Data Story Assignment: MLB Home Run Totals

When it comes to baseball, most fans are amazed by the long ball.  From the mid 1900’s to the early 2000’s, Major League Baseball was in what is known as the “steroid era.” During this time period, home run totals were at an all-time high thanks to the likes of Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and others.  After the league began to enforce drug tests, they saw the total number of homers gradually drop.  Since 2014, baseball has seen its biggest home run surge since the steroid era; the 2014 season compiled a mere 4,186 home runs while 2016 saw a total of 5,610!  2016 nearly mirrors 2000 (the heart of the steroid era) as there were 5,693 homers that year.  As the number of home runs has jumped immensely from 2014 to 2016, the number of strikeouts has also gone up; this is expected if more power hitters are entering the league.  Baseball’s recent jaw-dropping numbers does raise a number of questions – Are steroids making a comeback?  Should the league enforce new and improved drug tests?  Baseball has recently implemented a new rule concerning steroids – if a player tests positive, they will be suspended a certain number of games, but also banned from any postseason play if their team reaches that point.  The amount of home runs and the amount of players caught using steroids today are things completely worth keeping an eye on, but in the meantime, lets enjoy the entertainment.

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Data Story Critique

ABC News posted an article at the mark of Trump’s 100th day in office.  The article uses data in a way to reveal how American voters feel about the job our new president has done so far.  It also shows his approval ratings compared to a number of our recent presidents. At the end of the article, Trump’s numbers are compared to those of Obama at his 100th day.

The first graph depicted in the article clearly shows the comparisons between all of our president’s approval ratings at their 100th day mark from Truman to now Trump.  The red bar evidently represents the disapproval ratings while the blue represents the approval ratings.

The overall purpose of the data is to indicate that Americans aren’t necessarily “in love” with what Trump has done thus far, but there isn’t much regret by those who voted him in.  This could also be made obvious by the title of the article, “President Trump at 100 Days: No honeymoon but no regrets (POLL).”

Some of the results of the data given definitely encourages exploration, further research, and things to keep an eye on as his days in office progress.  According to one ABC News/Washington Post poll, more Americans feel that President Trump is more in touch with the people than both the Republican and Democratic parties.  Along with that, the numbers for this statistic show that most American feel the Republican Party (32%) is more in touch with the people than the Democratic Party (28%).

I like the way the article closes as it compares Trump’s ratings to Obama’s.  It is very neatly organized as it shows the numbers between genders, races, ages, party affiliations, Catholics/Protestants, education status, and economy.  Most of the demographics depicted tend to be better in Obama’s favor as there are still many, many Americans who completely oppose Trump’s preisdency.

 

Video Story

Professor Peter Goodman is currently a professor at Hofstra University.  He works within the communications department – particularly in the realm of journalism.  In the past, he worked as a journalist in our very own Long Island newspaper, Newsday.  Now, as a professor he teaches a number of different types of classes; however it seems he enjoys none more than Media Ethics.  He feels this is one of the most important topics for any aspiring journalist to learn about, and he feels it’s tough to find a lot of other schools that offer a course such as this.  Professor Goodman is very fair given the fact he never clearly makes his political opinions known – he does a wonderful job of playing “devil’s advocate” for both ends of the spectrum.  He is easily the type of Professor that quickly earns the respect of his/her students.

Video Story Critique

In a short video by Robin Lindsay and James Gorman of the New York Times titled, ‘Wonders of the Deep,’ there are a number of elements that compile to create a successful short story.

The purpose of the video is to show many of the beautiful “alien-like” creatures that reside in the very deep portions of the ocean.  The images and videos were captured by scientists on the research ship, Okeanos Explorer.

First off, the cuts in the video are very effective.  Throughout the video, a number of motion pictures and still pictures are used.  Lindsay and Gorman do a wonderful job of transitioning through both.  They use videos in order to capture how some of these creatures move about their habitat while still pictures are used for basic images.

Not only do they show the creatures, the video also shows the scientists on the research ship at work with the use of a vague audio sound in the background.  They also take a few shots of the computers while the scientists work on them to show some of the graphs and diagrams they look at and observe while at work.

