Updated data on home mortgage applications now available from NICAR

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) database has just been updated in the NICAR Data Library. Loan application records for 2013 are now available.  What’s in it? This Act requires all banks, savings and loans, savings banks and credit unions with assets of more than $33 million and offices in metropolitan areas to report mortgage…

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Behind the Story: New Jersey reporter finds inconsistencies in 2008 death investigation

Chris Baxter Chris Baxter and NJ Advance Media wrestled out a compelling and untold story, let the digital presentation take the lead and came away with a “smashing” investigative success. Using a system he developed to keep tabs on lawsuits involving state police, Baxter came upon the stifled story of Kenwin Garcia, a Newark man…

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Suggest a database and help expand the NICAR Data Library

NICAR is looking to add new data sets to its collection, and we’re interested in your suggestions. We’re looking for national, multi-state, or multi-country data sets that are potentially valuable to reporters and are not easily accessible. Our goal is to enable access to and use of important data, and we need help identifying targets…

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NICAR Data Library to lower prices, offer free databases

The NICAR Database Library will be implementing some changes in the coming months: The first of these is a reduction in what we charge IRE members for most of our databases. Additionally, a handful of databases will be free to IRE members​.  While the amount of work we put into each database remains the same, we…

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Five databases at NICAR now offered for free to members

Among some other changes happening at the NICAR Data Library (go here to read more about them), we are now providing five databases for free to IRE members: Federal Election Commission’s Federal Campaign Contributions, updated weekly, contains campaign contribution information for all candidates seeking federal office and all federal political action committees.  The individual contributions table includes…

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Behind the Story: How USA TODAY pieced together a confidential FBI database to count fugitives who go free

Brad Heath Lamont Pride was a wanted man the day he fatally shot a New York City police officer during a 2011 robbery. Officials had already passed up opportunities to lock up Pride, who was wanted in connection with a North Carolina shooting. And when the fugitive appeared in a Brooklyn court on a drug…

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AUDIO: Using data to cover hazmat pollution

By Hannah Schmidt Journalists Denise Malan, Ben Poston and Tim Wheeler all used data to create stories on hazardous materials and the environment. The three discussed state and national databases that track pollution and hazardous waste at the NICAR Conference in Baltimore. NICAR offers a hazardous waste database. Malan described how to use it and what…

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Getting the widest impact out of your software project

Last week at the 2013 CAR Conference, DocumentCloud’s Lead Developer Ted Han joined a panel discussing how to get the widest impact out of a software project.  Reporter’s Lab has a thorough write-up of the panel, addressing the questions how much code is really re-used, and how to measure the success of a software project.…

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PANDA: Make the robots work for you

As expected, there was no shortage of swag at “Make the robots work for you,” a panel on implementing PANDA, data store of the gods, brought down the mountain to a newsroom near you. (In the interest of full disclosure, the integrity of your reviewer was compromised by a free T-shirt.) For those of you…

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