We’re pretty proud right now of Chris Gluck, who writes about the Portland Timbers for The Columbian in his Possession with Purpose blog.
Last weekend, Gluck was invited to speak at the World Conference on Soccer and Science at the University of Portland about his analysis of soccer, especially his thoughts on possession with purpose, a style of play in which teams focus on retaining possession and penetrating opposing defenses with accurate passing to create and capitalize on scoring opportunities. (To learn more about the conference, you may also want to look at this stream on Twitter.)
That may sound obvious to some folks but Gluck backs up his analysis of the game with meticulous statistics and charts. It’s the kind of thing a baseball nerd would appreciate and soccer nerds dig. And if you’re a soccer newbie or novice, reading his blog is a great way to get up to speed on the game.
Last year, Gluck explained it to us last year in a pregame interview here:]]>
We are really liking the sound of that around here.
The Society of Professional Journalists recently handed us that moniker – “Best Web Design” – etched on a glass plaque along with 28 other awards in an annual five-state competition with 269 entrants. Funny thing is, the “user experience” – if we want to use the correct terminology – on columbian.com isn’t the work of journalists, though many of us have a hand in the content you see on the site and provided input on the new site design.
No, the credit goes to web developers Mike Rogers and Eric Stanley in our Information Technology department.
More than a year ago, we started talking about redesigning columbian.com to give it a fresh, new look, improve the user experience or UX, fix some nagging technical issues and make the site responsive.
“We wanted to give all of our users the same experience regardless of platform,” says Stanley, who grew up and graduated from La Center High.
By platform, Stanley means device or screen size, says Rogers, who grew up in Vancouver and graduated from Woodland High. A responsive website is one that detects your screen size and then the content dynamically rearranges to fit that screen whether it’s a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.
Like many companies, The Columbian has watched the rapid rise of mobile technology in our lives. Just a few years ago, fewer than 10% of our online visitors came to us from a mobile device and only a fraction of those were using an iPad. More phones and tablets entered the market, though, and consumer habits continued to shift. Today, if you include our iPhone and Android apps, nearly half of our online readers view our content using a phone or tablet.
The beauty of the responsive site is that you only need one site that adjusts to the readers’ devices. Until we launched our new site design on Oct. 1, 2013, Mike and Eric had to build things for the site viewed on readers’ computers or tablets, and then build it again on the site viewed by readers using phones.
When asked how it felt to win the award, Mike quips, “It’s about time we were recognized. We’re waiting for our bonus checks.”
Unfortunately, the SPJ award doesn’t come with a check, but it did put a bounce in our step as it validated our efforts to build the best site we can for our readers. It’s still a work-in-progress as we continue to make adjustments, add new features and learn to present information using new technologies. A panel of fellow journalists thinks we’re on the right track.
Now, we’re just going to do our best to live up to that.]]>
Every year as Mother’s Day approaches, the U.S. Census Bureau shares a fact sheet filled with statistics about moms. I’ve pulled out a few highlights but then, where possible, I’ve added local or state numbers.
For starters, according to the 2012 American Community Survey, about 4.1 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 gave birth in a 12-month period. In Clark County, that same data shows there were 6,459 women in that same age group who gave birth in the previous 12 months.
In 2011, a Census report states that unmarried women had about 35.7% of the births in this country. In Washington, that number drops to 27.7% and I was unable to find a percentage for Clark County.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average age of women giving birth for the first time inched up just a bit in 2012, going up to 25.8 years compared to 25.6 in 2011.
There were about 10 million single mothers living with children under 18 in 2013, which is up from 3.4 million in 1970. In Clark County, data from the America Community Survey in 2012 (see right) shows that about 10,674 households had a female householder with her own children under 18 and no husband present. That’s about 6.7 percent of the total 160,145 total households in the county at that time. I couldn’t find the same data point from 1970, but interestingly, according to figures from the 2007 ACS (see below), the percentage of single female householders with own children was slightly higher five years before at 7.3 percent (about 10,990 of the total 150,640 households).
In 2013, there were about 5 million stay-at-home moms in married couple family groups, according to “America’s Families and Living Arrangements” report from 2012. Similar numbers for the county were hard to find, but the 2012 ACS does show that about 31.8 percent of the county’s married households with their own children had a husband at work and a wife not working. What it doesn’t state, though, is how many of those wives are voluntarily staying at home with the kids.
Interestingly, the Pew Research Center’s “Fact Tank” just wrote on the subject of stay-at-home moms, specifically the increasing number of what are being called “opt-out moms.” These women are opting out of the workplace, even though they’re often highly educated and qualified for good-paying jobs. Pew states that about 29 percent of moms stay at home with the kids these days and about 4 percent are “opting out.”
