Assignment and Readings for Session 3, JOUR 772 & 472


The assignment:  There are three sets of readings for this assignment:  They include some material from the textbook and two computer-assisted reporting projects.  After you have done the readings, write three paragraphs to turn in – one for each of the three sets of readings – on some insight you gained or something you found noteworthy in each of these three sets of readings.  This should not be a summary of the readings – you can’t do that in a paragraph – but rather something you found interesting.  We will talk about these three readings in class.  As you read them, pay particular attention to whether the themes mentioned in The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook (5th ed.) are reflected in the two computer-assisted projects.  Also, think about how those stories are structured and what is similar or different about them.


The first set of readings is a group of chapters from your textbook. Write a single paragraph after reading the chapters (not a paragraph about each chapter). The assignment does not include doing the “Check It Out” exercises at the end of each chapter). You can access this book as follows:

·        The book can be purchased at the University of Maryland Book Center and the Maryland Book Exchange.  New and used copies can be purchased from online booksellers.  Make sure you get the fifth edition.

·        A copy is on two-hour reserve at McKeldin Library for students in this course. You will need to go to the course reserves desk, just past the circulation desk on the first floor of the library, and ask for the book.  You will need the call number:  XPB5229.B1.  This will not be found in McKeldin’s online catalog, so if you run into someone on the library desk who can’t find it in the computer, tell them to look on the course reserves shelf.

·        If the copy in the library is unavailable, I have a copy I can lend for a few hours at a time.


If you have purchased the textbook, bring it to the next class.


The other two sets of readings are on the Web, with links provided below.  You should print them out and bring them to the class for our discussion.



Readings, part 1:

Selections from The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook, 5th Edition


Ø      Preface

Ø      Chapter 1:  The Investigative Process

Ø      Chapter 2:  Secondary Sources

Ø      Chapter 3:  Primary Documents

Ø      Chapter 4:  Computer-Assisted Reporting

Ø      Chapter 5:  People Trails


Readings, part 2:  School bus drivers


Ø      Link to reading on class Web site: “R.I. system fails to fully check driving records of bus applicants; Traffic violators, some felons certified to drive school buses,” By Maria Miro Johnson And Elliot G. Jaspin, with computer analysis by Susan Fedorzyn-Edgar, The Providence Sunday Journal, May 11, 1986.


Readings, part 3:  Phantom voters


Ø      Link to reading on class Web site: “Dead or Alive:  City’s Ineligible Voters Number In Thousnads,” Tim Novak and George Landau, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 9, 1990.


Ø      Link to reading on class Web site:  Ghostbusting on East St. Louis,” George Landau, Uplink, Vol. 1, October 1990 [a newsletter of the Missouri Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, which later became the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting]


Ø      Link to reading on the class Web site:  “Voter Fraud,” description of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch project, in Selected Computer-Assisted Reporting Stories from the IRE Morgue.