Reporter's Toolbox

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Toolbox is a biweekly column focused on the world of data journalism, with an emphasis on data tools, techniques and database resources that journalists can use to improve their environmental reporting. 

 

March 27, 2020

  • If reporting on the coronavirus crisis is off your usual beat, Reporter's Toolbox has help — a compilation of resource guides for reporters covering this historic public health emergency. Check out useful links from journalism associations and other news media bodies, as well as info about open information under COVID-19, international journalism resources and more.

March 18, 2020

  • As our elected representatives throw themselves into a frenzy of election-year legislative action, reporters can easily fall behind on key environmental and energy measures moving through Congress or state legislatures. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox offers up a way to stay on top of the process — by using the plethora of available bill trackers. 

March 4, 2020

February 19, 2020

  • 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.

February 5, 2020

  • 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.

January 22, 2020

  • 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.”

December 4, 2019

  • 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.

November 20, 2019

October 30, 2019

  • 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.

October 16, 2019

  • 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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