Subscribe to NICAR-Learn, our gallery of on-demand training videos

In November, we announced the creation of NICAR-Learn, a new hub for on-demand training videos. We launched the site with a handful of free videos, and now we’re excited to let you know that the full site is up and running. Here’s how it works: For a small fee ($25/year for IRE members; $40/year for non-members),…

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Using new nonprofit law center, Hawaii’s Civil Beat wins access to police misconduct records

In the flood of paperwork that made its way each year to the Hawaii legislature, a shocking statistic slipped under the radar: About once a week the Honolulu Police Department was suspending or firing an officer for misconduct. Often the offenses were serious – abusing suspects, lying to federal investigators, tipping off drug dealers. And…

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Online data and tools for environmental investigations

By Gwen Girsdansky Lisa Song of InsideClimate News, Ingrid Lobet of the Houston Chronicle, David Sheppard of the San Antonio Express-News and Jim Morris of the Center for Public Integrity gave suggestions for online resources available for investigating environmental issues on Thursday at the IRE Conference. Lobet mentioned a good tactic is thinking about what…

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This Valentine’s Day, background your date using public records

Don’t let love get in the way of investigating. The old saying in journalism goes something like “if your mother says she loves you, check it out,” and if that’s true for your mother then it’s certainly true for your Valentine’s Day date. So let’s begin our walk through of how to make use of…

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Behind the Story: Post-Dispatch mapping finds ‘hot spots’ of pedestrian railroad deaths

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In December, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch released Death on the Rails, a special report on the surprising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred on railways.  Reporter Todd Frankel explains how he cross-referenced databases and resources to build his own map…

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Resources for covering the federal budget, fiscal cliff

As the White House and Congressional Republicans inch toward an agreement before the fiscal cliff deadline, the opportunity remains for digging deeper into the federal budget and the impact of a deal — or lack of deal — on both the country’s broad economic health and local communities. Find help in these links and resources.…

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SBA disaster loan data updated in NICAR Database Library

In the wake of a disaster, individuals and business owners are often left with severely damaged property. Many turn for help to the Small Business Administration, which approves low-interest loans to help rebuild. For declared disasters in 2011 alone, the Small Business Administration approved over $1 billion in loans. NICAR has updated the SBA database of these loans,…

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Behind the Story: Investigating lost war records

In 2011, reporter Peter Sleeth was working on a historical account of a battle he had witnessed during his time as an embedded reporter in Iraq.  His work on the piece stalled while researching Sgt. Jacob Butler, a soldier who had died in battle at As Samawah, Iraq in 2003.  No one in the Army…

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Behind The Story: Comparing databases on bullying

Students head to lunch at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Council Bluffs. The school district reported 58 alleged incidents to the state in five years, arguably a low rate for an urban district of 9,000 students. David Purdy/The Register In reporting, timing is everything.  For Des Moines Register reporter Kyle Munson, the topic of bullying in…

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Health care reporting: AHCJ announces yearlong fellowship, and IRE resources to help coverage

Working on a project about health care systems? About to start one? Here are some resources to help: The Association of Health Care Journalists is offering Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance, a yearlong program that funds reporting on health care systems in the United States. The program is designed for mid-career journalists, who continue their…

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