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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

http://www.fec.gov

 

The Center for Responsive Politics

http://www.opensecrets.org

 

The Government Accountability Office

http://www.gao.gov/

 

FedWorld

http://www.fedworld.gov/

 

THOMAS:  Legislative Information for the Public

http://thomas.loc.gov/

 

 

Databases

 

Congressional Budget Office

http://www.cbo.gov/Spreadsheets.shtml

 

Campaign Finance Information Center

http://www.campaignfinance.org/linksstate.html

 

 

Article

 

“For Murphy, Good Government Means Good Business”

Pat Stith and Joby Warrick

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

Feb. 22, 1995

http://www.pulitzer.org/year/1996/public-service/works/3pork.html

 

Series:  “Boss Hog, North Carolina Pork Revolution”

Pulitzer prize citation: http://www.pulitzer.org/year/1996/public-service/

Links to stories: http://www.pulitzer.org/year/1996/public-service/works/

 

“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:

http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=83144

 

 

Danny – Judicial System

 

Findlaw

www.findlaw.com

 

National Center for State Courts 

www.ncsconline.org/

 

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 

www.criminaljustice.org

  

 Databases:

 

Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center

http://fjsrc.urban.org/noframe/dist/dist_intro.cfm

 

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics

www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs

 

 Story:

“Judges Under the Influence?”

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

 May 15, 2005

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/charlotte/news/11651250.htm

 

 

 

Bonny – Education

 

Education Writers Association

http://www.ewa.org

 

Education Commission on States

http://www.ecs.org

 

National Education Association

http://www.nea.org

 

Databases:

 

Education Resources Information Center

http://www.eric.ed.gov

 

National Center for Education Statistics

http://nces.ed.gov/

 

Story:

 

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

Rosalind Rossi, Becky Beaupre and Kate N. Grossman

Chicago Sun-Times, September 6, 2001

Series:  http://www.suntimes.com/special_sections/failing_teacher/

Story:  http://www.suntimes.com/special_sections/failing_teacher/part1/cst-nws-main06.html

 

 

 

Chris Y. - Law enforcement

 

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

http://www.bradycampaign.org

 

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

http://atf.treas.gov

 

National Institute on Drug Abuse

http://www.nida.nih.gov

 

Databases

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation - Uniform Crime Reports

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm

 

National Center for Juvenile Justice

http://www.ncjj.org

http://ncjj.servehttp.com/NCJJWebsite/services/services_statistical.htm

 

 

Article

 

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

Story: http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-te.murder29sep29,1,4046904.story

 

Additional stories in the series:

 

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

http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-te.murder30sep30,1,507944.story

 

“To veteran officer, a sad state of affairs”

Oct. 1, 2002

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.tabeling01oct01,1,501621.story

 

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

Oct. 22, 2002

http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-te.md.charging22oct22,1,2287949.story

 

 

 

Sarah – Law enforcement

 

Bureau of Justice Statistics

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

 

Bureau of Justice Statistics: Crime and Victim Statistics

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvict.htm

 

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

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/homtrnd.htm

 

National Institute of Justice

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/

 

Security on Campus

http://www.securityoncampus.org/

 

Databases

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation: Uniform Crime Reports

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm

 

The Sourcebook for Criminal Justice Statistics:

http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/

 

University of Maryland Police Online

http://www.umpd.umd.edu/pubinfo/index.htm

 

 

Stories:

 

"Cops who abuse their wives rarely pay the price"

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

July 23, 2003

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/131879_cops23.html

 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Special Report:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/police

 

 

Erin – Licensed professionals

 

Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation

www.clearhq.org

 

Federation of State Medical Boards

www.fsmb.org

 

Board of Physicians-Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

http://www.mbp.state.md.us/pages/whatis.html

 

Health Professional Licensing in Maryland

http://www.dhmh.state.md.us/html/proflicm.htm

 

Databases:

 

Maryland Board of Physicians: Practitioner Profile System

https://www.mbp.state.md.us/bpqapp/

 

