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Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Maryland

Summer 2004



Student presentation Web sites:



Mike – Executive branch




CDC/NIOSH:  Mine Safety and Health Administration stats


National Agricultural Statistics Service


Federal Inspectors General


State Administrative Law Resources


Project on Government Oversight - federal contractor misconduct database


“The Invisible Agencies: They Keep Fading, and 9/11 Didn’t Help”

Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 2002, p. 57-59.




“Emergency funds spent to replace beach sand”

Gilbert M. Gaul, The Washington Post, May 29, 2004.




Bernie – Financial institutions


The Federal Reserve’s National Information Center


The American Banker




Data to download:


National Credit Union Administration


FDIC – bank data




 “The New Redlining”

Penny Loeb, Warren Cohen and Constance Johnson, U.S. News and World Report

April 17, 1995



K – Health care


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Center for Drug Evaluation and Research


Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation


Alan Guttmacher Institute


Health Services Cost Review Commission



“A Dangerous Place: Assisted Living in Virginia

David Fallis, The Washington Post

May 23-26, 2004




Oda – Education


National Center For Education Stats


U.S. Dept of Education


Institute of Education Sciences


Council of Chief State School Officers


Education Writers Association




“Trouble on campus:  Enforcement cited for high rankings at Colorado schools”

Burt Hubbard, Rocky Mountain News

March 8, 2004,1299,DRMN_15_2712250,00.html



Ryan – Transportation


National Transportation Safety Board


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Federal Railroad Administration



Federal Aviation Administration, National Aviation Safety Data Analysis Center


Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Data Program




“Injuries, Deaths by Train Up in State”

Sharon Bernstein, Los Angeles Times

June 21, 2004,1,142595.story?coll=la-headlines-california



Bianca – Nonprofits




National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy




Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh


National Center for Charitable Statistics




“Investigation uncovers questionable breast cancer 'charity' ”

Robin Guess, ABC Action News [TampaSt. Petersburg, FL]

Feb. 10, 2003




Eric – Utilities


Energy Information Administration


U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Environmental Protection Agency




“The record vs. the rhetoric;

Southern Co.'s feel-good ads ignore dirty clouds of smoke”

Carrie Teegardin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

June 8, 2003



Other sites for class discussions


Nursing home information for data analysis projects


Nursing Home Compare:  Detailed Information for each Quality Measure

           Percent of Residents Whose Need for Help With Daily Activities Has Increased

           Percent of Residents Who Have Moderate to Severe Pain

           Percent of High-Risk Residents Who Have Pressure Sores

           Percent of Low-Risk Residents Who Have Pressure Sores

           Percent of Residents Who Were Physically Restrained

           Percent of Residents Who are More Depressed or Anxious

           Percent of Low-Risk Residents Who Lose Control of Their Bowels or Bladder

           Percent of Residents Who Have/Had a Catheter Inserted and Left in Their Bladder

           Percent of Residents Who Spent Most of Their Time in Bed or in a Chair

           Percent of Residents Whose Ability to Move About in and Around Their Room Got Worse

           Percent of Residents with a Urinary Tract Infection

           Percent of Short-Stay Residents With Delirium

           Percent of Short-Stay Residents Who Had Moderate to Severe Pain

           Percent of Short-Stay Residents With Pressure Sores


Information about Pressure Sores


Nursing Home Quality Initiative




CMS News

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 22, 2004


“Final Draft of Technical Information for the Quality Measures included

 in the Nursing Home Quality Initiative / October 22, 2002


Sites dealing with issues in experimentation on patients



Thinking about data

(courtesy of Eric)


“How Good Are Your Numbers” []




Polling and surveys


“20 Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results”

By Sheldon R. Gawiser and G. Evans Witt


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


Database issues


“Justice Department Says It Can't Share Lobbying Data Because Computer System Will Crash”

Ted Bridis, Associated Press

Jun 29, 2004



National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR)


Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)


“New 2003 Data: 625 Terrorism Deaths, Not 307”

Peter Slevin, The Washington Post

June 23, 2004


John O. Brennan, a 23-year CIA veteran who oversaw the effort, took "personal responsibility." He blamed antiquated computers and personnel shortages for the errors and dismissed suggestions that the administration purposely fabricated the figures.”


Speaking with reporters yesterday, Powell pointed to "computational and accounting errors." He added: "The American people can have confidence in what we are doing and what we have done."


Brennan, for years a senior aide to CIA Director George J. Tenet, cited confusion as the task was shifted to the TTIC. He pointed to an "exceptionally antiquated database." A key supervisor departed in December and was not replaced, he said. Private contractors rotated in and out.


Brennan also cited "inattention." Information was wrongly entered into computers. No attacks that occurred after Nov. 11, 2003, were included, and neither the CIA nor the State Department noticed.



Timely open-records issues:


Reporters Committee for Freedom of Press


“Open records audit shows 50 percent compliance;

Public employees in Ohio filled open records requests as required by state law only half of the time,

according to an audit sponsored by the Ohio Coalition for Open Government”

News Media Update, Reporters Committee for Freedom of Press

June 10, 2004


“County police not releasing all rape data”

C. Benjamin Ford, [Montgomery County News]

June 23, 2004