JTools_Diving Into Databases (old)

Journalists’ Use of Databases

  • To enhance your stories

  • To find stories in the data

  • To provide data interactively  for readers

    • example: Roc Docs,  Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
    • review: Data Center, syracuse.com — see Databases in right column

Reminders about data

  • Who compiled it?
  • Why was it compiled?
  • How was it compiled?
  • Where did the data come from?
  • What is the data (content)?
  • and remember, mistakes are common in databases

1. Demographics

a. Census. gov   Quick Facts – for basic information. Search by state. On the state page look at the top to find a county or city.   Census Handbook for Media
b. CensusReporter

2. Government

a. Political Campaign Data

 Others: BRBSearch Systems

   Open New York

3. Businesses

Company filings

Edgar – search SEC filings by publicy-traded companies (on stock exchange)

Tips from financial reporter Diana Henriques, about best documents:

  • 10-K, which is the annual report, includes executive salaries
  • 10- Q covering business operations, property, finances, pending suits, officers, general background
  • 8-K, designating significant changes such as a sale, new management, a lawsuit,  court judgment or fine

Charities and non-profits

•Fed gov’t: IRS

•State gov’t: NYS

•Independent: Guidestar.org and Citizen Audit

4.  Criminal Justice


local criminal courts not available

Onondaga Supreme Court – trial court for civil cases (not highest court in the state)

Sex Offenders Registry

      New York State

Crime Reports

      US Dept of Justice Uniform Crime Reports

5. Transportation




questions? contact Professor Fought and put JTools in the subject line



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