Pubic Citizen National Ranking of State Disciplinary Actions

http://www.citizen.org/HRG/QDSITE/findings.htm

 

Healthcare Integrity and Protection Database

http://www.npdb-hipdb.com/publicdata.html

 

Article:

 

“D.C. Board Rarely Punishes Physicians”

Cheryl W. Thompson

The Washington Post

Monday, April 11, 2005

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42456-2005Apr10.html

 

Washington Post series information

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=22755

 

 

 

Ford - Licensed professionals

Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation
http://www.clearhq.org/

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
http://www.dllr.state.md.us/

National Federation of State Medical Boards
http://www.fsmb.org/index.html

Public Citizen Health Research Group
http://www.citizen.org/index.cfm

Search Systems.net, Pacific Information Resources
http://www.searchsystems.net/

Databases:

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
http://www.dllr.state.md.us/

National Practitioner Data Bank / Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank
http://www.npdb-hipdb.com/publicdata.html

Story:

"Who's watching the children?"
(Part One of a Four-Part Series)
Orange County Register
March 17, 2002
http://www.ocregister.com/features/childcare/criminal00317cci.shtml

 

 

 

Aundrea - Nonprofits

 

National Association of State Charity Officials

www.nasconet.org

 

BBB Wise Giving Alliance

www.give.org

 

Council on Foundations

www.cof.org

 

Databases:

 

SOI Tax Stats- Charitable & Exempt Organizations Statistics

http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/charitablestats/article/0,,id=97155,00.html

 

National Center for Charitable Statistics

http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/FAQ/index.php?category=31

 

Story:

“Tax Exempt!”

By Edward T. Pound, Gary Cohen, Penny Loeb

U.S. News & World Report

October 2, 1995

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/951002/archive_032994.htm

 

 

 

Regina – Nonprofits

 

BBB Wise Giving Alliance

www.give.org

 

 Capital Research Center

www.capitalresearch.org

 

 Instructions for Form 990

http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i990-ez/index.html

 

Databases:

 

Charitable & Exempt Organizations Statistics

http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/charitablestats/article/0,,id=97155,00.html

 

 National Center for Charitable Statistics

http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/FAQ/index.php?category=44

 

Story:

 

“Donor Beware: The Big Nonprofit Secret”

By Kelby Hartson Carr

The Times (Northwest Indiana)

September 18, 2005

http://nwitimes.com/site_pages/nonprofit.php

 

 

Kara – Health care

 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

http://www.cms.hhs.gov

 

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

http://www.ahrq.gov/

 

H-CUPnet (Healthcare Cost Utilization Project)

http://hcup.ahrq.gov/HCUPnet.asp

 

Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene

http://dhmh.state.md.us

 

Databases

 

Medical Expenditure Panel

http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/

 

National Cancer Institute

http://healthservices.cancer.gov/seermedicare/

 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data site

http://www.cms.hhs.gov/researchers/

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National

Center for Healthcare Statistics

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh.htm

 

Story

 

"Drug Researchers Leak Secrets to Wall St."

Luke Timmerman and David Heath

The Seattle Times

(Seattle, Washington)

August 7, 2005

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/drugsecrets1.html

 

"New York Medicaid Fraud May Reach into the Billions"

Clifford J. Levy and Michael Luo

The New York Times

July 18, 2005

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/18/nyregion/18medicaid.html?ei=5090&en=5bf75a3bd29b6baf&ex=1279339200&adxnnl=1&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1121871623-LEEfKHViS2UPOJ741R38Cg

 

 

Karlena – Real estate

 

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation: Real Property Data Search

http://sdatcert3.resiusa.org/rp_rewrite/index.asp

 

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

http://www.dhcd.state.md.us/Website/home/index.aspx

 

Prince George's County Planning Department

http://www.mncppc.org/pgco/

 

Databases:

 

HUD's Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Database

http://lihtc.huduser.org/

 

