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Editorial Policy

Introduction

The 'Palm Beach County Counts’ website is intended to be a place where residents, policy makers, public and private organizations can learn about the Palm Beach County community.  It is a website dedicated providing credible and balanced county and sub-county level data, resources, promising best practices, news articles, and community events.  These editorial guidelines describe how the content of the site is selected and managed and also include background on the different features of the site.

Governing Body

The Portal Collaborative is a group of public, private or not-for-profit entities in Palm Beach County that provides editorial oversight for the Palm Beach County Counts website. The primary role of the Portal Collaborative and its Advisory Committee is to provide guidance throughout the planning, determination of best practices, determination of local indicator selection, data collection, data analysis, priority setting, development of tracking measures, marketing strategies, and public input processes.

The governing body and its advisory group reviews the news articles, promising practices, featured content and calendar of events, and strives to ensure balanced content. The governing body and the Palm Beach County Counts website do not endorse or advocate any political initiatives, political figures, community collaborations, programs or plans that may be associated with Palm Beach County Counts from time to time. 

Editorial Values for Indicators & Featured Content 

Objective - Present independent analysis that includes all sides of the issue

Diverse - Include a variety of views, analyses and disciplinary approaches rather than trying to reinforce the ‘established wisdom’ or consensus view

Collaborative - Value partnership rather than compete with existing research efforts

Accessible - Design information to be easily obtainable and informative to the general public

Relevant Enhance features and content based on feedback from users and its potential impact on public policy and the quality of life of local stakeholders

Expansive - Highlight connections among local, state, national and global trends

Bold – Select contextual information that is pertinent, thought provoking, and inspires new innovation and ideas 

Advertising

In order to be able to provide users with continually updated, high-quality information in a lively and effective manner at no cost, Palm Beach County Counts seeks funding through various sources including advertisements and corporate sponsorships. The Palm Beach County Counts website maintains complete editorial independence and separation from advertisers on the site. None of the website’s content is screened, altered, or edited by sponsors at any time. While we maintain an unbreachable wall between our content and our corporate sponsors and advertisers, we see them as valuable contributors in helping to maximize the cost efficiency and impact of strategic business, philanthropic and service investments in our community.

The following rules guide our advertising policy:

  • The Portal Collaborative has the sole discretion for determining the types of advertising that will be accepted and displayed on the Palm Beach County Counts website. We retain the right to reject advertising that is contrary to our mission and will not accept advertising in any form for any products or services known to be harmful to health (such as tobacco products) or sensitive in nature.
  • All advertising on the site is clearly identified as advertising and is kept separate from editorial content.
  • The appearance of any advertising on Palm Beach County Counts is neither an endorsement of nor a guarantee for the product, service, or company (or the claims made in such advertising) by the Portal Collaborative or Palm Beach County Counts. 

Community Indicator Data

Palm Beach County Counts indicators are presented in nine topic areas to provide a measure of how our communities are doing.  The primary aims of the indicator system are to inform and facilitate positive change. To inform, we must provide accurate, reliable, and timely data at a geographically meaningful level. We accomplish this by selecting sources that meet the following criteria: 

  • Validated methodology for data collection and analysis
  • Regular, scheduled publication of findings
  • Focus on data values for small geographic areas, such as counties and postal codes that are available for all county-level locations in the U.S or locally through our community partners.

Community Indicator Data Standards:

  1. Data must be scientifically collected using quality research standards and/or be peer reviewed.
  2. Data from academic institutions or government entities is preferred
  3. Service statistics from local agencies are not typically scientifically collected data. This information can be incorporated into the site in other areas, but not usually as community indicators, and must meet specific quality and compliance standards.
  4. The source of the data is identified and if a conflict of interest could exist on the part of the data collector, that will be clearly noted, e.g. a data collector with a commercial interest in the data.

Key Criteria for consideration of proposed new indicators:

  1. Does it add value? (Does it fill a gap? Is it a good enough proxy measure for an area for which we want an indicator? Is it better than a current indicator?)
  2. Dependable updates? (Is there the capacity for ongoing measurement?)
  3. Is it scientifically valid? (Has it undergone a peer review process?)
  4. Is the data available - both a value for our county and some comparison data?

Promising Practices

While the databases of promising practices, articles and literature located on Palm Beach County Counts are initially populated by the Healthy Communities Institute, the Portal Collaborative adds local content to these sections.  

In order to add a local promising practice to Palm Beach County Counts the Portal Collaborative consults with local community experts/leaders in the topic area to determine its appropriateness.  In addition to the research and/or evaluation process on the practice being rigorous and the results statistically significant, the content is evaluated as to whether or not it adds value to the website or fills a gap, is readily available and can be kept current, and is valid and credible.  Promising Practice sources must be local, state & federal agencies, universities, organizations, associations and non-profits rather than individuals.

Feature Articles, Content & Events

We may post local feature articles and stories on topics or programs that enhance, analyze and provide deeper understanding of various indicator data, potentially promising practices, and community assets on the Palm Beach County Counts homepage. Feature articles or programs are simple links to an existing website or web article about a particular issue along with a brief synopsis or are full articles that are written and created locally.   The Portal Collaborative and its advisory committee encourage users to submit ideas for this feature, and choose the feature articles and content based on current events and corresponding website information updates.   Palm Beach County Counts also features a central repository of events that are linked by relevance to each indicator page.  The Portal Collaborative, by community request and in consultation with an advisory committee and other community partners, add these events to the website.

