Course home page            Syllabus           Resources


Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Maryland

Spring 2007


Student presentation Web sites

and Web sites for issues in the news:


Past semesters






Gena – Education


The Educator’s Reference Desk – Evaluation

(formerly as listed on p. 202 in the text)


Education Commission of the States


National Education Association


Searchable Database


ERIC – Education Resources Information Center


Downloadable Database


National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data (CCD) Data Files




“Teachers who fail:

A survey of certification test scores yields alarming results”

By Chris Davis and Matthew Doig

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fl.

December 12, 2004


“How we did this story”

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fl.

December 12, 2004


“State fights to prevent access to teacher information”

By Chris Davis and Matthew Doig

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fl.

December 12, 2004




Camelia - Education


National Education Writers Association


US Department of Education


Public Agenda




Searchable Database


The Educator’s Reference Desk


Downloadable Database


National Center for Education Statistics


National Library of Education


Library of Education Research



“Teachers who fail; A survey of certification-test scores yields alarming results”

Chris Davis and Matthew Doig, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

December 12, 2004


Related stories

“How we did this story”


“State fights to prevent access to teacher information”


“Measuring a teacher's knowledge”


“Poor schools can't keep good teachers”





What is a database:




Brandon – Environment


Environmental Protection Agency


Society of Environmental Journalists


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Status of Wetlands


Searchable database:


EPA Envirofacts Warehouse


Downloadable database:


EPA Endangered Species Protection Program Database




“Special Report: Vanishing Wetlands”

Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite, St. Petersburg Times

May, 2005





Dan – Environment


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Maryland Department of the Environment


St. Johns River Water Management District Page


Searchable databases:


Oregon Department of Environmental Quality


Downloadable databases:


Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection




"When Dry is Wet"

by Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite

The St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 17, 2006


Series:  “Vanishing Wetlands”


Uplink article on the wetlands project:


From Matt Waite’s Web site: “A couple of wetlands bits and pieces”


Blog comments on "When Dry is Wet":




Danny – Transportation


U.S. Department of Transportation


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Transportation Security Administration


Florida Department of Transportation


Searchable Database


National Transportation Safety Board


Downloadable Database


Federal Highway Administration Records System




"Sneakin' toward the weekend, workers fill roadways.

Yes, the rush hour does come earlier Friday for many workers, bay area traffic statistics show."

By Matthew Waite

St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, FL

August 1, 2003




Mike – Health care


National Association of health Data Organizations


Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations


Medline Plus


Department of Veterans Affairs


Searchable Database:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Downloadable Database:


US Food and Drug Administration




“Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration at Army's Top Medical Facility”

Dana Priest and Anne Hull

The Washington Post

Feb. 18, 2007




Andy – Health care


The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


The Kaiser Family Foundation’s


Searchable databases:


Maryland Board of Physicians – doctor profile


JCAHO - Search for and compare their reports


Downloadable database:


The Office on Women’s Health – Quick Health Data Online (for men and women)




“A Hidden Shame: Death in Georgia's Mental Hospitals”

Part 1: “Sarah Crider was among 115 patients in the state's care who might have lived.”

Alan Judd and Andy Miller

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jan. 7, 2007


“About this series”




Kenny – Transportation


Federal Aviation Administration 

aircraft inquiry:


Maryland State Highway Administration


Bureau of Transportation Statistics


Searchable database:


National Highway Transportation Safety Administration

Office of Defects Investigation


Downloadable database:


Bureau of Transportation Statistics

National Transportation Atlas Database




 “Highway Robbery”

Kimberly Kindy and Natalya Shulyakovskaya

The Orange County Register

Oct. 15, 2006.


