Our advanced journalism class recently contributed to get a story about the Tea Party out before elections. We started out by reading an article from the New Yorker, titled “Covert Operations,” which gave us a lot of information about what is actually going on in the Tea Party campaign, as far as the campaign being sponsored by major corporations such as Koch Industries.
After reading that article everyone in the class was assigned a different section about the Tea Party to research. Once our research was done we all put our research together and decided who was going to write each part of the story.
The part of the story I was in charge of was the main bar. This required me help design a survey, give it out to CSS students and staff, and compile the results.
Designing the survey was a rather daunting task that eventually took an entire class to come up with. We wanted to make sure we were getting the most accurate information possible. We didn’t want to make mistakes that would skew our results, but we wanted it to be an appropriate length so that people would still want to take it.
After the survey was designed we set up a table in the student union asking people to stop and take the survey. We also distributed the survey to whichever classes would allow us to hand them out. We spent about a week distributing our survey.
It was then my job to aggregate all of these surveys and gather the results. This was an enormous task. Luckily my fellow classmates helped compile the results. We tried to get as close to 300 surveys as we could. In the end we gathered 243 surveys. It took around two days to get the results of the surveys.
Once I had gathered all of the information, writing my story was simply a matter of communicating the results. I had done some basic research of what the Tea Party is and found other surveys to compare our survey to. Although I was under a tight deadline because we had to have the story out by the Nov. 2, 2010, elections, I enjoyed putting together the research I had done and aggregating the survey data into a cohesive story.
At this time I would like to thank, on behalf of our entire class, the teachers who allowed us to distribute the survey to their classes: A special thanks to Jen Reierson, Nathan Carroll, Hugo Hietapelto, Ed Smith and Jill Dupont for helping us distribute the surveys, without which we could not have completed this project.