Local Resources & Links

Palm Beach County Count’s local resources section provides a comprehensive community services search tool that connects residents of Palm Beach, Florida to important local health services. This section is populated with resources from 2-1-1.  The Portal Collaborative, in consultation with the advisory committee, will add these resources based on the following criteria:

  1. The following service items should be included:
    1. Nonprofit and governmental agencies that provide a health or human service in Palm Beach County, Florida.
    2. Organizations (such as churches, social clubs) that offer a service to the community at large, not just their own members. Non-profit social clubs that serve the community at large are to be listed as programs under their parent organizations.
    3. Hospitals with 24-hour emergency rooms
  2. The following items may be included:
    1. Self-help groups that are not part of a larger agency.
    2. Elected state and federal officials and representatives.
    3. Organizations outside the Palm Beach, Florida that provide a service not available locally.
    4. Professional organizations.
    5. Advocacy groups.
    6. Private organizations providing a service not adequately addressed by the nonprofit sector.
  3. The following will not be included on the website:
    1. Private for profit organizations unless fitting into criteria I-C or II-F.
    2. Private practitioners or therapists.
    3. Agencies that deny service on the basis of color, race, religion, sexual orientation, ancestry or nationality.
    4. Illegal services.
    5. Agencies that misrepresent their services in any way.

Links to government sites, academic centers, community-based organizations and foundations will be permitted only if the other site includes information and data related to Palm Beach County Counts. Links will not be provided to advocacy organizations and organizations that offer or support products or services that are detrimental to health, such as tobacco products. 

Website Survey

Website survey questions are non-scientific polls to gather information about how well the ‘Palm Beach County Counts’ website is serving its audience.  The Portal Collaborative manages this tool.

More about our Indicator Data

For each indicator on Palm Beach County Counts, the actual value is shown as well as information about how we are doing compared to other geographic areas (the red-yellow-green gauge) or how we are changing over time (green or red up and down arrows) or how we compare to a national or state average (blue/white or tri-color gradation gauge) to give some context to the information. Indicators are described and links given to the source of the data and what the values mean. It is important to remember that while we may be doing better on some indicators than other parts of the country or compared to a state or national average value that does not mean that we should not be working on improving all indicators.

Methods

The status of the community is typically displayed in one of the following three ways:

Regional Comparison Indicators

For indicators that are meaningfully displayed as an objective value that can be compared to other communities, the local value is assigned a status (green = excellent, yellow = fair, or red = poor) based on how the local value ranks in comparison to other communities. These indicators compare a community's measure to a distribution of other relevant geographies. For indicators where a high value is good, indicators are assigned green values if the value is better than or equal to the 50th percentile, yellow if the value is between the 50th percentile and the 25th percentile, and red if the value is less than the 25th percentile. In this ranking approach, the median is the value that provides the cut-off between the green and yellow ranking.

Regional Comparison Indicator Example: The infant mortality rate in all 3077 US counties is collected and the rate of infant mortality (number of infant deaths/100 births) is entered in a spreadsheet. The rates are ordered from lowest to highest. The 50th percentile or median value is the rate of the 1,539th value in the list of values (3077 / 2 = 1538.5, standard rounding rules round the number to 1539). Often the distribution of counties within a state or other regions must be used instead of US counties because the data is not available nationally. The cut-off point between yellow and red is the 75th percentile, or the 2,309th value in the list of values. 

Average Comparison Indicators

For indicators that are not meaningfully displayed as an objective value (i.e. median home value) or where we do not have values for other communities, but do have a national or state mean value, the blue/white indicator dial (if direction does not matter) or tri-color dial (if direction matters) simply shows how our community compares nationally or statewide. This indicator is a useful way to present community data compared to the state or national median or mean value and allow the user to interpret the local indicator value.

Average Comparison Indicator Example: In a community the median home price is above the median home value compared to 39 other counties in the state. The fact that the median home value is above the median can be interpreted in two ways, depending on the end-users perspective: if you are selling your home, high median values may be a beneficial, but if you are trying to purchase a home, high median values may be a negative.

Time Period Comparison Indicators

These indicators show how an outcome varies over a significant amount of time, a commonly accepted period in the field, as indicated in the description. These indicators have three states: getting better, getting worse, or stayed the same. These indicators are typically used when distribution data is not available to calculate a comparison distribution or when trend data seems more relevant and important on an issue than comparison to other locales. They are also useful to highlight when a measure compares favorably to other communities, but the measure is actually moving in the wrong direction. 

Time Period Comparison Indicator Example: In community A, the % of the population that is overweight or obese is 50.5% and this percentage has been growing over the last three years. The yearly percentages exceed the CDC 2010 Healthy People goal for healthy weight (<40% of adult population overweight or obese), though the local value (50.5%) is still better than the median value where 61.3% of adult population is overweight or obese in the state. In this case, a time period comparison indicator can be used to show that the community trend is increasing and there is a growing percentage of the adult population that is either overweight or obese.