How the analysis was done


Link to the follow-up stories, charts, graphics and video




Bernie – legislative branch


Federal Election Commission


Center for Responsive Politics


Center for Public Integrity


THOMAS: Legislative Information for the Public


Government Accountability Office


Congressional Budget Office


Searchable Databases


Maryland Campaign Finance Database


Open Secrets’ Databases


Center for Public Integrity’s Power Trips


Downloadable Databases


FEC’s Downloadable Databases




“Money Trail Leads to Bush Judges”

By Will Evans

October 31, 2006


“For Clinton, New Wealth In Speeches”

By John Solomon and Matthew Mosk

The Washington Post

February 23, 2007




Heather – Legislative branch


 Federal Election Commission


THOMAS: Legislative information from the Library of Congress


Center for Public Integrity


Center for Responsive Politics


Government Accountability Office


Congressional Budget Office


Searchable Database


The Center for Public Integrity's "Our Private Legislatures" database: Outside ties and financial disclosures


Downloadable Database


Federal Election Commission's Downloadable Data Files




"The Rise of  'Revolving-Door' Consultants: Center identifies firms both advising politicians and lobbying them"

By Sandy Bergo

The Center for Public Integrity

Dec. 21, 2006


"A Jackpot From Indian Gaming Tribes"

By Susan Schmidt

The Washington Post

Feb. 22, 2004


More on this story:

"Investigating Abramoff -- Special Report"

(Links to all Post coverage)


"Getting the Story on Jack Abramoff"

By Deborah Howell

The Washington Post

Jan. 15, 2006


"Lessons Learned from Pulitzers 2006: About the Craft, About the Organization"

By Bill Mitchell

Poynter Online

May 22, 2006




Robert – Nonprofits and Charities


Foundation Center



Tax Information for Charities & Other Non-Profits




Charity Navigator


Better Business Bureau



Searchable Database:

Maryland Charities Database



Downloadable Databases:

National Center for Charitable Statistics Data Web




Clintons’ Charity Not Listed On Senate Disclosure Forms”

The Washington Post

Tuesday, February 27, 2007; A1

By John Solomon and Matthew Mosk


Related Items:


“Building a Foundation”

The Washington Post

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The Clinton Family Foundation’s Tax Forms











“For Clinton, New Wealth in Speeches”

The Washington Post

Friday, February 23, 2007; A1

By John Solomon and Matthew Mosk





Rachel – Executive branch


The National Governors Association


The National Association of Counties


The National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers


Searchable Databases


Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents


The Federal Register


Downloadable database


U.S Census Page, Federal, State and Local Governments




“District Dodges Spending Laws”

Dan Keating and David S. Fallis

The Washington Post

November 27, 2005





Rob – Nonprofits


IRS:  Tax information for charities and nonprofits


The Foundation Center


The National Committee For Responsible Philanthropy


The Independent Sector


Searchable Database:


Guidestar's nonprofit database


Downloadable Database:


SOI Tax Stats: Exempt Organizations,,id=97186,00.html





"Food for the Taking: Tons of donated items winding up in the hands of questionable charities"

Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

Feb. 6, 2005


Related stories:


"Food bank practices more loose than first disclosed"

Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

Feb. 27, 2005

(requires logon and password for class data site)


"The hunger market: Critics: Nation's dominant food bank cares more about bottom line than feeding poor"

Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

Aug. 18, 2005


Food Bank Timeline



Annie – Real Estate


The Urban Land Institute


The National Council of State Housing Agencies


United Homeowners Association


Searchable Database


The News-Press Real Estate Database


Downloadable Database


Fair Market Rents (HUD)




“Housing Decline Hits Area Unevenly: Losses relatively few, while some sellers report large profits”

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

The Baltimore Sun

February 25, 2007,0,6231695.story




Michelle - Real Estate


American Society of Home Inspectors


The Bureau of Land Management


The National Low-Income Housing Coalition


Online Database:


Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation


Downloadable Databases:


Hud's Office of Housing


Hud User




"Housing agency is an ATM for developers"

By Debbie Cenziper

The Miami Herald

July 23, 2006



Rachael – World of the disadvantaged


American Public Human Services Association


The Finance Project


Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families


Searchable database:


The U.S. General Accounting Office


Downloadable database:


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services




"Tempting Fate: Seeking Safe Ground"

Sacramento Bee

by Phillip Reese

Jan. 22, 2006




Adi – International


United Nations


World Health Organization


World Bank


World Trade Organization


Amnesty International


Human Rights Watch


Transparency International


CIA Factbook


National Archives


Federation of American Scientists


United Press International – International Intelligence


Searchable Databases


Telephone Directories


World E-mail Directory


Transparency International’s Corruption Online Research and Information System (CORIS) database


Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfer- Import/ Export, Black Market, Country Profiles


Downloadable Databases


U.S. Census International Database


Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Arms Transfer Database



“A Silence in the Afghan Mountains;

The concealment of two detainee deaths paints a troubling picture of abuse by U.S. Special Forces units deployed to the country.”

