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Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Maryland

Spring 2004



Class Web sites:


Polls, Surveys and Public Opinion


The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press


Public Agenda




Polls for discussion of polling issues


“Newsweek Poll: And They're Off

Kerry surges to the head of the pack, beating even Bush in a hypothetical election.

But the Democratic horserace is still far from over”

Jan. 24, 2004


“Kerry, Edwards surge

Iowa Poll finds surge by Kerry, Edwards”


Jan. 18, 2004



Miscellaneous research-related links:


A cautionary tale:

Orlando Sentinel finishes report about OxyContin articles”




Melissa – Legislative branch


Common Cause's "Reporter's Guide to Money in Politics"


Roll Call


The Journalist's Toolbox: State and Local Government




Follow the Money: The Institute on Money in State Politics


The Center for Public Integrity's Document Warehouse




"Senator omits donation details, fails to report $20,000 in gifts to his campaign"

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin

June 8, 2003



Jeff – Legislative branch


Center for Responsive Politics


General Accounting Office


Federal Election Commission




Federal Election Commission


Center for Responsive Politics




“Interests, lobbyists send Louisianians on 110 trips”

Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.



 Samson – Executive branch


Center for Public Integrity


Office of Management and Budget


U.S. Dept. of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics)




"Health Bosses Grow, as Nurses, Staff Disappear"

The Sun-Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

 Jan. 11, 2004|&p_product=BX&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_text_search-0="Health%20AND%20Bosses%20AND%20Grow,%20AND%20as%20AND%20Nurses,%20AND%20Staff%20AND%20Disappear"&s_dispstring="Health%20Bosses%20Grow,%20as%20Nurses,%20Staff%20Disappear"%20AND%20date(last%20180%20days)&p_field_date-0=YMD_date&p_params_date-0=date:B,E&p_text_date-0=-180qzD&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no



Laurel – Education


Education Writer's Association


Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)




2005 Budget for the U.S. Dept. of Education


Education Week – school performance data


National Center for Education Statistics


Common Core of Data – National Center for Education Statistics




“LEARNING CURVE: Trial and Error at D.C.'s Charter Schools

Quality Uneven, Despite Popularity;

No Evidence That Achievement Tops That of Regular Schools”

The Washington Post

June 19, 2003




And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner-City Students

by Miles Corwin*



Kyle – Education


National Education Writers


National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)


U.S. Dept. of Education Press Room


Data sources:


UNESCO Statistics


NCES Statistics




"Spare the rod? Not at many public schools"

The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL

Jan. 12, 2004




Joe – Executive branch


The Federal Web Locator


The Executive Office of the President: The Office of Management and Budget


Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents




HUD User (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)


Federal Elections Committee




Sanford campaign donors land almost half of his appointments”

The State, Columbia, S.C.

Aug. 24, 2003



Peter – Law enforcement


Maryland State Police


National Archive of Criminal Justice Data


Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions


U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education


Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports




“Violent Crime Stats Startling”

Hernando Today

Hernando County, Florida

February 10, 2004




Chanelle – Law enforcement


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Dept of Justice


Maryland State Police


Federal Bureau of Investigation


Database Sources


ATF Statistics


Bureau of Justice Statistics




"Cops who abuse their wives barely pay the price"

By Ruth Teichroeb and Julie Davidow

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

July 23, 2003



Leah – Judicial system


Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Department of Justice




American Bar Association


National Law Journal


Federal Bureau of Investigation – Uniform Crime Reports


Downloadable Data


National Archive of Criminal Justice Data




“State Often Returns Foster Kids to Homes Where Alleged Sex Abuse Happened”

Michelle Krupa, Capital News Service

April 26, 2002




Ryan – Professionals


Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation


National Association of State Boards of Accountancy


American Society of Notaries


National Federation of State Medical Boards


Database links:


National Practitioner Data Bank - Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank


Pacific Information Resources/Search Systems




“Special report: State board doing little to stop reckless doctors”

Reno Gazette-Journal.

February 16, 2004



Liz – Professionals


Search Systems


Office of Safety and Health Administration



Bureau of Labor Statistics: Create Customized Tables


National Practitioner Databank



“Researching doctors can be hard task; A recent botched surgery reveals how little patients learn about doctors' pasts”

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

July 27, 2003


“Waste Cleanup May Have Human Price:  Nuclear Plant's Medical and Management Practices Questioned”

The Washington Post

Feb. 26, 2004



Sangeetha – Business


U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


North American Securities Administrators Association


National Labor Relations Board


Downloadable databases


Occupational Safety and Health Administration


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission



“The Investigators: Too Common Restaurant Practice is Costing New York City”

ABC7 Eyewitness News

April 28, 2003

Jim Hoffer




Elizabeth – Business


Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


Federal Trade Commission


National Assocation of Attorneys General


U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission



BNA Labor Databases (requires subscription but can preview)


FTC Registered Identification Number database:



"Modern-day Slavery,"

The Palm Beach Post,

Dec. 7-9, 2003,

Christine Evans, John Lantigua, Christine Stapleton and Jane Daugherty


"Sneakin' toward the weekend, workers fill roadways,"

St. Petersburg Times

Aug. 1, 2003

Matthew Waite



Linda – Nonprofits


BoardSource (formerly the National Center for Nonprofit Boards)


Council on Foundations


American Institute of Philanthropy


Internal Revenue Service




Internal Revenue Service:,,id=97186,00.html


U.S. Department of Education




“Assets on Loan”

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

February 5, 2004



Trish – Nonprofits




The Foundation Center;jsessionid=5KRVMO50VIVQEP5QALRSGXD5AAAACI2F


National Association of State Charity Officials


Maryland Secretary of State


Capital Research Center




“Area United Way's Ex-Chief Admits $500,000 Fraud”

The Washington Post

March 5, 2004


“Scholarship spending questioned;

About half of cash raised goes to administration, fund raising

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, La.