Maryland Zoning Data

http://www.mdp.state.md.us/datadownload.htm

 

Story:

"Hundreds of homes predate Oceana or Navy development guides"

The Virginian-Pilot , October 1, 2005

http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=93022&ran=168159

 

 

 

Elissa – Environment

 

Toxicology Data Network

http://www.toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/

 

Society of Environmental Journalists

http://www.sej.org

 

RCRA Online

http://www.epa.gov/rcraonline/

 

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

http://www.4cleanair.org

 

Databases

 

 CERCLIS Database – Superfund Information Systems

http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/cursites/index.htm

 

U.S. Geological Survey NWISWeb Data for the Nation

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/

 

Story

 

"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

http://www.toxiclegacy.com/

 

 

 

Scott – Environment

 

Maryland Department of the Environment

www.mde.state.md.us

 

Society of Environmental Journalists

www.sej.org

 

Environmental Protection Agency

www.epa.gov

 

Databases

 

EPA – Drinking water data

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/data/getdata.html

 

Toxics Release Inventory

http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?TRI

 

Article

 

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

The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)

June 10, 2004

http://www.courier-journal.com/cjextra/2003projects/toxicair/

http://www.asmconsortium.org/asm/asm_imps.nsf/1a69d7fbe38be40107256aed0063df22/607506091f838c7107256eb000775987!OpenDocument

 

 

           

Veena – World of the disadvantaged

 

Institute for Research on Poverty

http://www.irp.wisc.edu/

 

The Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families

http://casey.umd.edu/index.cfm

 

Economic Success Clearinghouse

http://www.financeproject.org/irc/win.asp

 

Population Resource Center

http://www.prcdc.org/programs/ChildrenInAmerica/ChildrenInAmerica.html

 

Databases:

 

 Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

http://www.cms.hhs.gov/researchers/

 

Children’s Defense Fund

http://www.childrensdefense.org/

 

Kid’s Count

http://www.aecf.org/kidscount/sld/databook.jsp

 

Story:

 

“The Other America

By Jonathon Alter

Newsweek

Sept. 19, 2005

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9287641/

 

 

Caitlin - World of the Disadvantaged

 

U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html

 

Casey Journalism Center

http://casey.umd.edu/index.cfm

 

Institute for Research on Poverty

http://www.irp.wisc.edu/

 

Databases

 

Kid's Count

http://www.aecf.org/kidscount/

 

American Community Survey

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/index.html

 

Story

 

"The District's Lost Children"

 Series by Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham and Sarah Cohen

The Washington Post

September 9-12, 2001

http://www.pulitzer.org/year/2002/investigative-reporting/works/story1.html

 

 

 

Matt – Transportation

 

American Aerospace Industries Association

http://www.aia-aerospace.org/

 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

http://www.nhtsa.gov/

 

Maryland Port Administration

http://www.marylandports.com/

 

Databases

 

National Aviation Safety Data Analysis Center

http://www.faa.gov/safety/data_statistics/nasdac/

 

NTHSA's State Traffic Safety Information for 2004

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/stsi/

 

Federal Transit Administration National Transit Database

http://www.ntdprogram.com/NTD/ntdhome.nsf/?Open

 

Article

 

"State to trucks: Roll on"

Pat Stith

The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

May 22, 2005

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/growth/traffic/trucks/series/story/2434452p-8838754c.html

 

Series: "Pounding the Pavement"

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/growth/traffic/trucks/

 

 

 

Adena –  Education

 

School Improvement In Maryland

http://mdk12.org/

 

Center for the Prevention of School Violence

http://www.ncdjjdp.org/cpsv/

 

Public Agenda

http://www.publicagenda.org/issues/frontdoor.cfm?issue_type=education

 

Databases:

 

Education Commission on States

http://www.ecs.org/ecsmain.asp?page=/html/publications/databases.htm

 

Maryland Report Card

http://mdreportcard.org/

 

Story:

“School Crime Numbers Higher than CMS Reports”

Lisa Munn, Liz Chandler, Melissa Manware and Peter Smolowitz

The Charlotte Observe

June 5, 2005.

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/living/education/11819136.htm

 

 

Chris H. – Insurance

 

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

http://www.naic.org/

 

Insurance Information Institute

http://www.iii.org

 

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

http://www.insurancefraud.org

 

Databases

 

U.S. Census Bureau data on health insurance

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/hlthins.html

 

FEMA National Flood Insurance Program stats

http://www.fema.gov/nfip/pcstat.shtm

 

Story

 

“Fraud central”

First in a five part series

Mark E. Vogler, Shawn Boburg and Marjory Sherman

Eagle Tribune (Lawrence, Mass.)

June 13-17, 2004

http://www.ecnnews.com/cgi-bin/15/etsrstory.pl?sec-autofraud+fn-atfault11

 

 

Jon – Utilities

 

Federal Communications Commission

www.fcc.gov

 

Environmental Protection Agency

www.epa.gov

 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

www.nrc.gov

 

Electricity Consumers Resource Council

www.elcon.org

 

Databases:

 

Federal Energy Regulatory Committee

www.ferc.gov

 

Energy Information Administration

www.eia.doe.gov

 

Story:

 

“Pepco Better Than Most Area Utilities In Reliability;

Post Comparison Shows Fewer, Shorter Outages”

By Ray Rivera

The Washington Post, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/26/AR2005112601029.html

 

 

Chris E. – International

 

United States Census Bureau

www.census.gov

 

World Bank

www.worldbank.com

 

United Nations statistics site

http://unstats.un.org

 

Databases

 

 World Health Organization Mortality Database (and other resources)

www.who.int/research/en/

 

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

http://stats.uis.unesco.org/

 

Story:

 

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

Dayton Daily News

October 23, 2004

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/content/shared/oh/iraq/stories/1024iraqmain.html

 

 

In the news:

 

Hurricane Katrina

 

Romanesko:  http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45

 

Nola.com / The Times-Picayune:  http://www.nola.com/

 

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

http://www.nola.com/hurricane/?/washingaway/

“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:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/

 

 

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”

http://www.sej.org/foia/index5.htm

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

http://www.sej.org/foia/SEJ_FOIA_Report2005.pdf

 

 

 

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”

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/03-March-editions/030328-Friday/DirtyDozens_CNS-UMCP.html

 

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

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/03-March-editions/030328-Friday/EggRanger_CNS-UMCP.html

 

 

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

 

Summary:  CNS News Digest for April 29, 2003

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/04-April-editions/030429-Tuesday/Digest_CNS-UMCP.html

 

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

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/04-April-editions/030429-Tuesday/WheezingWheels_CNS-UMCP.html

 

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

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/04-April-editions/030429-Tuesday/SUVScores_CNS-UMCP.html

 

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

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/04-April-editions/030429-Tuesday/VEIPChart_CNS-UMCP.html

 

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

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/04-April-editions/030429-Tuesday/DefiantOhio_CNS-UMCP.html

 

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

http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wire/2003-editions/04-April-editions/030429-Tuesday/PollutionPlane_CNS-UMCP.html

 

 

Judith Miller

 

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

By Judith Miller

The New York Times

Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16miller.html

 

Misc:

 

Billy Bob’s

http://rock_afire.tripod.com/info/related/bbw/

 

Mapping:

 

Mapping tornado sirens in Peoria

http://www.pjstar.com/news/ssection/tornadosirens/TRI_B7GF8LLF.044.shtml

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”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/26/AR2005112601139.html

 

Sidebar:

 

“Funds in Health Contract Shifted to Pay Consultants”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/26/AR2005112601024.html

 

Day 2: Nov. 28, 2005

 

“Lavish Spending, Little Reward;

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

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/27/AR2005112701055.html

 

 

                                                                                                     DC Contracting Database:                                         

http://app.ocp.dc.gov/RUI/information/awards/all_awards.asp?radio=3