By Kevin Sack and Craig Pyes,

The Los Angeles Times

September 24, 2006,1,3357623.story?page=1&coll=la-util-asia


“Death on the job”

By Thomas Maier


July 22, 2001,0,5419162.story?coll=ny-li-bigpix




Michael – Licensed Professionals


American Bar Association:


Maryland Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing:


National Society of Professional Engineers:


Searchable database:

AMA DoctorFinder:


Downloadable database:

Diversity in State Courts:



“Masking malpractice cases: Disregarding the symptoms”

By Fred Shulte

The Baltimore Sun

Dec. 18, 2005.,1,3848626.special?ctrack=1&cset=true



Robert – Insurance


Coalition Against Insurance Fraud


Insurance Information Institute


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners


Searchable Database

U.S Census Bureau/Health Insurance


Downloadable Database

Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services





New York Medicaid Fraud May Reach Into Billions”


By Clifford J. Levy and Michael Luo

 The New York Times

July 18, 2005




Kate - Financial Institutions


The National Credit Union Administration


The Office of Thrift Supervision


Securities Investor Protection Corporation


Searchable Database


Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR


Downloadable Database


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's database of deposit balances for commercial and savings banks

Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) collects the same data for savings institutions.




"Foreclosing on the American Dream"

By Lisa Hammersly Munn, Binyamin Applebaum and Ted Mellnik

The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, N.C.

Series started Jan. 15, 2006





Zahid – Judicial system


National Center for state courts


Internet Law Library


Federal Bureau of Prisons


American Fact Finder


University of Maryland Library for LexisNexis




U.S bureau of Justice Statistics


U.S. Department of Justice





“ ‘Protected’ Children Died as Government Did Little”

By Sari Horwitz, Scott higham, Sara Cohen

The Washington Post

Sept. 9, 2001

(requires logon and password for class data site)



The four-part series, which won a Pulitzer Prize

(Story links are gone but links to graphics work)




Danielle – Law enforcement


Federal Law Enforcement Training Center


Police Complaint Center


U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration


Federal Bureau of Investigations


Searchable database


Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services


Downloadable database


U.S. Department of Justice




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

By Allison Klein and Dan Keating

The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.

October 13, 2006




Tamra – International


Searchable databases           


World Health Organization Core Health Indicators:


U.S. Census Bureau International Database


Downloadable database


World Trade Organization 2006 International Trade Statistics


Useful websites for reporters


Securities and Exchange Commission Office of International Affairs:


International Monetary Fund


CIA World Factbook:




“The Cost of Gold”

Part 3: “Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste


The New York Times

December 27, 2005





Google and access to public records in four states, including Virginia



Prince George’s County – Geographic Information Systems Portal

Home page:


Police - Crime Mapping:


Police:  Beats






“Governor to Talk Up StateStat”

The Washington Post, April 22, 2007

Metro, C-06


“O'Malley installing StateStat;

Statistics-based management is coming to Md. Government”

The Baltimore Sun, Feb 12, 2007


StateStat legislation:  fiscal and policy note



School field trips:  The first-day story:

(requires class logon and password)


Reporting on budgest:  Sun analysis of Baltimore school budget,0,4394684.story?coll=bal-home-headlines



Official explanations:  A work in progress



Walter Reed

Links to stories

AJR interview with Dana Priest and Anne Hull


AP:  Public records being removed from public view:



Data on federal prosecutions


Inmate Database

Orange County Jail,

Orange County, Florida



United States Patent and Trademark Office


Patents – University of Maryland


GAO:  Government Accountability Office:

Home page:

Search reports by topic, agency, or date:

Try searching for investigated agencies on this page:  (e.g.: type “police” in the search box)

Try searching for words in report titles, abstracts or subjects on this page:

Featured issues:

Reports from the most recent week:


Bureau of Transportation Statistics

National Transportation Atlas Database


Numbers, in context, become viral video on the Web:

Tracking down the story of “Did You Know”

( didyouknow.wmv ) (source of viral version) (viral version) (search for: Karl Fisch) (Original version) (link back to the first link)

(Google – who’s posting links to the video)







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