I’m speaking to Professor Nick Daniloff’s Journalism Ethics and Issues class at Northeastern University tomorrow. Since the topic may be of general interest, I thought I’d post the slides in advance.
The Boston Globe checks in with Forbes to find out how the magazine’s annual rankings could penalize Northeastern University for having a low four-year graduation rate given that it is a five-year school. And a magazine editor actually defends the methodology, saying, well, gee, we’ve got to base our rankings on something.
We also learn that 27.5 percent of the rankings are based on student satisfaction, “determined primarily by feedback on RateMyProfessors.com.” Wow. Without getting into the pros and cons of RateMyProfessors, let me just observe that the sample size for most instructors is so low that the data are entirely anecdotal.
I really should be working, but I can’t let this pass. Forbes has posted its rankings of colleges and universities, and Northeastern comes in at a very low 534th.
Dig a little deeper, as one of my former students, @rachelsarahsays, did, and you’ll see that one of the reasons for the poor ranking is Northeastern’s four-year graduation rate — zero percent.
Uh, Northeastern is a five-year school. Good work, Forbes! Or, as @rachelsarahsays puts it, “such horrific journalism.” Indeed.
Congratulations and best wishes to Laura Crimaldi, who left the Boston Herald this week and will soon start a one-year temporary job at the Associated Press’ bureau in Providence, where she’ll focus on law enforcement and the legal system.
I’ve gotten to know Laura through her work with the New England First Amendment Center at Northeastern University, for whom I occasionally contribute blog items. Laura is a director of the center, and has done a great job of re-energizing the blog.
Laura’s married to longtime Herald photographer Mark Garfinkel, who worked with Mrs. Media Nation at the Beverly Times back in the day. (The Times was later subsumed into the Salem News.) I don’t know if it’s a small world, but Greater Boston is definitely a small town.
Please have a look at my students’ Google map project in my Reinventing the News class. Every semester, this is always one of my favorites: students fan out into the neighborhhoods around Northeastern to take pictures, write blog posts and plot them on a map. This time, they chose to review cheap-eats places in and around the Back Bay.
The project is currently near the top of Boston.com’s Your Town/Back Bay site (Northeastern has a partnership with the Boston Globe to provide content to Your Town). I think the students did a great job. They took it seriously, they had fun and they learned something about how free, easy-to-use online tools such as mapping can enhance journalism.
Update: It’s featured prominently on the Your Town/Roxbury site as well.
Tomorrow I’ll be giving a talk to Northeastern alumni at the Burlington campus as part of the NU@Noon series. My topic will be “Social Media: The Connective Tissue Between News Outlets and Their Communities.” I’ve prepared some slides and plan to riff on them a bit before turning it over to questions. If you’d like a sneak preview, here you go.