Reporters Toolbox

Building Materials Data Can Help Construct Environmental Stories

Toxics abound in many building materials, creating indoor environmental hazards for workers and residents alike. To help report the story, Reporter’s Toolbox details a massive database of chemicals and building materials, and explains how to use it to assess their presence in buildings in your community. Plus, story ideas to get you started.

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Consumption Advisories Offer Fistful of Fish Tales

With fishing season underway in the United States and Canada, fish consumption advisories are also on the hook. That means potential stories for environmental journalists. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox points you to state-by-state data sources and walks you through how to best explain them to your audience. Plus, a bonus story tip.

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Using Data Sources To Track Climate-Driven Mayhem at Superfund Sites

Hazardous waste and floodwaters don’t typically mix well together. So when a Michigan dam recently burst, and flooded not just the local community, but also threatened a nearby Superfund site, it prompted Reporter’s Toolbox to look at how environmental journalists could track similar threats in their areas, especially as climate change raises the risks of similar disasters.

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No Drought of Data, As Climate Dries U.S.

With drought can come fire, and with megadrought, routine reporting becomes disaster headlines. Reporter’s Toolbox gets you to the bottom of the drought data sources that help determine what’s ahead for your region, sorting through the complicated set of federal drought monitoring agencies and resources.

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COVID-19 Data Challenges Can Spark Better Journalism

Reporting the COVID-19 pandemic may mean telling environmental stories, while using the best data to do it. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox spotlights three key resources to capture a detailed look at where and who the coronavirus is striking, and how it connects to the environment: a dashboard, an ambitious data platform and an unheralded tool for uncovering environmental injustice. 

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For Oil Market Data, You Don’t Need Slippery Sources

Tracking the oil market — or more precisely, the price of oil — will tell you a great deal about environmental issues, whether it be fracking, pipelines, land use, toxic emissions or more. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox helps you follow the data for your stories. Plus, a Backgrounder on Big Oil and how it drives not just energy but environment stories.

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Journalism Associations, Other Groups Offer COVID-19 Reporting Resources

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.

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Bill Trackers a Boon for Covering Federal, State Legislation

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. 

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‘TAP’ Into One-Stop Shop for Public Data

Newsroom resources may be tighter than ever, but accountability journalism just got a big boost. A guest Reporter’s Toolbox outlines a massive new database of databases collected by the Investigative Reporting Workshop. See how it can be used for your environmental reporting (such as to look up contributions by actor/activist Mark Ruffalo, pictured). Plus, pitch your own ideas for additional datasets.

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Data Project Details Nation's Disintegrating Dams

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.

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