If you do decide to work outside of the home, there’s a report out this week from WalletHub that says Oregon is the best state for working moms. Washington is apparently tied with Oklahoma at 33rd.
Of course, while this is all quite interesting, there’s one number that stands above all else: your mother’s phone number, or perhaps her address if you live close by and can pay a visit instead of making a phone call. While you’re at it, there are apparently 15,307 florists nationwide who can help you out, as well as 12,403 greeting card publishers, 15,097 cosmetics and beauty aid stores and 23,394 jewelry stores.
Happy Mother’s Day.]]>
I found myself shooting a photo of a woman with a ton of cash and a cartoon dog on Tuesday. No really.
The photo went with a business story about credit unions rewarding people who put money into savings accounts. Karen Salado, the woman in the blue shirt, was a local winner who was collecting $5,000 from TwinStar Credit Union by the Westfield Vancouver Mall.
The guy in the dog suit, Bruce Anderholt, is the branch’s financial advisor. He said he’s the only one who fits into the costume. Lucky guy.
You might wonder what a videographer does to keep his sanity while shooting a video of people walking on a trail. Well in the case of last Monday, it happened to be switching my camera to shoot 60 frames per second instead of 24 so I could recut a slow motion video for no reason.
Photographer Zachary Kaufman and I couldn’t help but think of “Reservoir Dogs” while watching a crew of people, including U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Camas Mayor Scott Higgins, walk up the Washougal River Greenway Trail in Camas.
Here is what I came up with:
Personally, I think Higgins made the whole video by adjusting his sunglasses. Oh and as far as the music selection is concerned, “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel was featured in the Tarantino flick. Unfortunately the only version available to legally use for free on YouTube was a cover by Dale Ann Bradley. Oh well.
Oh and here’s the original trailer for “Reservior Dogs” which may or may not contain words or themes that some might find offensive:
OK, pop quiz time.
When do most pedestrian-vehicle collisions occur in Clark County: daylight or darkness?
Do most of those collisions occur on days that are: a) rainy, b) dry or c) cloudy or other?
Where do most of the collisions take place: a) rural roadways often lacking sidewalks, b) residential streets or c) busy arterials with sidewalks, crosswalks and other safety features?
You might be surprised to learn that most of the collisions occur during daylight hours and on dry pavement, and often on busy roads with sidewalks, crosswalks and other safety features like the traffic beacons the city of Vancouver is installing in some parts of the city, according to a story by reporter Emily Gillespie.
We know all of this because we recently combed through nearly 800 records from the Washington State Department of Transportation after the deaths of two women crossing a road in the VanMall neighborhood in January, an incident that closely followed another death of a man struck by a vehicle in October. Combined with other incidents in the past year, we were beginning to wonder, is it more dangerous for people here to cross the roadways?
The answer: Yes and no.
After analyzing data, we found that the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from pedestrian-vehicle collisions is pretty steady.
On the flipside, we also found that 16.7% of the 210 people killed in collisions in Clark County from 2004-2013 were pedestrians. That percentage puts us behind only King and Snohomish counties in this state.
Interestingly, we found something we didn’t expect as we combed through the data: In about two-thirds of the 35 pedestrian fatalities from 2004 to 2013, the pedestrian was doing something that put him or herself in some danger whether it was walking in the road, crossing against the signal or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
To see where the fatal collisions occurred, we created a map, and then to see more than just the fatal incidents we built another map showing all of the pedestrian-vehicle collisions from 2010-2013 (below).
Building these maps proved to be a challenge since each record doesn’t come with precise coordinates for the collision. Instead, each record contains the primary roadway and, if applicable, the block number, milepost and/or distance from a reference point. It also contains the intersecting roadway if there is one. What it didn’t contain was any information about the codes used for county roadways instead of road names, as well as the codes the state uses for some of the state routes and interstates, including on- and off-ramps. Thankfully, the county’s public works department helped me out with deciphering the county roadways and WSDOT pointed me toward maps they keep online that provided a key for their codes.
Armed with that information, I then needed to get the geo-coordinates for each collision or, in other words, the latitude and longitude. For some records, this meant manually locating points on Google maps and then getting the lat and long from Google. For the bulk of the records, though, I was lucky enough to be able to use a so-called batch geocoder to get the latitude and longitude for each point.
If you’re interested, here are the two sets of data: Ped-Veh Collisions 2010-14 and WSDOT Summaries by County.]]>
This one was too good not to share.
Steve Keeley, a reporter from FOX 29 News Philadelphia, got a bit of a surprise when he was hit by snow from a passing snow plow on Monday morning in New Jersey, according to Philly.com.
Don’t worry folks, he’s just fine.
