Ben Myers Individual Portfolio

Ben Myers Individual Portfolio

Organisation: The Chronicle of Higher Education (United States)

Publication Date: 04/08/2016


Size of team/newsroom:large


I am a data developer for The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Chronicle of Philanthropy where I find, examine and interpret data that interests our readers (academics and nonprofit workers) and the wider public, and then create elegant treatments so that they can quickly get the gist of what the numbers say. Among the highlights of my work and projects this year are: • Minimum-Wage Work Alone Won’t Get You Through College This is a tool that shows how many years of minimum wage work it would take to afford a year of college in each state. It is retrospective, showing each year from 1998 forward. • Where Are the Minority Professors? An examination of the demographics of more than 400,000 professors at 1,500 colleges shows where those of each rank, gender, race/ethnicity, and tenure status, can be found in a clean, easily sortable interactive. • Chronicle Data This is a massive database of higher education salary information for thousands of colleges’ faculty (full-time and adjunct) and staff, sortable by state and type of college or university. It makes it easy to compare different institutions to state averages, and look at the difference in pay between men and women. • The Flagship Diversity Divide Given the year’s climate of student protests, I set out to answer the question: “How diverse are colleges, really?” I created a Diversity Index, which represents the probability that any two people chosen at random from a sample will be of different races or ethnicities, to first portray the diversity gap between students and faculty in each state’s top university, and then draw other conclusions. • Online Giving Trends The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Online Giving Database, which uses information from the nonprofit Network for Good, is a critical dashboard for nonprofit workers as they determine how to direct their fundraising efforts. Its charts are sortable by region, date and time and simply shed light into where donors are giving most. • What It Takes to Make the Class By following the University of Evansville’s efforts to land a freshman class, I and fellow reporter Beckie Supiano detailed the college’s pricey process of trimming 150,000 potential recruits down to the 532 students who ended up enrolling.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

I ask questions that our higher education and nonprofit readers care about, find the data, and then translate it into narratives that expose truths. The interactives are easy to understand and are especially helpful to the busy individuals who make up most of our audience.

Technologies used for this project:

For data work, I rely on Excel and MySQL. On the development side, I am using Python plus standard web technologies — HTML, CSS, JavaScript — including JavaScript libraries like AngularJS.
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