The War On Happy Holidays

Feeling like writing something topical and funny, I thought I’d take on the War on Christmas by comparing newspaper references involving Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas during the first week of December. I went back almost 40 years, until I got bored with the scarcity of results (that far back you only find New York Times references while using the “Major U.S. Newspapers” search on LexisNexis.

Here’s the link to the Tableau version of the data I put together:

My Tableau chart based on holiday mentions in U.S. newspapers

I’m not entirely sure how I plan to use what I’ve got, but my general plan is to put together a Redshtick article where I discuss the War on Christmas and the collateral damage it has inflicted on innocent Kwanzaa. We’ll see how that goes. Enjoy!


Messing with the Numbers

For my journalism class final project, I have to research and write an article about a subject of my choosing.

I went with the refurbishment/rebuilding of Baton Rouge Magnet High School. I’ve gotten my first interview under my belt, and am working on lining up my secondary interviews (students, teachers, and former students) so that I’ve got more quotes & info to draw on.

I’ve already finished up one piece I’m excited about: A table which pulls performance ratings for every school in the state of Louisiana from 2007 through 2011, and allows you to select which of that data is displayed. It defaults to a short list of high-performing high schools that includes Baton Rouge Magnet High School in its list.

Numbers are fun to me, and these numbers allow anyone who wants to do so to compare figures for any school in the state, once they mess around a bit. It means I don’t have to talk about these numbers much in the body text of my article, and that I’m not leaving anything out in case a reader has a question I never thought of.
Now, if I can just get my interview subjects to kick in some great quotes or background, I’ll be all set. Oh, and I still have to go wander around the BRHS campus and take some photos… But that can probably wait.

Wouldn’t mind figuring out how to make the tableau table scaleable so it will fit in the WordPress post, but I haven’t quite managed that yet. When I’ve tried to use its embed code it is too wide to look at, and the controls don’t work, either.