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Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Maryland

Fall 2006


Student presentation Web sites

and Web sites for issues in the news:


Past semesters:








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







D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) – searchable database:



“Liveliest D.C. Neighborhoods Also Jumping With Robberies”

By Allison Klein and Dan Keating

The Washington Post

Friday, October 13, 2006; Page A01





“City agrees to settlement in parking garage records case;

After five years, a magazine in Spokane, Wash.,

gets a check from city leaders who also publicly apologize for violating state law.”

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Oct. 5, 2006







Rick - Education


Education Writers Association


U.S. Department of Education research and statistics


Public Agenda


Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families


Searchable Database:


Maryland State Department of Education


Education Commission on the States


Downloadable Database:


National Center for Education Statistics



“Schools That Work”

By Megan Boldt, MaryJo Sylwester, Meggen Lindsay and Doug Belden

The Pioneer Press, St. Paul, MN

Sunday, June 4, 2006


“Pioneer Press Analysis”




Matilda – Environment


Environmental Protection Agency


EPA’s Envirofacts Website.


Society of Environmental Journalists


The IRE Center for Science, Heath and Environmental Journalism


Alphabetical list of Databases and Software


Searchable Database


The Toxic Release Inventory


Downloadable Database


Clean Air Act Database Browser




Marshall Plant State's Top Mercury Polluter”

By Ken Ward Jr.

The Charleston Gazette, Charleston, WV

August 14, 2005

(class Web site logon and password required)


Web Links for Class Discussion


Cleanup of Mercury-Contaminated Chlor-alkali Sites




Scott – Transportation


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Air Transport Association of America


Federal Railroad Administration


U.S. Department of Transportation


National Transportation Safety Board


Searchable Database:


Bureau of Transportation Statistics


Downloadable Database:


Federal Railroad Administration: Office of Safety Analysis




“Death on the Tracks”

By Walt Bogdanich

The New York Times

December 30, 2004




Andrea – Health Care


World Health Organization


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


National Institutes of Health


Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


Food and Drug Administration


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services



Searchable Databases


National Practitioner Databank/Healthcare Integrity and Protection Databank


Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Databases

(Includes searches for licensed physicians and healthcare providers)


Downloadable Databases


Medicare Downloadable Databases

(Includes databases for dialysis facilities, nursing homes, etc.)


FDA Manufacturer and User Facility Experience (MAUDE)

(Documents “adverse events” involving medical devices)


CDC National Center for Health Statistics




“Some Dentists Barred Elsewhere Practice Here”

Part I of the series: “Toothless: Washington’s Lax Dental Oversight”

By Michelle Nicolosi

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Seattle, Washington

October 3, 2005



George – The Judicial System


National Mental Health Association


Professional Bail Agents of the United States


The U.S. Parole Commission


Searchable Databases:


The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory


Federal Bureau of Prisons


Downloadable Database:


The Nation Center for State Courts




“Seattle Blacks Twice as Likely to get Tickets: 324,000 traffic citations analyzed.”

By Andrew Garber

The Seattle Times, Seattle, WA

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

(class Web site logon and password required)


Club owners fight new adult entertainment rules.”

By George A. Jackson IV

The Greenbelt Gazette, Greenbelt, MD

Thurday, September 21, 2006




Sylvie – Law enforcement


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


The National Consortium for Justice Information Statistics


Federal Law Enforcement Training Center


National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD)


Bureau of Justice Statistics Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics


Searchable Database


Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies


Downloadable Database

U.S. Department of Justice-Bureau of Justice Statistics




“Speed Trap:  Who Gets a Ticket, Who Gets a Break?”

By Bill Dedman and Francie Latour

The Boston Globe

July 20, 2003



Laquasha – Executive Branch


FirstGov.—The U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal


State and Local Government on the Net


Maryland State Government Page


U.S. Government Printing Office


Searchable Databases


D. C. Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP)


U.S. Government Printing Office—GPO Access Online Resources


The White House


Downloadable Databases




U.S. Census Bureau—Federal, State, and Local Governments




“District Dodges Spending Laws:

Companies Snare Contracts With Connections, Not Competition.”

By  Dan Keating and David S. Fallis

Washington Post; Washington, D.C.

November 27, 2005



Aliza – Legislative Branch


Center for Public Integrity


Congressional Budget Office


General Accounting Office


Library of Congress, Congressional Links


Searchable database:


Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbyist Database


Downloadable database:


Federal Election Commission, Downloadable Data Files





"For Murphy, Good Government Means Good Business" from the series "Boss Hog, North Carolina Pork Revolution,"

by Pat Stith and Joby Warrick,

The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), Feb.22, 1995.




Hortense - Nonprofits and charities


Searchable databases


Foundation Center


Charity Navigator


National Center for Charity Statistics




Internal Revenue Service


Downloadable databases


Department of Justice in the state of Oregon

 Oregon downloadable database


Internal Revenue Service




National Association of State Charity Officials


BBB Wise Giving Alliance


Council on Foundations


State Charity Databases on the web


Maryland Secretary of State Website




“Some officers of charities steer assets to themselves”

By Matt Carroll and Globe Staff

The Boston Globe, Boston Mass

October 9, 2003




Hallie – Business


Searchable databases:


PR Newswire, through United Business Media


Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway site


National Labor Relations Bureau


U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


Downloadable databases:


U.S. Federal Election Commission


U.S. Department of Labor




“At a Texas Foundry, an Indifference to Life”

By David Barstow and Lowell Bergman

with additional reporting by James Sandler and Robin Stein

The New York Times

January 8, 2003



Hillary – Real estate


The Bureau of Land Management


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


Public Housing Authorities Directors Association


Online Database:


Research Property Search


Downloadable Database:


Assisted Housing (HUD)




“Home Invasion: Owners, renters, entangled in real estate nightmare”

The Daily News, Longview, Washington

Nov. 19, 2004



Taya – The disadvantaged


The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service:


Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families, University of Maryland:


American Public Human Services Association:


The Federal Office of Family Assistance:


Searchable databases


The U.S. Census Bureau


The Finance Project Federal Funding catalog



Downloadable databases


The Office of Inspector General’s Exclusion Program:


The U.S. Census Bureau:




“From birth, hardships begin assault”

By John Archibald and Jeff Hansen.

The Birmingham News, Birmingham, Ala.

July,28 2002




Anju – International


CIA – World Fact Book


Investigative Reporters and Editors


Human Rights Watch


U.S. Department of Labor  - Bureau of Labor Statistics

Statistical Sites on the World Wide Web




Searchable Database


The World Trade Organization


Downloadable Database


U.S. Census Bureau – International Database




‘The Toll of War’

The Dayton Daily News

October 24, 2004

By Russell Carollo, Larry Kaplow, Mike Wagner and Ken McCall

(class Web site logon and password required)



Esther – Licensed Professionals


Maryland Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing


Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (Professional Associations)


State-level Department of Human Resources (Alabama)


Searchable database:


National Child Care Information Center

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services


Library of Congress – Thomas


National Practitioner Data Bank – Public Data Files


Downloadable databases:


Internal Revenue Service


National Association for Regulatory Administration




“Religion Trumps Regulation As Legal Exemptions Grow”

By Diana B. Henriques,

computer analysis conducted by Andrew Lehren,

online research assistance provided by Donna Anderson

The New York Times

October 8, 2006

(class Web site logon and password required)



Patricia -- Insurance


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners


The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud


The Insurance Services Office


The National Association of Compensation Insurance Inc.


The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)


The Fraud Defense Network


The Maryland Insurance Administration


The U.S. Census Bureau


Searchable Database


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


Downloadable Database


“List of Excluded Individual and Entities”

Office of the Inspector General

Federal Department of Health and Human Services.


The U.S. Census Bureau




 New York Medicaid Fraud May Reach Into Billions,”

By Clifford J. Levy and Michael Luo

The New York Times, New York, NY

July 18, 2005





Also by Clifford Levy:


“Broken Homes,” a year-long series

By Clifford J. Levy, the New York Times


“A Final Destination: For Mentally Ill, Death and Misery,”

By Clifford J. Levy,

The New York Times, New York, NY

April 28, 2002


“Where Hope Dies: Here, Life Is Squalor and Chaos,”

By Clifford J. Levy

The New York Times, New York, NY

April 29, 2002


“The Operators: Voiceless, Defenseless and a Source of Cash,”

By Clifford J. Levy

The New York Times, New York, NY

April 30,2002