of Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc.

Assess your school’s admissions process

For accessibility to prospective students who might have disabilities protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act.  For students already enrolled, the ADTOPAZ PHD portable video magnifier showing a prescription insert sheet.A requires all kinds of accommodations. Many schools, like mine, offer workshops to instructors and issue all kinds of mandates about how documents should be structured and what kinds of material cannot be used in a class because some students might not be able to access them.

But can these prospective students even get in?

You might want to go through the process a prospective student might. Are all the forms presented in a way a screen reader would view them. If you don’t know how to do this, go to the student disability resource center on campus and ask if someone there could walk you through the process. If a form or a document is a pdf (an application form maybe or the course catalog) and is in a form a screen reader could read, you should be able to highlight and copy text from the document. If you can’t it is inaccessible and the school may be in violation of the ADA.