Arrest records, census data reveal racial disparities in marijuana arrests

Many of us have read national stories about racial disparities in marijuana arrests. We wanted to tell our own readers what that looks like with local police departments and local people. We found that the disparity not only exists in our area, but is much worse than disparities reported on the national and state level. Black people in…

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Census data disproves long-standing mass migration myth in Indiana

The Journal & Coureir used U.S. Census data to look at migration between Chicago and Tippecanoe County. In recent decades, the population of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, has grown dramatically – moving the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette from comfortable small Midwestern towns to Indiana’s sixth largest metropolitan area. Fueled by the accompanying uptick in…

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Gender gap in prostitution-related arrests found in crime data

NECIR used Google Fusion Tables to map state data We knew that more women than men were arrested for prostitution-related crimes across the U.S. despite the fact that such offenses take both buyers and sellers. What we wanted to find out was how each Massachusetts town differed in arrest patterns and if that gender disparity…

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Database quantifies wasted natural gas from Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas

An interactive map shows how the volume of flared gas in Texas counties has increased over time – especially in the Eagle Ford Shale.  The energy boom that’s showering rural South Texas with money is also wasting an irreplaceable natural resource. Drive through the bustling oil patch of the Eagle Ford Shale, located about an…

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Job data, press releases used to measure effectiveness of North Carolina incentive programs

When the Great Recession reached its peak at the end of 2009, a lot of what you heard and read from news organizations about the state of the economy felt depressingly similar. Long lines at unemployment offices. Big crowds at job fairs. And everywhere, mounting horror stories from families struggling harder than ever before to…

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National database used to report on hit-and-runs in Colorado

9News map of hit-and-run injuries Click here to view It all started with an observation from 9News Denver investigative reporter Chris Vanderveen: Doesn’t it seem like there have been a lot of hit-and-runs in Colorado? That started a year-long, joint investigation by 9News and Rocky Mountain PBS I-News that included analyzing electronic databases, getting police records…

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Federal, state data used to track civil asset forfeitures in Virginia

When police seize cash, cars and other property, it’s usually taken through a legal process known as civil asset forfeiture. Critics say the system gives police a financial incentive to take property with relative ease and makes it difficult for people to get it back. We wanted to take a look at how much money…

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How to use Helium Scraper to grab data online

South Dakota lobbyist database We’ve all visited websites that contain valuable information we want to analyze, such as inspection reports, lobbying expenditures, or a list of jail inmates. We’re glad those agencies have made this information available, but as data journalists it doesn’t do us much good locked in HTML: We can’t sort, filter, sum…

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Federal education data highlights rising college costs for low-income students

If you’re shopping for a college, forget the published sticker price. Just like airline passengers on the same flight, students on the same campus can pay vastly different rates. And on the whole, those rates are increasing faster for the poorest students. That’s what a Dallas Morning News analysis of federal education data found this…

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