Who comes to Newsroom by the Bay? Check out Jenn Teitell’s “Humans of NBTB”

It sounds like the first day of journalism class: Who’s the typical Newsroom by the Bay student? Where does he or she come from? How much journalism experience does the typical student have? What race and ethnicity do Newsroom by the Bay students represent?

For NBTB 2013 student Jenn Teitell, the answers to these questions were not only mathematical — they were visual.

“I think it really speaks to the diversity of the NBTB program,” said Teitell, of the infographic she created from interviews and surveys she did during NBTB last summer (click here for the larger version, on Teitell’s team website, the Watchdog). “It was also interesting to explore a different way to express information.”

“NBTB focuses a lot on using different mediums for journalism, and I think alternative copy like infographics can be so useful for presenting facts in a dynamic, attention-grabbing manner,” Teitell added.

Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 4.37.35 PMTeitell’s work was inspired by the popular “Humans of New York,” a Tumblr photoblog by New York photographer Brandon Stanton.

Launched in 2010, “Humans of New York” tells the story of one of the world’s largest cities, one face and one life at a time. Over the past three years, the site has earned one million followers. In October, Stanton published a book based on his blog. One week later, it hit number one on The New York Times’ hardcover nonfiction bestseller list.

“It seemed like a stupid idea, just taking pictures of people on the street,” Stanton told the Times in an article published on Nov. 6. “But there’s a comfort, an affirmation, a validation in being exposed to people with similar problems.”

For her infographic, Teitell surveyed NBTB’s seven student-led news teams, painstakingly compiling data on gender, race, ethnicity, journalism experience, hometown and type of program (residential or commuter) from the 79 students who attended NBTB 2013.

A student at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif., Teitell was the copyeditor for her school’s yearbook. This year, she took over as design editor.

The results of Teitell’s survey surprised NBTB co-director Beatrice Motamedi.

“Fifteen percent of our students last summer had broadcast experience,” she said. “That’s definitely something to note for the future. At the same time, we have a similar number of students, like Jenn, who are in yearbook. So I think that means we should also be looking at that very interesting intersection between design and digital media.”

Not only did Teitell capture the numbers of NBTB — she picked up on a story and a journalistic method that’s sure to inspire writers and photographers for years to come.

“HONY is fabulous,” Teitell said. “It’s amazing how well one picture and a few sentences of text can capture a person’s essence. As a journalist, I admire his ability to put his subjects at ease and really get to the root of what is unique about them.”

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