Drill down into the demographics of your area

Check out Census Reporter a great site created from the Knight News Challenge to help journalists use data from the U.S. Census. It gives you ways to search and compare data categories and geographical areas. Best of all, it easily converts the findings into eye-friendly charts and graphics. See what happened when I searched for info on my area — Humboldt County, California. This is just a small piece of what I got back:

census.reporter.humboldt

Here’s a great place for story ideas…

Check out the Solutions Story Tracker created by the Solutions Journalism Network. It is an organization dedicated to the production of stories that write about problems without hype or fear mongering or sensationalism. It’s all about writing about problems with the emphasis on solutions.

The story tracker can show you example after example of these types of stories. You might find some stories to replicate in your newsroom.

storytracker

U of Oregon students told that court data would cost them $139 thou

The Eugene Weekly in partnership with a student project out of the University of Oregon started looking into the correlations between race, homeless and criminal charges. They requested data from the courts and police.

Reporter Kenny Jacoby reported this in a story about their methodology:

In May, the Eugene police declined to provide the computer data as we had requested. Instead, the police told us we would need to examine the actual paper tickets and case files — more than 37,000 of them. We would be allowed to examine the files if the police pulled each file by hand, one by one, and only if we paid the police department’s costs for providing the documents.

The bill for this service? $139,132.50.

You can check out that story here. 

And you can check out the story Criminalizing Homelessness here.