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Using Data for Better Sports Journalism

About This Course

Money and power combine to make investigative journalism about sports incredibly challenging. Owners and leagues keep a very tight hold on information about their teams' finances, performance and controversies. But there are ways around the secrecy that lead to accountability.

This Webinar shows what data is available and where to find it. You'll get tips on how to use data, see some great examples from other reporters, and get empowered to find the documents and data you need to investigate your story.

Using data smartly in sports stories can only make you a better sports reporter and a better reporter in general. But you have to know where to start looking for data, what's out there, how to get it, and what to do with it once it's yours.


What Will I Learn:

We'll cover several ways to infiltrate the "Sports-Industrial Complex":

Crime: Suspect misconduct? How to look up courts and police data for players and coaches
Spending/finances: How does athletics spending at your college compare with others in the state/conference? Are your sports teams profitable?
Salaries: Compensation is a lot more than salary. How to look up perks, bonuses, loans and other benefits for coaches, athletic directors and more.
Public support/taxation: Did your state or city give out breaks to build a stadium -- and has anyone on the team made campaign or other contributions?
Building your own database: Got records not on this list? We'll talk about how reporters created their own databases of injuries, arrests, even food inspections.

Who Should Take this Course:

Anyone who wants to dig deeper into sports documents and data. Anyone who covers a local university and wants to know more about the intersection of athletics and the rest of the school would also benefit.

Course Instructors:

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Jodi Upton

Jodi Upton is the Senior Database Editor at USA TODAY, where she leads the database team in analysis on stories on everything from product recalls to economics to Sports contracts. Her team supports breaking stories, longer projects and everything in between, as well as data-driven interactives. She was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University and is a visiting scholar at Indiana University's National Sports Journalism Center. She previously worked at the Detroit News and other Gannett newspapers.

Steve Berkowitz

Steve Berkowitz is a sports projects reporter for USA Today. He has been involved in the development and ongoing work with annual databases of college sports compensation and the finances of schools, conferences and the NCAA. He also has covered many of the ongoing legal challenges to the NCAA, as well as the recent changes in the association's fundamental rules. He has been with USA Today since 2000, and previously worked for The Washington Post.