The purpose of this class was to develop information literacy skills. I learned multiple new research and search engine methods, which I now plan on applying to my work within journalism and strategic communications. One of the biggest skills I gained was researching a topic fully using search engine operators and public records. Through the class's five projects, I researched KU's famous local bar, Jayhawk Cafe, using public records, and the issue of trust in police chiefs nationwide. Below I have highlighted two of the projects I am most proud of — the first on our local Lawrence bar and the second on a local issue dealing with the City of Lawrence's lack of confidence in their police chief. Below is are some examples of what I found through my research, as well as how i presented it.
Here are some of the highlights of what I found through public records and secondary sources about the most popular bar on KU's campus. You can view the results that my searched found by clicking through the slideshows beside the descriptions.
Finding the original source
News articles are often secondary sources. They are a great place to start for research and a good starting point to get to know a topic. However, journalists do their research to write their articles and as such, we should also. This is why it's important to trace back information from a secondary source to its primary. Here, I traced back the shutdown of two bars to their original documents. all from a Lawrence Journal-World article. The slideshow next to this description shows my process and how I ultimately found business entity records showing bar forfeitures. If I were writing about the bars, I would attribute to these records.
Everything that I have searched on this page is public record. At the time of my search on the Hawk, which was around March 1, there was no active liquor license for the bar. Since then, the Hawk does currently have one, but at the time of my search, it did not. This was definitely the most shocking result I had found of all.
Many news articles were released in 2018 regarding the Hawk's poor performance on the Kansas Department of Agriculture's food inspections. I was able to confirm these inspections by looking through the database and found two alarming things—the Hawk was out of compliance with the KDA's food inspections in both 2019 and 2018. Based on some of the information I found, which is displayed to the left, you can see how there can be some sanitary and safety issues with one of Lawrence's most popular bars.
Another project that I did for this class involved researching a local news issue. My issue was the City of Lawrence's lack of confidence in its police chief. Through my research, I decided to make a chronology of news articles in which this event also happened in other places. What I found shocked me. Lawrence's police chief was the city's first African American police chief in history. Almost every other police chief that had a lack of confidence vote taken for them also belonged to a minority or underrepresented population. Now, my hope is to keep up with this and look more into it for a future news article on how ethnic background plays into trust within leadership. Below is a chronology of news articles that I created.
There was lots of data I found throughout my research, but I also understand that readers don't want to sift through different spreadsheets and difficult text to dig out the most important takeaways. Thus, the best way we as journalists can represent it is through data visualization. Below is how I displayed data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics on full-time sworn officers in the U.S.
Full Research briefs
Following my research on these topics, I wrote summaries of everything that I found. These briefs read as a news story, link to my sources and cover the most important information I found through my searches. Click below to read them.
Lack of trust in police chiefs
Before using a source anywhere, it's important to verify the credibility of it. Your source's credibility is also your credibility. Below are some of the credibility evaluations I performed on my sources before determining whether or not I could use the, in my work.
As you can see from the skills above, I am a diligent researcher and thinker. I have full confidence that I will be able to pursue research for news or strategics communications purposes, as evident by the work above.