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Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Maryland

Fall 2003



Class Web sites:



From class discussions:


General Accounting Office Reports


IGnet – Federal inspectors general


Yahoo links:  Government waste and fraud



Tamara – Executive branch


FirstGov: Federal Executive Branch


Council for Excellence in Governmentt


Bureau of Labor Statistics – government info site


A journalist’s database of databases



“Vacations perk costly to county; Taxpayers spend thousands to pay for unused time off “

By Charles Levin, Ventura County Star, August 31, 2003

Levin used computer assisted reporting to see how much

government officials were being paid for unused vacation time.,1375,VCS_226_2223810,00.html




Lidija – Legislative branch


Center for Responsive Politics


General Accounting Office


National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting Database Library


Congressional Budget Office


National Conference of State Legislatures



“Justices Split on Campaign Finance”

Charles Lane, The Washington Post, September 9, 2003


“McConnell v. FEC: Soft Money's Role”


Profile: Senator Mitch McConnell




Stephanie – Legislative branch


IRE's Campaign Finance Information Center


Legislative Branch Resources on GPO Access


Center for Responsive Politics


Downloadable Databases:


Center for Public Integrity's Buying of the President

2004 Document Warehouse


FEC Campaign Finance Reports and Data


Reporting Project:


"Broken Trust, Part I, Guardian"

The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, MO




Daysi – Executive branch


Library of Congress – Official US Executive Branch Web Sites


United States Department of Health and Human Services

National Institutes of Health Ethics Program


Management/Budget – US Department of Housing and Urban Development


U.S. Department of Labor

Occupation Safety & Health Administration


US Department of Homeland Security

Fiscal Year 2002 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics




“Study: Top teachers pick up lighter assignments,”

Dallas Morning News, August 12, 2003

A study by Joshua Benton found that less experienced teachers

were assigned to work in poor areas.




Zenitha – Education


IRE Resource Center


Education Writers’ Association


U.S. Department of Education


Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)


Public Agenda

 (put together by Barbara White Stack of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


National Federation of Teachers


Downloadable Databases


National Center for Education Statistics


2001 Maryland School Performance Report Card:




“Lessons of change,”

   Lucy Hood, San Antonio Express-News, Aug. 17, 2003


“School bosses in Oakland wine, dine and live it up on taxpayers' dime,”

L.L. Brasier, Detroit Free Press, Aug. 22, 2003



Stacy – Law enforcement


Links to police agencies


National Tactical Officers Association


Crime on campus


Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies


Federal Law Enforcement Training Center


National Youth Gang Center




Joe – Law enforcement


Diana K. Sugg on Covering a Beat/Cops


Guide for Covering Cops Beat


Downloadable Databases:


US Dept of Justice Statistics


FBI Uniform Crime Reports


Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center


National Archive of Criminal Justice Data


Reporting Projects:


“D.C. Police Lead Nation in Shootings”

Washington Post


“Cops tap database to harass, intimidate”

Detroit Free Press





Nikolai – Financial institutions


FDIC database source


Office of Thrift Supervision (savings and loans)


The National Credit Union Administration


The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)


Federal Reserve System


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation


Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC


The Federal Reserve Board's National Information Center of Banking Information


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Institution Directory


US Securities and Exchange Commission


SEC Edgar Database


SEC - specialists that have databases


SEC info on specialists

Accountants -

Broker-Dealers -

Funds & Advisers  -


Graham Leach-Bliley Act – 1999 –

Community Reinvestment Act


Securities Exchange Act of 1934


General Rules and Regulations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934


American Banker (subscription required for some info) -


Securities Lawyer's Deskbook – additional info on Securities


The Motley Fool –


The House Committee on Financial Services


Freddie Mac



SEC investigating Freddie Mac for possible fraud



Jon – Judicial system


Prince George’s County government site


U.S. Supreme Court database


Maryland sex offender registry


More for Supreme Court research



Lisa – Environment


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Enivrofacts Data Warehouse





National Library of Medicine - Toxicology and Environmental Health





U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


United Nations Environment Programme


Society of Environmental Journalists




“State of Denial” - A special report on the environment

The Sacramento Bee &


The Nature Conservancy - A special report series

The Washington Post




Hongmei – Professionals


Maryland’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing


Pacific Information Resources


Link to Lists of state boards of Health


Professional Associations:


American Bar Association


Maryland Board of Nursing


American Medical Association




The national practitioner databank


Federation of State Medical Boards


U.S. Department of Labor Statistics:


Reporting Project:


“Va. Doctor's Misconduct Left Trail of Broken Lives: Medical System Failed To Protect Patients”

The Washington Post, Sept. 28, 2003


“A Broken Marriage and a 'Life Destroyed’ ”

The Washington Post, Sept. 28, 2003



Tricia – The disadvantaged


U.S. Census Bureau's Poverty Section


Food Stamp Program Data


Kid's Count Data Book


The Annie E. Casey Foundation


Social Security Administration


Welfare Information Network


U.S. Health and Human Services Department


National Agricultural Library Welfare Reform Page





Washington Post Series On Child Welfare System:

by Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham and Sarah Cohen



Christina – Nonprofits


American Institute of Philanthropy


BBB Wise Giving



National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy


Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations


Internal Revenue Service


National Center for Nonprofit Boards


Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability




GuideStar-The National Database of Nonprofit Organizations


Maryland Charities Database


The Foundation Center



Handout:  Washington Post stories

 on National Capital United Way's spending practices

 by Jacqueline Salmon and Peter Whoriskey

May-October, 2002



Alex – Health care


American Hospital Directory


Department of Health and Human Services


National Library of Medicine





Nursing Homes


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Per-visit Cost Limits Dataset


National Center for Health Statistics

Mortality, Multiple Cause-of-Death Public-Use Data Files




“Deadly Consequences: Ohio's broken mental retardation system”

Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio

February, 2002




Roland – Insurance


National Association of Insurance Commissioners


Maryland Insurance Administration


Coalition Against Insurance Fraud




Florida's Insurance Crisis: Malpractice Insurance”

“Boy's case illustrates malpractice crisis”

Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach, Florida

June 15, 2003



Josh – Financial institutions




National Credit Union Administration


Securities and Exchange Commission


"Questions of Conflict Sting Mutual Funds"

Diana B. Henriques, The New York Times,  August 7, 1994



Jennifer – Utilities


Energy Information Administration, Dept of Energy


National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners


Blackout- CA Energy Crisis


General Accounting Office (GAO)


Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Association of State Drinking Water Administrators


Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Quality Reports


Federal Communications Commission





Electricity Database Files (EIA, Dept of Energy)


Electric Quarterly Reports (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)




“Utilities Held Down Spending on the Upkeep.” 

The Washington Post, Oct. 17, 2003




Rick – Business


Hoover’s: The Business Information Authority


Society of Business Editors and Writers: Online resources


Business Wire: Expert Source


Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Violation database


Reporting Project:

“The Whistle-Blower,”

Virginia Young, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch




Charmere – Transportation


U.S. Department of Transportation


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Federal Highway Administration


U.S. Coast Guard


Downloadable Databases


Bureau of Transportation Statistics


Reporting Projects


"Cars and trucks in deadly conflict on I-80"

by Kurt Rogahn, The Gazett, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2003





"The Danger Zone"

A special report by KCRG-TV 9 reporter Renee Chou (based on The Gazette story)

Monday, Nov. 10, 2003



Deitrich – Real estate


Research Property Data Search


American Society of Home Inspectors


Federal national Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)


Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (Freddie Mac)


Department of Veterans Affairs Home Loan Guaranty Services




Housing and Urban Development


Urban Land Institute




"Huge land swap proposed Idaho Broker Crafts Trade That May Involve Million Acres"

Ken Olsen, Spokesman-Review

March 16, 1999


Faulty tax assessments


(referenced on Poynter site)



Nancy – Environment


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Society of Environmental Journalists


National Safety Council's Environmental Health Center


This is the first in a series of articles published in the Tulsa World

in 2002 about violations of environmental regulations



Ely – The disadvantaged


Casey Journalism Center


U.S. Census


The Urban Institute


U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS)




“Lives Lost:  Losing Hope in Appalachia

The Boston Globe, Nov. 23, 2003,


Clergy sexual abuse coverage

The Boston Globe


“Lack of options keeps mentally disturbed youth locked up”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 15, 2001




Graphics, Charts and Mapping:  Visual Display of Data


IRE archive of mapping projects on the Web


Edward Tufte – graphics guru


A classic graphic from 1869:

Charles Joseph Minard’s account of Napoleon’s Russia campaign of 1812-1813


Story example:

 Florida Today: “NASA never studied debris risks”




Public Opinion


The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press


Public Agenda


“20 Questions Journalists Should Ask About Poll Results”

by Sheldon R. Gawiser and G. Evans Witt


“Red Flags”

“Public Agenda's Red Flags examines areas of public opinion research

where findings may be misleading, unstable, or easily misinterpreted.”