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Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Maryland

Fall 2005


Student presentation Web sites

and Web sites for issues in the news:


Past semesters:




Student presentations:



George – Legislative branch


Federal Election Commission


The Center for Responsive Politics


The Government Accountability Office




THOMAS:  Legislative Information for the Public





Congressional Budget Office


Campaign Finance Information Center





“For Murphy, Good Government Means Good Business”

Pat Stith and Joby Warrick

The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Feb. 22, 1995


Series:  “Boss Hog, North Carolina Pork Revolution”

Pulitzer prize citation:

Links to stories:


“A Guide to Computer Assisted Reporting:

Tips and tales of investigative journalism”

 By Pat Stith, co-author of the “Boss Hog” series

On the Poynter Institute Web site:



Danny – Judicial System




National Center for State Courts


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers




Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center


U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics



“Judges Under the Influence?”

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

 May 15, 2005




Bonny – Education


Education Writers Association


Education Commission on States


National Education Association




Education Resources Information Center


National Center for Education Statistics




Failing Teachers Series: “5,243 Illinois teachers failed key exams”

Rosalind Rossi, Becky Beaupre and Kate N. Grossman

Chicago Sun-Times, September 6, 2001






Chris Y. - Law enforcement


Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms


National Institute on Drug Abuse




Federal Bureau of Investigation - Uniform Crime Reports


National Center for Juvenile Justice





Series: "Justice Undone"

The Baltimore Sun

Sept. - Oct. 2002


“Cases crumble, killers go free”
Jim Haner, Kimberly A.C. Wilson and John B. O'Donnell

The Baltimore Sun

Sept. 29, 2002



Additional stories in the series:


“How Itchy Man beat the rap”
Sept. 30, 2002,1,507944.story


“To veteran officer, a sad state of affairs”

Oct. 1, 2002,1,501621.story


Baltimore police officers' power to file murder charges is rare”

Oct. 22, 2002,1,2287949.story




Sarah – Law enforcement


Bureau of Justice Statistics


Bureau of Justice Statistics: Crime and Victim Statistics


Bureau of Justice Statistics: Homicide Trends in the U.S.


National Institute of Justice


Security on Campus




Federal Bureau of Investigation: Uniform Crime Reports


The Sourcebook for Criminal Justice Statistics:


University of Maryland Police Online





"Cops who abuse their wives rarely pay the price"

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

July 23, 2003


Seattle Post-Intelligencer Special Report:



Erin – Licensed professionals


Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation


Federation of State Medical Boards


Board of Physicians-Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


Health Professional Licensing in Maryland




Maryland Board of Physicians: Practitioner Profile System


Pubic Citizen National Ranking of State Disciplinary Actions


Healthcare Integrity and Protection Database




“D.C. Board Rarely Punishes Physicians”

Cheryl W. Thompson

The Washington Post

Monday, April 11, 2005


Washington Post series information




Ford - Licensed professionals

Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

National Federation of State Medical Boards

Public Citizen Health Research Group

Search, Pacific Information Resources


Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

National Practitioner Data Bank / Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank


"Who's watching the children?"
(Part One of a Four-Part Series)
Orange County Register
March 17, 2002




Aundrea - Nonprofits


National Association of State Charity Officials


BBB Wise Giving Alliance


Council on Foundations




SOI Tax Stats- Charitable & Exempt Organizations Statistics,,id=97155,00.html


National Center for Charitable Statistics



“Tax Exempt!”

By Edward T. Pound, Gary Cohen, Penny Loeb

U.S. News & World Report

October 2, 1995




Regina – Nonprofits


BBB Wise Giving Alliance


 Capital Research Center


 Instructions for Form 990




Charitable & Exempt Organizations Statistics,,id=97155,00.html


 National Center for Charitable Statistics




“Donor Beware: The Big Nonprofit Secret”

By Kelby Hartson Carr

The Times (Northwest Indiana)

September 18, 2005



Kara – Health care


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


H-CUPnet (Healthcare Cost Utilization Project)


Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene




Medical Expenditure Panel


National Cancer Institute


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data site


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National

Center for Healthcare Statistics




"Drug Researchers Leak Secrets to Wall St."

Luke Timmerman and David Heath

The Seattle Times

(Seattle, Washington)

August 7, 2005


"New York Medicaid Fraud May Reach into the Billions"

Clifford J. Levy and Michael Luo

The New York Times

July 18, 2005



Karlena – Real estate


Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation: Real Property Data Search


Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development


Prince George's County Planning Department




HUD's Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Database


Maryland Zoning Data



"Hundreds of homes predate Oceana or Navy development guides"

The Virginian-Pilot , October 1, 2005




Elissa – Environment


Toxicology Data Network


Society of Environmental Journalists


RCRA Online


State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials




 CERCLIS Database – Superfund Information Systems


U.S. Geological Survey NWISWeb Data for the Nation




"Toxic Legacy"