September 27, 2003




Shauna – Health care


Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations


Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services




FDA, Manufacturer and User Facility and Experience Database (MAUDE)


HHS, Office of Inspector General, Exclusions Database


JCAHO, Quality Check


MedlinePlus Databases




“Reporting Signs of Abuse”

April 20, 1999


“Plan Could Cost ‘Doctors’ Their D.C. Credentials”

The Washington Post

September 29, 2003




Daina – Health care


The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


The American Hospital Association




National Association of Health Data Organizations


Center for Disease Control

Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System


National Library of Medicine


Data sources


National Center for Health Statistics


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Statistics


FDA database reporting adverse events involving medical devices


Medicare nursing home database




Series: “Unsafe Saviors”

The Detroit News, Detroit, MI

Jan. 27-28, 2003



Mack – Insurance


Coalition Against Insurance Fraud


National Association of Insurance Commissioners


Maryland Insurance Administration


DC Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking


Data Sources


U.S. Census Bureau Health Insurance Statistics


Insurance Company Complaint Finder


Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services Insurance Division




“State goes after 'mind-boggling' insurance fraud”

 The Salt Lake Tribune,  Salt Lake City, Utah

March 24, 2004



Subodh – Financial institutions


National Credit Union Administration


Office of Thrift Supervision


Securities and Exchange Commission


American Bankers Association


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve




Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation


Federal Financial Institutions Exam Council




“Locked Out of the American Dream”

The Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn.

May 4, 2003




Ray – Financial Institutions


Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.


Office of Thrift Supervision


National Credit Union Administration


Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac)


Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)




“A good name stolen;

Identity Theft is growing rapidly nationwide and locally;

and as WNY gets more wired, experts say the problem will increase”

Buffalo News

Oct. 12, 2003



Chris – Utilities


Electric Utility Regulation By State


Maryland Public Service Commission


Federal Communications Commission




EPA Toxic Release Inventory


Energy Information Administration/Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Filings




“The Record vs. The Rhetoric: Southern Co.’s Feel Good Ads Ignore Dirty Clouds of Smoke”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

June 8, 2003




Pat – Utilities


Environmental Protection Agency


U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


North American Electric Reliability Council


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission




ECHO: EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online


FERC: Electric Quarterly Reports (EQR)




 “Billions of gallons of sewage glut river”

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

Feb. 11, 2004



Jud – Transportation


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Federal Aviation Administration




National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:  Safety Problems & Issues


National Transportation Safety Board




“The Slow Lane in Vehicle Safety”

Los Angeles Times

Dec. 5-6, 1999.



Jonathan – Transportation


U.S. Department of Transportation


Federal Aviation Administration


National Transportation Safety Board


Office of Hazardous Materials Safety


U.S. Coast Guard


General Accounting Office


Maritime Administration


Federal Railroad Administration




Airport Data and Contact Information


Traffic Records System


General Accounting Office reports


Aviation Accident Database


Bureau of Transportation Statistics




 “Special report: Experts call for modernized maintenance”

USA Today, March 2, 2003


“Fewer crashes caused by pilots”

USA Today, March 2, 2003




Jennifer – Environment


Society of Environmental Journalists


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water Data and Databases


National Response Center




“Fewer Polluters Punished Under Bush Administration, Records Show”

Knight Ridder Newspapers, Dec. 8, 2003



Beth – The disadvantaged


The Urban Institute


Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families


National School Lunch Program


Administration for Children and Families: Services for Families


U.S. Census Bureau-Poverty Thresholds




Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services


National Center for Children in Poverty




"Soldiers of Misfortune:

At Bottom Rung of Poverty, More Homeless Veterans Seeking Help"

The Washington Post, March 30, 2004


"Limited park programs leave teens at loose ends:

Poor, minority communities fail to get fair share"

Chicago Tribune, September 21, 2003,1,1479400.story




Farinaz – International investigations


CIA Factbook


Government Documents Library


Global Yellow Pages


Trade Statistics




International Trade Administration


Federation of American Scientists (arms trade)


U.S. Census International Programs Center




“HIDDEN THREAT: Mexican candy

 - a seemingly harmless indulgence can contain a poison that is especially dangerous to children.”

The Orange County Register, April 25, 2004

(First part in a series called “Toxic Treats,”

reporting on the Register’s investigation on lead in candy being imported from Mexico)



Karen – Science and scientists


American Physical Society


Scientific American


Science - hot topics and links to publications


American Association for the Advancement of Science


Online cell biology dictionary


Los Alamos National Laboratory – search tool for chemistry-related facts


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


NASA Watch




U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


National Science Foundation


National Institutes of Health grants


Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report


U.S. Geological Survey




“Nanotech Poses Big Unknown To Science; As World Shrinks, Concerns Multiply”

The Washington Post, February 1, 2004



Carlos – International




United Nations


World Trade Organization


Amnesty International


IRE resources site for international reporters


Committee to Protect Journalists




“Debtor Nation”

The Nation, April 22, 2004




Charis – The disadvantaged



Administration for Children and Families


National Center on Poverty Law


Welfare Information Network



U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Homelessness




Food and Nutrition Services: Food Stamps Program


U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics




“Desperate bargain: Custody for care, Parents give up kids as last resort”

The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 21, 2004




Kia – Environment


Environmental Protection Agency


Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund


Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Society of Environmental Journalists






EPA Water System Database




“Toxic Air Raises Unhealthy Odds:

 Lung Cancer Rate in Industrial Hub Far Exceeds Marion County’s As a Whole”

The Indianapolis Star, February 22, 2004