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Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Maryland

Fall 2009


Student presentation Web sites

and Web sites for issues in the news:


Past semesters



Sample Format For Submitting Your Links:




The U.S. Department of Transportation


The National Transportation Safety Board


Office of Hazardous Materials Safety


Searchable Database


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Downloadable Database


The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety




“Rails Carry a Growing Risk;

With train traffic through the region surging,

a close call after a recent derailment in San Bernardino raises the question:

Are we ready for a real disaster?”

By Phil Pitchford, Ben Goad, David Danelski and Mark Kawar

The Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino, CA

November 20, 2005



Sites for class discussion:




Example 1:


Example 2:


Example 3:


Example 3:




Press release:





Hiding in plain sight:

Manhole covers / The New York Times





The Patrick Hughes Story




Stimulus Program Spending


Data site:

Recipient-reported data download:

Recipient-reported data documentation:

GAO report on dirty data:

NY Times on dirty data (by JOUR 772 alum Bernie Becker):

Story on from database of stimulus spending in Florida- CBS 4, Miami:



Visual display of data




Readings for guest speaker, Monday, Oct. 26

[Come to class with three questions and/or comments]

“For Their Own Good”

St. Petersburg Times

Stories, video, photos, documents…

Part 1, April 19, 2009:


Part 2, Oct. 11, 2009:

About the story:


Photos for talk:   Documents      Outline    [password protected]


Kelley Benham wins Ernie Pyle Award:


“Rampaging Rooster Attacks Girl”




Hunting accidents database story

“Data show 13 has become a dangerous age for hunters”

Tulsa World

By Gavin Off, Data Editor




Federal Election Commission – Contributions




Database of disciplined health-care workers

“Records Of Health Worker Misdeeds Kept Secret”

Joseph Shapiro, National Public Radio

Sept. 3, 2009

[Thanks to Sharon for sending this link]


Mastery in many forms …


Landing in the Hudson



Animation with audio


Pilot interview



Four-part fugue


Shadow puppet


ESPN:  The Patrick Hughes Story





Sites for student presentations:


Zettler – K-12 Education


Educational Resources Information Center


America's Promise Alliance


U.S. Department of Education


National Center For Educational Statistics


School Matters


Searchable Database:


School Data Direct


Downloadable Databases:


Maryland State Department of Education


Federal money allocated to education




“Gains in Houston Schools: How Real Are They?”

By Diana Jean Schemo and Ford Fessenden

The New York Times

Dec. 3, 2003


"For Houston Schools, College Claims Exceed Reality"

By Diana Jean Schemo

The New York Times

August 28, 2003


“State to Monitor Houston Schools to Ensure Reporting of Dropouts”

By Diana Jean Schemo

The New York Times

August 8, 2003



Rachel – K-12 Education


The National Center for Education Statistics


The National Education Association


The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education


Searchable Database




Downloadable Database


2009 Maryland Report Card




“Teachers who fail:

A survey of certification-test scores yields alarming results”

By Chris Davis and Matthew Doig

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, FL

December 12, 2004



"How we did this story"

“State Fights to Prevent Access to Teacher Information”




Jennifer – Higher Education


College Board data, reports & research


U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2010


National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)


University System of Maryland data journal


University of Maryland news desk


University of Maryland College Park Foundation


Searchable databases


National Center for Education Statistics college navigator


College Board college search


U.S. Department of Education accreditation database


Downloadable databases


Southern Regional Education Board data library




“In college, first year is by far the riskiest”

By Robert Davis and Anthony DeBarros

USA Today

Jan. 25, 2006



Diana – Executive Branch


The Office of the Federal Register


Office of Government Ethics


Searchable Databases:


Federal Election Commission


The National Archives


Downloadable Database:


Budget of the United States Government: Public Budget Database Fiscal Year 2010




“District Dodges Spending Laws;

Companies Snare Contracts with Connections, Not Competition”

By Dan Keating and David S. Fallis

The Washington Post

November 27, 2005




Nathan – Financial institutions / Banking


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation


Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation


U.S. Security and Exchange Commission


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System


Searchable Databases:


St. Louis Fed: Economic Data – FRED


Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation Licensee Search


EDGAR tutorial


Downloadable Databases:


FDIC’s Statistics on Depository Institutions – All Data




“Borrowers Betrayed”

By Jack Dolan, Rob Barry qnd Matthew Haggman

The Miami Herald

July 20, 2008




Tiffany – Nonprofits and Religious Organizations




SearchSystems Free Public Records Directory: Charitable Organizations


The Better Business Bureau: Charities and Donors


Searchable Database


The Maryland Secretary of State’s Charity Database


Downloadable Database


The IRS Charity Database by State (free),,id=97186,00.html


The National Center for Charitable Statistics (not free)





News story:


“Pair build empire of nonprofit services

Combination with for-profit business raises questions”

By Jeff McDonald

San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego, Calif.

August 20, 2006



Maria – Financial Institutions / Insurance


Maryland Insurance Administration


The Center for Insurance Policy and Research,

via the National Association of Insurance Commissioners


 Coalition Against Insurance Fraud


National Association of State Medicaid Directors


Consumer Complaint Information - Texas Department of Insurance


Searchable Database


Maryland Judiciary Case Search


Complaint and Financial Information Search


Insurance Company Profile Search - Texas Department of Insurance


 Downloadable Database


National Association of Insurance Commissioners (Permitted and Prescribed Practices)




“In Their Debt”

A three-part series on hospital debt collection in Maryland.

Despite a state subsidy system for charity care,

several Maryland hospitals sued the poor for payments.

By Fred Schulte and James Drew

The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Md.

December 21 - 23, 2008,0,2121674.storygallery




Ben – Legislative branch


Searchable Databases:


Congressional Record


U.S. Government Accountability Office


Federal Elections Commission


Congressional Budget Office


Downloadable Database:


U.S. Senate Office of Public Records




“N.J. Governor Has Contributed $1.4 million to Key N.J. Democratic Funds”

The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

Elise Young

October 5, 2009



Raul – Legislative branch


The Sunlight Foundation


NCSL: National Conference of State Legislatures


OpenCongress - Track bills, votes, senators, and

representatives in the U.S. Congress


Searchable Database: Presidential Donor Lookup


Downloadable Database:


Federal Election Commission: Detailed Files About Candidates,

Parties and Other Committees by Election Cycles Databases




"In Fine Print, a Proliferation of Large Donors"

By Michael Luo and Griff Palmer

The New York Times

October 20, 2008



Shauna – World of the Disadvantaged


University of Wisconsin – Institute for Research on Poverty


Urban Institute: Children and Youth


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Children – Health Insurance and Statistics


Government Accountability Office – Social Services


Searchable Database


National Center for Children in Poverty


Downloadable Databases


U.S. Census – Poverty Data

Data Overview:


Microdata Access and Customizable DataFerret:


Casey Foundation Kids Count Census Data




“For Want of A Dentist: PG Co. Boy Dies After Bacteria From Tooth Spread To Brain”

By Mary Otto

The Washington Post

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Follow-Up Story:


“Pr. George's Getting Mobile Dental Office”

By Matt Zapotosky

The Washington Post

Thursday, November 13, 2008




Julie – Education




I-Team: “The Full Truth on Violence in Schools”

Reporting by Stephen Stock

CBS4, Miami

September 16, 2009


Searchable Database:


United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website


Downloadable Database:


New York Police Department (NYPD) Stop, Question, and Frisk Database, 2006


Justice Research and Statistics Association


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


Federal Bureau of Investigation




Sharon – Law Enforcement




The Southern Poverty Law Center


The American Civil Liberties Union


The Jeweler’s Security Alliance


Searchable Databases


The Youth Law Center


Downloadable Databases






“Dallas Police not counting all crimes”

By Steve Thompson and Tanya Eiserer

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX

Sept. 6, 2009



Dan – Judicial System




American Civil Liberties Union


National Center for State Courts


Maryland State Board of Elections

(also contains searchable and downloadable databases)


Federal Bureau of Prisons

(also contains searchable database)


Searchable Database:


Maryland Judiciary Case Search


Downloadable Database:


Western Michigan University Project on U.S. Court of Appeals




“Child-care providers with criminal records getting licenses, state funds”

By Raquel Rutledge, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

June 13, 2009


The Story Behind the Story:


“Criminals in the child-care business: the story behind the story”

By Raquel Rutledge, Journal Sentinel Online (Milwaukee)

June 15, 2009.


