Week 4: Day 1 – Video Story Critiques

Let’s take the first 60 minutes or so of class to watch your Video Story projects. Consider the following when offering your classmates feedback:

  • Narrative (Character, Plot, Arc, etc.)
  • Videography (Composition, Shot Types, Angles, etc.)
  • Audio – (Pace, Levels, etc.)

Week 4: Day 1 – Enterprise Story I Assignment

All students must produce a multimedia story that either profiles a person, community, business or organization, or focuses on a community issue or solution to a community issue. The final project must include:

  • A headline, dek and lede
  • 750+ words, plus two of the following components:
    • 3+ photos
    • 90 seconds of audio (one 90-sec. clip, two 45-sec. clips, or three 30-sec. clips)
    • 90 seconds of video (one 90-sec. clip, two 45-sec. clips, or three 30-sec. clips)
    • Data visualization

To submit your project, post your story to the Five Blocks website before class on 6/13.

Week 4: Day 1 – Finding Data

Not sure where to start looking for your data? Try some of the following databases:

Finding Data

Open Data Philly
City of Philadelphia
City of Philadelphia Data Inventory
Philadelphia Police Crime Mapper

PA Commonwealth Enterprise Portal
PA Campaign Finance Reports
PA Uniform Crime Reporting

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Federal Election Commission (FEC)
FBI Uniform Crime Reporting
IRS Data Book
National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD)
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting (NICAR)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program
US Census

The World Bank
United Nations (UN)
World Health Organization (WHO)

Week 4: Day 1 – Requesting Public Records

If the information/data you’re looking for isn’t available and the agency you’ve requested it from is refusing to give it to you/stalling in handing it over, you can submit either a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request or RTKL (Right-to-Know-Law) request, depending on the agency you’re requesting the information from.

FOIA Request

You can make a FOIA request when looking for information from any federal agency unless the information is protected under any of these nine exemptions.

Before making a request, you’ll first want to check if the information you’re requesting is already available via that agency’s website. If not, you can click here and follow the instructions for filing a FOIA request.

This page on the FOIA website provides you with the contact information for each  FOIA representative for each agency. The time it takes for each agency to respond to your request depends on the complexity of the information requested.

RTKL/Open Records Request

You can make a RTKL (Right-to-Know-Law)/Open Records Request when looking for any information from state or local agencies in Pennsylvania. To make a request, visit the Office of Open Records website for more information. A list of open records officers can be found here.

Week 4: Day 1 – Capturing Data


Sometimes you’ll find a PDF with tables you need to convert to a CSV or XLS file. Tabula is a free application that allows you to capture tables from a PDF file.

Click here to download a sample file and see how Tabula works.

Table Capture

Table Capture is a Chrome extension that assists you in capturing HTML tables and retaining their formatting. This will save you a ton of time if you frequently need data from a source that doesn’t provide a downloadable link to a CSV or XLS file. If you don’t have Chrome, here is a similar plugin for Firefox.

Click here for a sample web page to see how Table Capture works.

If This, Then That

If This, Then That is a free, web-based application that automates tasks connected to…basically everything. Users can create applets, which are just conditions (hence the name being a programming reference), to receive an email every time @POTUS tweets, or automatically download and store every single photo Kim Kardashian posts to Instagram in a Google Drive database.