Thanks for all well wishes it just looks like it hurt but didn’t at all so it’s cool to have a good laugh on us @fox29philly
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) March 3, 2014
And apparently has a sense of humor.
I knew I was in for bad day when saw email from fired Gov. Christie staffer “Time for some plow troubles for Steve Keeley” @fox29philly
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) March 3, 2014
A video of the incident and animated .gif are now making the rounds online.
Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29]]>
If you work a minimum wage job in Washington state, you’d need to work about 81 hours a week to pay the average monthly rent in this state. It’s worse in California, where one reportedly has to work 129 hours a week to pay the landlord. This morsel of news comes to us courtesy of a blog post by the AFL-CIO today that’s making the rounds on social media. The post actually cites a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (see image below).
After the initial shock of this news set in, I started wondering if that 81 hours a week holds true for all Washingtonians or if the Puget Sound region and its higher cost-of-living drives up the median gross rent for the state.
The answer is yes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median gross rent for Clark County in 2012 came in at about $912 a month (plus or minus $24 if you account for margin of error). In Washington state, the minimum wage is $9.32 an hour and median gross rent was about $954 in 2012, the figure used in NLIHC’s formula.
Generally, one wants to keep their housing costs to less than 1/3 of their total income. To pull this off earning minimum wage in Clark County, you’d need to work about 73 hours a week (Formula: $912 x 3 divided by $9.32/hour, then divided by 4 weeks). That’s not quite the 81-hour-week that the NLIHC arrived at in its calculations but it’s still far more than any rational human being would want to work in a week.
In King County, the median gross rent is about $1,109. Using the same math above, one would need to make 89 hours a week at minimum wage to pay your rent with the recommended one-third of your monthly income.
It could be worse, though. According to the study, someone earning minimum wage in Hawaii would have to work 177 hours a week to afford “fair market housing” and not pay more than 30% of their income for housing.
There are 168 hours in a week.]]>
Earlier this week, something The Atlantic tweeted out caught my eye. It said, “Why More Divorces Are a Good Sign for the Economy.” The basic premise is that when the economy isn’t doing so great, people tend to stay married because it’s expensive to split up, and there are studies that apparently back this up. One study cited by The Atlantic states that when unemployment goes up, the divorce rate falls.
But does that assertion holds up in Clark County? If you look only at unemployment, the answer is no. The number of divorces granted here over the past five years has fluctuated somewhat, peaking in 2010 and 2011 but that’s also when unemployment hit its zenith (see chart below).
So what gives? The economy is improving in Clark County, but divorce appears to be on the decline here when it should have gone up as couples saw new windows of opportunity. I have to wonder if maybe an improving economy could have the opposite effect, giving marriages a boost as quarrels over jobs and money begin to fade away.
What do you think?]]>
There’s a saying that “no news is good news,” and last week proved to be one of the newsiest weeks we’ve ever seen here. Sadly, most of it was not good news, proving that the aforementioned adage has some truth to it.
Last week, about 382,000 visitors came to columbian.com (many of those are repeat customers, though). That’s more visitors than any other week in the site’s nearly 20-year history save for the week of the Bethany Storro incident in 2010. That week, more than 400,000 visitors came to the site, though some of that stemmed from being linked to on The Drudge Report.
Since then, we’ve had some big weeks like the week of the 2012 general election (302,000), the Newtown school massacre and Clackamas Mall shooting (314,000) and the fire that destroyed Crestline Elementary (321,000).
Last week’s mayhem began a year to the day after that Crestline fire. The police scanner buzzed with chatter in the morning as we learned of two dead in a workplace shooting. On Tuesday morning, we learned of a body found near the Westfield Vancouver mall, and then in the afternoon a woman allegedly shot two people at the county public health building. On Wednesday, police arrested two men for the mall shooting and a former cop was awarded $9 million by a jury for years of wrongful imprisonment. Then came fires and Snowmaggedon on Thursday, as an Oregon man died in a 28-care pileup on I-5 near Battle Ground in what proved to be one of many traffic accidents that crippled traffic in the region.
Here’s a list of the most-read stories from last week:
|Man dies in massive I-5 accident||71,379|
|Two dead in Vancouver workplace shooting||22,542|
|Shooting reported at county health office in Vancouver||21,618|
|VA campus shooting victim had sought restraining order||15,475|
|Ice storm warning issued for Vancouver through Sunday night||14,015|
|Commute begins without freezing rain||11,267|
|Three suspects in VanMall slaying in custody||10,064|
|Jury awards $9 million to former local cop||9,532|
|Suspicious death investigated in VanMall neighborhood||9,045|
|Suspected VA shooter’s bail set at $1 million||8,499|