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.