A Closer Look at Data Collected by CUNY’s Black Media Initiative

Click on a region or state to see the Black media outlets located there. To return, press the black arrow.

A database of media outlets targeted towards Black audiences in the United States was created by the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, which when examined closely offers many insights into where these outlets are located, what type of media they produce, and who owns them. Due to our nation’s history, it might be of no surprise to readers that more Black media in the United States is located in the South than any other region. …

After downloading data for the two most recent school years available (2015 and 2017) on discipline of students with disabilities from elementary schools in my home school district, Seattle Public Schools, I came up with a list of questions I wanted to ask of the data. Some of these questions were: Were there more instances in 2015 or 2017? Which types of discipline were most common? Did some elementary schools discipline disabled students more often than others? I came up with the following (rather basic) charts:

If I’d had more time on this one, I would’ve cut out more…

Here’s the weather for the last week in my area, using conditional formatting. As you can see, it was hottest Thursday afternoon and coldest on Sunday.

Moving on to Datawrapper. For my first chart, the metric I chose was access to advanced education. I looked at the three countries my parents are from, just for kicks.

Getting suspended at my high school wasn’t a big deal for wealthy and middle class white students like myself. In fact, more often than not one would be able to get the suspension wiped from their record if they completed community service or drug counseling. For students whose parents didn’t have time to argue with the school administration because they were working multiple jobs, or Black and Latinx students who were referred to the police department when they made mistakes rather than given alternative options, a suspension would follow them into adulthood as they decided their post-secondary path.

2,557,072 American…

First, continuing with the midterm. Whereas last time I looked at the number of students of each race who were suspended each year for three years, this time I decided to focus on only one year and examine how the number of suspended students of each race compares to the total population of that race within our public school system. Unsurprisingly, Black students are disproportionately suspended.

In the United States, Black public school students are more likely to have received one or more out-of-school suspensions than their peers of any race. In fact, Black students are suspended at over…

The United States Department of Education serves more than 50 million students. Every year, a large number of students are given one or more out of school suspension as punishment for a wide variety of infractions. When comparing suspension data from the three most recent school years available, it becomes clear that Black students are suspended more often than students of any other race. During the 2015–16 school year, more than one million Black students were suspended nationwide. Standing alone, these statistics are shocking and disappointing. Moving forward, I want to adjust these raw numbers for the general school population and see how much more drastic the difference becomes. For example, 44.7% of suspended students during the 2011–12 year were Black, but Black students only accounted for between 15 and 17 percent of the total public school population.

Something I took away from the Data Journalism Handbook was the advice to question how a data’s source may affect its credibility. The example used by the author was that surveys performed by police often report higher levels of crime than similar surveys performed by sociologists. Whenever possible, obtain data through an objective third party and not the person/corporation/ evil mastermind you’re working on a story about.

While I learned a lot of helpful tips from Cleaner, Smarter Spreadsheets, the thing I’m going to remember most is to stop using post-its and develop a system to keep all relevant definitions…

Claire Boudour

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