Reporters Toolbox

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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Finding Record Temps for Summer Heat

For environmental journalists covering this summer’s record-high temperatures, finding accurate data on local temperature extremes is key. Our latest Reporter’s Toolbox helps you locate the source of local data via the National Weather Service, then walks you through how to pinpoint your area’s numbers for high temperatures and for heat-related extremes.

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Greenhouse Gas Inventory Key Source for Local Climate Change Stories

A long-standing EPA inventory of greenhouse gasses has been gussied up of late, making it easier than ever to comb the data for global warming stories in your community. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox continues its new data journalism focus with a look at this resource, and how to use the info in it smartly. 

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Database Helps Track PFAS Drinking Water Contamination

Millions of people across the United States are believed to be drinking PFAS-contaminated water. And a growing database could prove an invaluable resource for environmental journalists trying to get a handle on that public health risk. Our latest biweekly Reporter’s Toolbox, recently refocused on data journalism tools and techniques, explains how to tap the expanding PFAS data.

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FED Tool Tracks Pollution on Federal Lands

A revamped Reporter’s Toolbox begins today with a new focus on data resources for environmental journalists. The now biweekly column starts with a look at a massive database designed for federal land managers that reporters can use to scan dozens of pollution data sets about air quality and more in parks, forests and other federal lands.

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Using Social Media for Storytelling

Find ways to enhance your digital storytelling with the first in a series of Reporter's Toolbox columns that look at the new generation of quick-to-learn, easy-to-use techniques. This week, we look at powerful (and free) tools found on some of the biggest social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. 

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