Reporters Toolbox

Data Project Details Nation's Disintegrating Dams

Hundreds of U.S. dams are at risk, and the Associated Press undertook a massive two-year-long investigative reporting project to gather and sort data that would identify those presenting the greatest hazards. In this guest Reporter’s Toolbox, AP data journalist Michelle Minkoff details the news service’s painstaking process, its striking findings and the impact of its reporting. Plus, key lessons learned for other data news projects.

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Making News When Your Ship (Tracker) Has Come In

It may be time to dive into the deep end of the ocean for environmental stories, where big vessels and small are often involved in spills, illegal fishing or more. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox looks into emerging ship-tracker services that offer data to help trace the source of environmental damage, and that can help create some eye-popping visuals.

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New Resources Help Improve Climate Coverage

As public concern about climate change grows, journalists face tough challenges in telling the story well, argues one climate communications expert. But as the climate beat takes on increased urgency, new means are becoming available to better report it, including localized content, explainers and workshops. Tap into these expanding climate resources. Plus, tips on climate “talk.”

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Data Sources a Jumping-Off Point for Radon Stories

If radon is the forgotten environmental health story, per our recent TipSheet, then at least journalists ready to report have some good resources to do it. Our latest Reporter’s Toolbox details several databases that provide invaluable info on the problem, including a new comprehensive, and mappable, database from the Centers for Disease Control.

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‘Red List’ Is Among Top Data Resources on Threatened Species

When it comes to rare species, good news can be equally rare. But that makes their stories all the more compelling to tell. And that’s why our latest Reporter’s Toolbox details a leading database, soon to be updated, called Red List. Plus, other species databases for reporters.

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News Can Net Eyeballs By Turning Dweebish Data Into Magic Maps

When it comes to telling environment and energy stories, especially about place and scale, data visualizations can turn an average story into a standout. Reporter’s Toolbox takes a look at some recent examples of inspiring data-mapping projects that provide insight into everything from auto emissions and floods to vanishing rivers and whipping winds.

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Turning Whistleblowers Into Headlines Takes Skill, Patience, Luck

The latest impeachment scandal engulfing the White House demonstrates how a big story can be triggered by a whistleblower. But it’s not just in the world of politics. Whistleblowers can bring hidden stories into the spotlight in the environment and energy fields too, including one involving Energy Secretary Rick Perry (left). The latest Reporter’s Toolbox looks at how reporters can work smartly with whistleblowers, with advice and resources.

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Pipeline Data Offer Story Leads

Compelling pipeline stories can be found throughout the United States, but first you need to know where the pipelines are. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox looks at the best source of pipeline data, which offers a wealth of government information on location, incidents and enforcement. But there are caveats as well.

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Trailing the Wind, With Massive Turbine Spreadsheet

Wind turbines are everywhere in the United States these days. And now a growing database allows you to track them down by the thousands so you can better report the burgeoning wind energy beat. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox tells you who’s behind this invaluable database, plus smart ways to use it for your coverage.

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Tracking Local Land & Water Conservation Fund Sites

Permanent funding could soon be in store for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program that buys local land and water conservation areas. That means local stories about nearby recreation areas may abound. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox explains more, and points to databases and other resources to help locate those projects.

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