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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Media Bloggers Association Offers Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR) Boot Camp at BlogNashville

Media Bloggers Association members planning on attending BlogNashville May 7 will also have an opportunity to obtain Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR) skills to enhance their ability to get beyond political spin on public policy issues, whether it comes from politicians, MSM journalists, 501(C)(4) advocacy groups, think tanks or academic experts.

The two-day Database 101/201 CARR Boot Camp will convene May 5 at the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. The boot camp is co-hosted by The Heritage Foundation's Center for Media and Public Policy headed by MBA member Mark Tapscott and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Attendance is limited to 15 students.

Heritage is a generally conservative think tank and the CBPP is generally liberal. The Database 101/201 CARR Boot Camps are normally held at the Bloomberg Training Center of the National Press Club's Erik Friedheim Library in Washington, D.C.

Tapscott started the Heritage CARR boot camp program in 1999 after spending more than 15 years in various daily newspaper newsrooms as a reporter and editor. More than 250 editors, producers, reporters and researchers from virtually every major media organization in the country have attended a Heritage CARR Boot Camp since the program's inception.

The National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Fellows program includes a one-day version of the CARR boot camp and Tapscott has led CARR seminars for other media organizations such as Media General, the National Journalism Center and BNA.

The BlogNashville event is the first CARR Boot Camp to be jointly hosted and instructed by Heritage and CBPP. A second MBA CARR Boot Camp will be held in the late summer or early fall at the National Press Club at a date to be announced.

The CARR Boot Camp provides basic training in using Microsoft Excel to analyse public policy databases in search of news that would otherwise go unreported, as well as in finding and using data on the Internet and introductory descriptive statistical analyses such as surveys and sampling error, correlation and regression. You can view the typical two-day boot camp agenda here.

MBA's BlogNashville is being hosted by the New Century Journalism School at Belmont University, which located a mile from the Freedom Forum at Vanderbilt. For more information, see the MBA web site.