Jan Barry, Mary Jo Layton, Alex Nussbaum, Tom Troncone, Lindy Washburn, Barbara Williams and Thomas E. Franklin

The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)

Oct. 2-6, 2005




Scott – Environment


Maryland Department of the Environment


Society of Environmental Journalists


Environmental Protection Agency




EPA – Drinking water data


Toxics Release Inventory




“Plants detail impact of toxic releases”
By James Bruggers and Gregory A. Hall

The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)

June 10, 2004!OpenDocument




Veena – World of the disadvantaged


Institute for Research on Poverty


The Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families


Economic Success Clearinghouse


Population Resource Center




 Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services


Children’s Defense Fund


Kid’s Count




“The Other America

By Jonathon Alter


Sept. 19, 2005



Caitlin - World of the Disadvantaged


U.S. Census Bureau


Casey Journalism Center


Institute for Research on Poverty




Kid's Count


American Community Survey




"The District's Lost Children"

 Series by Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham and Sarah Cohen

The Washington Post

September 9-12, 2001




Matt – Transportation


American Aerospace Industries Association


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Maryland Port Administration




National Aviation Safety Data Analysis Center


NTHSA's State Traffic Safety Information for 2004


Federal Transit Administration National Transit Database




"State to trucks: Roll on"

Pat Stith

The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

May 22, 2005


Series: "Pounding the Pavement"




Adena –  Education


School Improvement In Maryland


Center for the Prevention of School Violence


Public Agenda




Education Commission on States


Maryland Report Card



“School Crime Numbers Higher than CMS Reports”

Lisa Munn, Liz Chandler, Melissa Manware and Peter Smolowitz

The Charlotte Observe

June 5, 2005.



Chris H. – Insurance


National Association of Insurance Commissioners


Insurance Information Institute


Coalition Against Insurance Fraud




U.S. Census Bureau data on health insurance


FEMA National Flood Insurance Program stats




“Fraud central”

First in a five part series

Mark E. Vogler, Shawn Boburg and Marjory Sherman

Eagle Tribune (Lawrence, Mass.)

June 13-17, 2004



Jon – Utilities


Federal Communications Commission


Environmental Protection Agency


Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Electricity Consumers Resource Council




Federal Energy Regulatory Committee


Energy Information Administration




“Pepco Better Than Most Area Utilities In Reliability;

Post Comparison Shows Fewer, Shorter Outages”

By Ray Rivera

The Washington Post, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005



Chris E. – International


United States Census Bureau


World Bank


United Nations statistics site




 World Health Organization Mortality Database (and other resources)


UNESCO Institute for Statistics




“Civil claims provide glimpse into war's impact on Iraqi citizens”

Dayton Daily News

October 23, 2004



In the news:


Hurricane Katrina


Romanesko: / The Times-Picayune:


“Washing Away,” a five-part series in 2002 by The Times-Picayune

“It's only a matter of time before south Louisiana takes a direct hit from a major hurricane.

Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable every day.”


The Washington Post:



Issues of access to public information


Society of Environmental Journalists’ report on EPA and FOIA:

SEJ press release:  “Katrina only latest example of feds withholding environmental data”

SEJ report: "A Flawed Tool — Environmental Reporters' Experiences With the Freedom of Information Act"




CNS computer-assisted reporting projects by Gabe Baird


Story package on egg inspections, March 28, 2003


“Handful of State Inspectors Stay on Top of Millions of Eggs”


“Dirty Dozens Don't Stand a Chance Against State's Crack Eggs Inspectors”



Story package on air pollution and vehicle emissions, April 29, 2003


Summary:  CNS News Digest for April 29, 2003


“The Good, the Bad and the Smoggy: Some Cars, Sites Have Higher Failure Rates


“SUVs Have Higher Emissions, Are Still More Likely to Pass Emissions Tests”


“Make, Model a Mixed Bag When it Came to Vehicle Emissions Tests in 2001”


“Problems of East Coast Smog Seem Distant to Ohio Town that Relies on Plant”


“Researchers' Search for Sources of Ozone Takes Them High in the Sky”



Judith Miller


“My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room”

By Judith Miller

The New York Times

Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005




Billy Bob’s




Mapping tornado sirens in Peoria

An IRE description of the project cites an account of this project by Sarah Okeson of the Peoria, Ill., Journal Star:  I went to all 80 of the county's tornado sirens with a GPS device and then put the locations on my computer and converted them to a shapefile. I drew buffers around the sirens and calculated how many people in the county weren't covered by comparing the siren coverage area to the census blocks.”


Washington Post series on DC spending

by Dan Keating and David Fallis


Day 1:  Nov. 27, 2005


“District Dodges Spending Laws’

Companies Snare Contracts With Connections, Not Competition”




“Funds in Health Contract Shifted to Pay Consultants”


Day 2: Nov. 28, 2005


“Lavish Spending, Little Reward;

D.C. Agencies Gave Contractor Millions for Projects but Scant Oversight”



                                                                                                     DC Contracting Database: