Police and Deadly Force: Finding Stories in the Data
The program application period is now closed. All applicants will learn of their status the week of Aug. 21. Thank you.
A McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute
The Poynter Institute is offering this free focused training for journalists who want to learn how to cover police shootings and deadly force.
In this seminar, you will:
- Explore the data involving police and fatal shootings. You’ll hear from a researcher and a journalist with the Stanford University project that is examining 100 million traffic stops across the nation: the “Stanford Open Policing Project.” Then, we will show you how to make the most of this massive database to find stories that fit your audiences. Our hands-on session is aimed at journalists who have little to no experience in working with large data collections. We will give you thumb drives loaded with the data for you to import to your laptop, then we will spend a few hours exploring the data together.
- Hear from WBEZ reporter Chip Mitchell about what experts call “The Laquan Effect.” It is the result of police who say they intentionally are not conducting “preventative” police stops for fear of being labeled a racist, while violent crime rises.
- Listen to an ACLU attorney who is on the team monitoring Chicago policing. Attorney Karen Sheley says that criminologists have found no relationship between street stops and crime rates. She points out that in New York, when the number of stops dropped, so did crime. Studies of stop and frisk in Chicago indicate that the stops were low value and generated based on pressure to make large numbers of stops, rather than have high quality interactions with community members.
- Brian Collister, an investigative reporter from KXAN-TV in San Antonio will explain how he discovered that state police were stopping Hispanic drivers but repeatedly claimed in their reports that the drivers were white. Collister’s reporting changed the way Texas tracks traffic stops.
This workshop is a follow-up to a 2016 workshop that we also conducted in Chicago. Some of the participants will be graduates of the 2016 workshop and we will ask them to share how they have reported this ongoing national story since our last meeting.
Who Will Benefit:
This seminar is open to working journalists from any market size or media platform in the United States, with a rich mix of applications from various media, market size and experience.
LOCATION AND TIME: The program starts Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 p.m. and ends Thursday, September 7 at 2 p.m.
The workshop will be held at WBBM-TV in downtown Chicago. Further logistical details will be sent to those selected to attend.
Thanks to a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, tuition, basic travel expenses and hotel costs will be covered for those whose applications are accepted.
The available seating for this seminar is limited. Poynter, through a grant from the McCormick Foundation, will pay tuition, hotel, transportation and some meals for the participants. We especially encourage Illinois and Chicago-area journalists to attend. We welcome college journalism educators who intend to make practical use of this teaching.
Please commit to attending the entire seminar, participating and taking your knowledge back to your newsroom, using it in your reporting and teaching others what you learn.
The SRIs fill quickly, so don’t miss this opportunity! Without a doubt, we will have many more applicants than we will have seats, so we will choose a diverse range of media, market size and geographic location. Freelancers are welcome if their work regularly appears in media reporting. We would welcome one or two university faculty who are interested in applying this learning in the classroom. We also welcome Chicago based media and have set aside a number of seats for them since they will not require us to fund their travel or hotel rooms.
More about the Stanford Open Policing Project
For the first time, researchers at Stanford University examined the records from more than 60 million state patrol stops from 20 states between 2011 and 2015. The Stanford study found that police stopped black drivers more often than white drivers relative to their share of the driving-age population, but that Hispanic drivers were stopped less often than whites. The study discovered that among stopped drivers, blacks and Hispanics were more likely to be issued a citation, more likely to be searched and more likely to be arrested than white drivers. The researchers note that these disparities may stem from a variety of factors and are not necessarily due to racial bias. However, by examining both the rate at which drivers are searched and the likelihood searches turn up contraband, they find evidence that the bar for searching black and Hispanic drivers is lower than for searching whites.
Questions or need more information? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Faculty, Broadcast and Online
Reporter, WBEZ 91.5 Chicago
Director of Police Practices Project, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois
Investigative Reporter, KXAN TV
Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Professional Journalism, Stanford University