Hurricane Irma left millions of Floridians in the dark, while Maria stripped Puerto Ricans of power, potentially for months. Can the electric grid be made less vulnerable? Our Backgrounder has a dozen-plus angles to jump-start your power reporting, from stronger poles to microgrids. Plus, hurricane coverage resources.
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Proposed budget reductions for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could undermine the work of agencies as varied as National Weather Service and Sea Grant, as well as a satellite network informing much climate research. The latest TipSheet outlines NOAA stories that may emerge ... or vanish.SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:Region:
Another database upgrade that will help environmental journalists is available from the group Southeast Coal Ash. This database site covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
U.S. EPA's refinement of ECHO's search engine for drinking water violations should make it possible for journalists to ask much more sophisticated and complex questions — but the usual caveats apply.
The Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy publishes leaked copies of Congressional Research Service research papers. Here are a few recent ones of use to environmental journalists.
Investigative journalism is hardly about paper documents anymore. The cutting edge today is more likely to be requests for emails, as well as text messages, chats and other electronic communications such as Slack. This big challenge was front and center at the recent meeting of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
Data journalism is in again. Some new databases, including EPA's on beaches and USGS' on dam removals, can help environmental reporters find and investigate local stories.
For environmental reporters, pipelines are a frequent source of major news stories. Enterprising journalists may want to find nearby pipelines before they leak or blow up. The National Pipeline Mapping System is a basic tool that can help.
The availability of government data has soared over the last decade — offering a huge opportunity for watchdog journalists to find stories that advance the public interest. The environmental beat is the Saudi Arabia of data (yes, that means vast, rich, accessible, and untapped reserves).
The database, which covers a list of some 689 toxic chemicals, includes self-reported information about dangerous chemicals handled and released at industrial facilities during 2014, the latest year for which data is available. Companies reported the 2014 totals in mid-2015.