The beginning of the video goes right to odd looking creatures moving at eerily slow paces within the deep, dark ocean.  The soundtrack utilized for this portion of the video is very fitting as it’s got a calming yet eerie feel to it.

Lindsay and Gorman also make good use of the illuminating colors deep in the ocean by capturing shots that show them off well.  All of these colors come from the creatures shown in the video.

At the very end of the video, there are some comments for viewers.  One correcting a mistake a previous video had made, and another displaying the dates and location the researchers explored the deep ocean.

 

Professor Frank Gaughan

Professor Frank Gaughan is currently employed at Hofstra university as a professor for the composition writing courses.  Not only is he a university professor, he is also a writer and an administrator for Hofstra’s English department.  As I continuously observe him in class, I can very easily assume he is extremely passionate about his job and loves to engage with his students to watch them improve their writing skills.  Professor Gaughan always embraces any question a student has no matter what the topic; he will give nothing but his best effort to help educate them on the matter as much as possible.

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Frank Gaughan.  Professor at Hofstra University.

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He always aspired to be involved with writing in any way possible.  He first began as a journalist but soon found out that “wasn’t his core interest.”

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Professor Gaughan realized he loved reading and working on research papers so he became a writer.

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As a follow-up, he, “for a long time wanted to be a University professor,”and ended up finding a home here at Hofstra.

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He has come to love the University as it provides members of his department with many benefits including funds for faculty conferences.

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Professor Gaughan also loves engaging with students.  Not in the form of student/teacher relationship, but also to find out what their personal interests are.

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He wants to see his department expand.  “In the last five years when I’ve been chair, we’ve developed a minor and we’re in the process of developing a major.”

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“To be able to contribute to the development of college level curriculum is exciting.”

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There are many aspects Professor Gaughan loves within his career, but none more than providing aid to his students or his University.

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Professor Frank Gaughan is a very passionate, hard-working man who loves to consistently help his students evolve.

 

Photo Series Critique Assignment

Perry Chiaramonte of Fox News wrote an article about a recent ISIS attack on Christians in Egypt.  Throughout his article he uses five images to help tell the story a little more effectively.

He begins his article with a photo of what is supposed to be a family resting within a Church in Cairo, Egypt.  I feel that using this photo is an effective way to begin the story because it depicts Christians seeking refuge after the horrible attacks they were recently witnessing.

Chiaramonte then went on to implement some of his interview with a college student, Monica who has family from Al Arish (The city where the attacks took place).  He begins this portion of the article with a picture of a quote by Monica, “I was born in Al Arish.  It is my home.  I hope that they [ISIS] do not take over the city.”  This is a smooth  segue into this portion because that’s a powerful, hard-hitting quote that allows readers to understand some of the feelings the Christians of Al Arish are feeling.

The next photo used in the article is, in my opinion, the most effective one.  It depicts a number of Christians packing luggage as they try and flee from Al Arish.  The caption of the photo says it all, “…were unable to bring many of their belongings with them.”  Readers of this article begin to grow some emotion as they can actually visualize the Christians packing bags into vehicles to try and get away from the city.

A little further down into the article, Chiaramonte adds a photo of Christians unloading their luggages from vehicles as they arrive at a Church in Ismailia, Egypt for refuge; this is simply a continuation of the previous photo.

Surrounding the two previous photos talked about are words by Chiaramonte describing how, for a few years now, ISIS has been making a significant number of attacks on Christians within this area of Egypt.  He also talks about how ISIS released a video calling on other jihadists to kill Christians from Al Arish because they are their “favorite prey.”

The final picture used in the article was an image showing which parts of the world suffer from a significant amount of Christian persecution.  This is a great image to use towards the end of the piece because it shows that this isn’t only happening in Egypt – it’s happening in many other places.

Overall, I feel the images Chiaramonte used were effective in his storytelling.  I was surprised that he didn’t implement a graphic image of an actual dead body because in today’s society, more and more journalists are beginning to feel more comfortable using such images.