December 2012 Archives

Advancement in education and affordability for college students have become hot topics recently, in political debates as well as individual lives. In an article from the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism, the topic of Florida's failing education levels is tied to a lack of high school education, future economic issues, and skill gaps.

The reporter had to make use of several different public records sources to create a well-informed and in-depth analysis of the Florida education issue. Access to test results was essential for the reporter. High school test results, assessment results, and college placement test results were all used to show the increased number of Florida students who are entering college far less prepared than they need to be. The reporter also needed to search out statistics related to the number of remedial courses in demand in Florida, and how that number has doubled since 2007. Specifically, the reporter used information from the 2011 Florida College System Readiness report.

This article is a part of a series of articles and blogs created by the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism related to the topic of falling levels of college preparation in Florida. This reporter undoubtedly worked in coordination with several other reporters working on other articles about the topic, sharing information, cross-referencing facts and statistics, and locating connections.

All of those reporters have a need of public records and basic computer searching skills. The reporter would have had to know the websites of important government branches dedicated to education funding and regulation, as well as websites with current government actions related to the topic. The reporter would need to know how to read survey and study results, which can sometimes be confusing, and be able to pull out the relevant information.

The reporter even had a companion radio report posted with the article from StateImpact Florida. The radio report included audio clips from actual Florida classrooms and from interviews with teachers and public officials. By including this radio report with the article, the reporter gives a voice to the article, to the photo pictured above the article. It adds a human element to an otherwise number-ridden conversation topic.

Advancement in education and affordability for college students have become hot topics recently, in political debates as well as individual lives. In an article from the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism, the topic of Florida's failing education levels is tied to a lack of high school education, future economic issues, and skill gaps.

The reporter had to make use of several different public records sources to create a well-informed and in-depth analysis of the Florida education issue. Access to test results was essential for the reporter. High school test results, assessment results, and college placement test results were all used to show the increased number of Florida students who are entering college far less prepared than they need to be. The reporter also needed to search out statistics related to the number of remedial courses in demand in Florida, and how that number has doubled since 2007. Specifically, the reporter used information from the 2011 Florida College System Readiness report.

This article is a part of a series of articles and blogs created by the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism related to the topic of falling levels of college preparation in Florida. This reporter undoubtedly worked in coordination with several other reporters working on other articles about the topic, sharing information, cross-referencing facts and statistics, and locating connections.

All of those reporters have a need of public records and basic computer searching skills. The reporter would have had to know the websites of important government branches dedicated to education funding and regulation, as well as websites with current government actions related to the topic. The reporter would need to know how to read survey and study results, which can sometimes be confusing, and be able to pull out the relevant information.

The reporter even had a companion radio report posted with the article from StateImpact Florida. The radio report included audio clips from actual Florida classrooms and from interviews with teachers and public officials. By including this radio report with the article, the reporter gives a voice to the article, to the photo pictured above the article. It adds a human element to an otherwise number-ridden conversation topic.

St. Paul Santas drink a beer to raise some cheer

| No Comments

Santa is having one last night of fun before the holiday rush takes over.

Crowds of St. Paul residents and visitors put on their best holiday costumes Saturday, donating money and toys to the Toys for Tots Foundation and enjoying a beer along the way, reported the Pioneer Press. Last year, the St. Paul Santa Crawl raised roughly $5,000, said event organizer Chuck Terhark.

Similar to the popular Zombie Pub Crawl held in the Twin Cities each October, the St. Paul Santa Crawl involves crowds of pub-goers dressed in costume, only with less gore and more snowy-white beards. The Santa Crawl included 10 bars around the city, which can be found on the event's website.

For pub-goers, a $20 wristband allowed them to get into the 10 pubs and contributed to the event's charity donation, said the website. Another Santa Crawl is expected for next year.

Faribault man charged with bank fraud, stole $432K

| No Comments

A 39-year-old Faribault accountant has been charged with bank fraud and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his Minnesota employer.

Ronald L. Schaeffer, of Faribault, Minn., was charged Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis with bank fraud totaling $432,504, reported the Star Tribune. Schaeffer allegedly stole the money while working as the sole in-house accountant for the Faribault company Environmental Tillage Systems Inc.(ETS).

According to an FBI press release, Schaeffer wrote 127 fake checks, ranging from $400 to $12,000, to his bank account from the ETS checking account. He then created false entries in the company's finance records to make it appear that the checks had gone to real ETS vendors.

Schaeffer reportedly used the money to build a lake house in Elysian, Minnesota, and to make payments on home equity or auto loans, according to the FBI press release.

Texans wide receiver, Andres Johnson, played Santa for some lucky Houston children on Tuesday.

The football star performed what's become an annual Christmas tradition for him, reported Yahoo! News. Johnson's Foundation, the Andre Johnson Charitable Foundation, funded a shopping spree for 12 lucky children in which they had 80 seconds to fill their carts with as many toys as possible at Toys R Us.

The finale ticket rang over $19,000 for Johnson, reported ABC News. That's roughly $1,600 in gifts for each child and their siblings. "A Barbie Dream House, rap star, a Nerf gun for my brother, a princess thing, a dream light and a horse," said Houston child Makena Fruia.

Later, Johnson continued the holiday spirit by surprising each of the 800 students at the nearby Bastian Elementary School with an early present, reported ABC News. The football player worked with the Houston Police Department's Blue Santa program to provide the gifts.

World's oldest person dies at 116

| No Comments

Besse Cooper, the world's oldest person, died Tuesday in Monroe, Ga. She was 116.

Her son, Sidney Cooper, said his mother "had a long, good life," reported CNN News. "She went very easy." Cooper had recently had a stomach virus, but felt better on Monday. On Tuesday her son said she had her hair set and watched a Christmas video, reported New York Daily News. She died at 2 p.m.

Cooper was born on August 26, 1896 in Tennessee, reported New York Daily News. She moved to Georgia during World War I.

Cooper gained the title of oldest living person in January, 2011, reported CNN News.

The oldest person to have ever lived a french woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. She died in southern France in 1997 at the age of 122.

Royal baby on the way for Great Britian

| No Comments

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is expecting a baby, Saint James Palace officials said this morning.

Prince William, future king of England, and Princess Kate announced to the queen and the public that they are expecting their first child, reported the New York Daily News. The pregnancy joy came just 19 months after the two wed in Westminster Abbey.

The duchess was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital today with hyperemesis gravidarum, an uncommon type of morning sickness that requires extra hydration and nutrients, reported ABC News. The couple agreed to announce their pregnancy after the duchess was admitted.

Palace officials said the duchess is 12 weeks pregnant, reported ABC News.

This royal pregnancy could be one for the record books. If the couple has a girl she will be the first royal daughter eligible to inherit the throne in England's history, reported ABC News. A daughter would bump the duke's younger brother, Harry, to forth in line.

Hugh Hefner, the 86-year-old Playboy millionaire, is engaged to 26-year-old model-singer Crystal Harris.

After getting cold feet during their first engagement, Harris called of the first engagement days before the wedding was scheduled to take place, reported the Examiner. But Harris said she is over that now, in an interview with Fox's Ryan Seacrest.

Their first engagement was planned to be a grand event with over 300 hundred guests, reported the New York Daily News. This time around, the nuptials are small with only family and close friends.

Harris will be Hefner's third wife, reported the Examiner. The wedding is scheduled for New Year's Eve.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2012 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.