Article Summarizing Impact:


“Results from projects take time, persistence”

By Greg Borowski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

October 24, 2009.



Yanne’ – Environment


The Environmental Protection Agency


Council on Environmental Quality


Envirofacts Data Warehouse


Local Drinking Water Information


Searchable Database


The Pollution Information Site


Downloadable Database


Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program




“Toxic Waters:

A series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators' response: 

Cleansing the Air at the Expense of Waterways”

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times, New York, NY

October 12, 2009



Tahira – Health Care


Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services


National Association of Health Underwriters


U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration


Searchable database


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Downloadable Database


Center for Disease Control and Prevention




“Careless Detention: System of Neglect”

By Dana Priest and Amy Goldstein

The Washington Post

May 11, 2008




Carrie – Energy and Utilities


Environmental Protection Agency


National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates


The Utility Connection


Downloadable Database


U.S. Census Bureau


Searchable Database


Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency




“Most residential water users wrongly billed”

By Matthew T. Hall

The San Diego Union-Tribune

April 8, 2007






David – Health Care


Health Canada Anti-Psychotics Advisory


"The Beers Criteria" - Drugs Seniors Should Avoid


IMS Health Report From 2008,3150,77303623_63872702_84335036,00.html


Downloadable Database

Adverse Reactions Database


Searchable Database

Notices of Compliance



"A CBC News investigation" into the increasing use of atypical anti-psychotics among the elderly"
By David McKie
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Toronto, Ontario
June 17, 2008




Maggie – Law Enforcement


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms


International Association of Auto Theft Investigators


National Archive of Criminal Justice Data


Searchable Database


Products for Legal and Investigative Professional

This is a searchable web site that helps mapping sex offenders

 in all states across the country.




Federal Bureau of Investigation

It is both searchable and downloadable web site

 for all crime statistics from 1995 to 2008.



“Authorities abetted diocese in hiding sexual-abuse cases;

police, courts let accused priests avoid punishment”

By Joe Mahr and Mitch Weiss

Toledo Blade

July 31, 2005





Graham – Energy and Utilities


Maryland Public Service Commission


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


Government Accountability Office


Searchable Database


 Federal Communications Commission


Downloadable Database


 Energy Information Administration




"Lead Levels in Water Misrepresented Across U.S.;

Utilities Manipulate or Withhold Test Results to Ward Off Regulators”

By Carol D. Leonnig, Jo Becker and David Nakamura

The Washington Post, Washington, DC

October 5, 2004




Elizabeth – Environment


The Environmental Protection Agency


Council on Environmental Quality


EPA Clean Water Act Module


Clean Water Action


National of the United States


Searchable Database:


Earth Trends: The Environmental Information Portal


Downloadable Database:


United Nations Environmental Programme-GEO Data Portal




“Toxic Waters: A series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators' response: Cleansing the Air at the Expense of Waterways”

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times, New York, NY

October 12, 2009




Chineme – Real Estate


Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development


Maryland Department of Labor and Licensing


Maryland Department of Planning


US Census Bureau Census of Housing


Searchable Database


Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation


Downloadable Database


US Department of Housing and Urban Development




“Housing agency is an ATM for developers”

By Debbie Cenziper

Miami Herald




Anduela – For-profit business


National Labor Relations Board


U.S Small Business Administration


Department of Assessments and Taxation


Federal Trade Commission


Searchable database


U.S Securities and Exchange Commission


Downloadable Databases


US Department of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health Administration


Bureau Labor of Statistics




“Lax Loans: Sept. 11 recovery loans went to many who didn't need them’

By Dirk Lammers and Frank Bass

Associated Press