U-High Midway journalists participate in citywide civic data project
U-High Midway Managing Editor Audrey Park and Assistant Editor Clare McRoberts recently participated in a civic data journalism project organized by Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and The Scholastic Press Association of Chicago from November–January. Park and McRoberts joined Medill professors along with other student journalists from twelve Chicago high schools to plan a citywide survey about issues in the mayoral election.
“We knew the program was related to the mayoral elections, but I was unaware of how large scale the survey would be,” Park, a junior, says.
Their editor-in-chief assigned the project over Thanksgiving break. Their first workshop was on November 30 and questions “about school and neighborhood safety, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and mental health issues, among others” were developed.
The survey, which falls under Medill’s Teach for Chicago Journalism program, was distributed through Schoology and QR codes in December at U-High, and the other high schools. The survey received 1,288 responses—1,042 from public schools and 246 from independent schools. The data was analyzed and revealed that students' greatest concerns were among mental health and safety.
Park and McRoberts, a sophomore, coordinated with other Midway editors to plan the coverage of the results and five stories were published, according to Logan Aimone, Journalism teacher and U-High Midway advisor.
“It's the kind of collaborative project that students here are well prepared for, with strong communication skills and ability to think deeply about issues in the community,” Aimone says. “Audrey and Clare represented Lab well, and I think the journalism produced is really terrific. And the collaborative experience was also rewarding and enriching.”
“The program served as an opportunity to connect with the larger Chicago student community,” Park says. “It was interesting actually to analyze and draw larger conclusions from the data. I found that some issues do not concern other Lab students (indicative of the survey) and me, which reflects our privilege.”