Analysis of a story with large data sets

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In a story for Florida Center for Investigative Reporting , the authors explore how Florida schools are failing to prepare graduates for college and use some convincing data to back it up.

The main discussion of the article is the need for remedial courses for students before they enroll in college. The need for these remedial courses stems from the lacking abilities in math, writing, and reading when students graduate high school.

Most of the data in this story is statistics about students. One piece of data found that over half of Florida high school graduates who took a college placement test in the 2010-2011 school year found out that they had to take a remedial course to gain basic skills before enrolling in college, 54 percent to be exact.

Research also showed that students who take remedial classes are less likely to graduate college than those who arrive ready for college course work.

One of the sources of data for this report was the 2011 Florida College System Readiness report using 2009-2010 data.

Another data source was the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. This research office found that Florida's attempts to improve K-12 education had not improved college readiness.

The computer skills that the reporter of this article might need include understanding statistics and being able to implement into a story so that they make sense with the words.

The reporter might also want to have the ability to find statistics in the event that they are only given raw numbers.

There were no interactive graphics used in this story, which may have helped the reader understand the statistics and information.

Obama family lights tree at the White House

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The Obama family came out for the 90th annual lighting of the National Christmas tree, according to Huffington Post

The ceremony was hosted by TV star Neil Patrick Harris. Other performers included Jason Mraz, James Taylor, and The Fray.

Michelle Obama and actor Rico Rodriguez read from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The tree is located on the ellipse, according to USA Today , a park adjacent to the White House and National Mall.

A retired National Guard soldier will receive a Purple Heart after he was wounded in Iraq six years ago, according to Star Tribune

Sgt. Jesse Lund of New Ulm will receive the award Saturday at the Brooklyn Part Community Activity Center, according to Pioneer Press

Lund, a member of the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery Regiment of New Ulm, was wounded in June 2006 due to cause of a bomb explosion in Iraq.

Lund applied three times for a Purple Heart and was approved on his third try, according to a Minnesota National Guard spokesman.

A 27-year-old man had charges filed against him for suspicion of holding up a hotel in Northfield and shooting at police.

Eric W. Forcier, of Farmington, was charged in federal court along with his ex-girlfriend, Julie Ann Campana, 23, of Apple Valley, according to Star Tribune . The charges included interfering with commerce and use of a firearm during a violent crime, the robbery of the hotel.

Forcier and Campana robbed the hotel of about $100, coins, and three cordless phones, according to the indictment. Campana faces charges for aiding and albeiting in the crime, according to Northfield News

Forcier has been convicted of crimes before, including drug possession and possession of stolen property in 2008.

Wellesley College has jumped on the band wagon of offering MOOCs, massive open online courses, through the nonprofit edX, according to The Washington Post.

The nonprofit, which offers free online higher education, was launched in May by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wellesley is the first liberal arts college to join its rankings.

Wellesley will begin offering courses on edX in fall 2013. Most likely the courses will cover liberal arts education topics.

Anant Agarwal, president of edX, is hoping preserve the small-group setting of liberal arts courses by breaking students into small discussion groups, according to The Boston Globe

Kim Bottomly, Wellesley College's president, is very excited at the prospect of being able to offer courses to women in different countries where education for women is sparse.

"The idea that we can reach beyond our campus to women everywhere is very compelling," Bottomly told The Boston Globe.

Many universities, including Wellesley, are completely sure what the future has to hold for the growth of free online education.

"Education will never be the same again," said Agarwal. "Few of us have any idea where things may go."

Syrian conflict invades space of Turkey and Lebanon

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Turkey scrambled its military jets Monday after Syrian planes bombed rebels fighting near the border of Turkey and Syria, according to The Washington Post

The unexpected violence left Turkish civilians panicked and fleeing across the border. At least one person was killed, and 20 more were wounded, according to Associated Press

NATO will be meeting Tuesday to discuss whether Syria or Turkey will receive Patriot missile systems.

Lebanon also experienced a spilling over of the conflict in their area when Lebanese troops exchanged fire with rebels across the border on Sunday.

Some are fearful that if the violence continues to cross borders, a regional war larger than just Syria could be in effect.

Analysis of a news report based on a speech

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In a report in The Washington Post , the author reported on a speech given by Grover Norquist, an anti-tax lobbyist.

The author writes about what Norquist said and includes the most important quotes that would best explain what Norquist was trying to say.

The article doesn't really go deeper into what Norquist was saying and what the significance of it is, it only highlights his opinions of the "fiscal cliff".

In another report about a speech in Fox News , the author uses a similar format but goes more into depth about what the speech giver, Ted Cruz, had to say by using more quotes.

I think using quotes is extremely important when reporting on a speech because we want to give the reader the experience of having actually heard what the person had to say rather than how the journalist paraphrased what the person said.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has fallen under the attack of Republican politicians for her recent statements on talk shows.

The controversy surronds public statements made by Rice after a Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

Rice has stressed that her original comments about the attack being a protest triggered by an anti-Muslim video were incorrect, according to the Los Angeles Times

Rice has been accuse by Republicans for using these misleading statements to help the president stay in good favor during the event of the attack.

According to the Associated Press, some of Rice's talking points may have been started by the intelligence community and only repeated by her.

Minneapolis Public Schools will sell headquarters

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The headquarters of Minneapolis Public Schools for the past 82 years is up for sale, according to the Star Tribune

The space, which is technically a used light bulb factory, could be used for offices, businesses, or even residences. The city is discussing with the neighborhood what the best use of the space would be.

Just a few weeks ago, the Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters was denied a proposed rezoning of a city block they own at a City Planning Commission meeting, according to Twin Cities Daily Planet

Whether this denial played a role in the headquarters being sold is unclear.

The city will accept purchase offers for the 807 broadway area through Feb. 22.

Metro Transit's 3 billionth passenger wins contest

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Nadine Babu, 34, of St. Louis Park won a card for a year of free bus rides when her essay won a contest Metro Transit put on to celebrate it's 3 billion ridership reached this week.

Babu, who has been taking Metro Transit buses since 1996, told Star Tribune she loves the camaraderie she encounters on the bus as well as not having to pay for parking.

A story about Babu's Green Bay Packers jersey being worn on a bus full of purple on a Vikings-Bears game day charmed the judges, a group of transit employees, of the contest, according to HometownSource

Babu was named Woman of the Year by the Minnesota Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and had her face on advertisements for the society placed on the sides of Metro Transit buses.

It was a funny coincidence that she won the 3 billionth passenger contest as well.

Metro Transit broke the 1 billion ridership mark in 1984, and the 2 billion mark in 1999.