Reporters Toolbox

Angling for Stories on Streams Suffering From Climate Change? Try Trout

Telling the local climate change story may mean you’ll have to dip a wading-boot-clad toe into the nearest stream, virtually at least. A decline there of a bellwether species, freshwater trout, could signal climate change-driven changes in critical water temperatures. To help guide your investigation, Reporter’s Toolbox spotlights a government database that taps into a massive network of monitoring stations. 

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Cruising EPA’s CompTox Chemicals Dashboard

A massive database of databases maintained by EPA tracks more than 800,000 chemicals. And while CompTox is highly technical, it’s the source for important developments that environmental journalists need to know about, among them exploring whole classes of toxic chemicals, and understanding how big data and AI is transforming their regulation. Plus, alternate sources of chemical data for your reporting needs.

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CAMEO Software Can Help Journalists Cover Chemical Disasters

When a local hazmat emergency erupts, will you be ready to safely cover it? A well-proven government software suite with a series of power tools will help, and the latest Reporter’s Toolbox guides you through it so you can get ahead of the emergency. Read on to get familiar with CAMEO.

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Grid Data Can Guide Reporting on Power Disasters

The power and water fiasco that followed a deep freeze in Texas was a predictable debacle and, thus, a warning signal to journalists covering disasters and climate-driven weather extremes. To help, the latest Reporter’s Toolbox provides a rundown of data sources about power grids, from local, regional and national entities, and recommends you start tracking the numbers and be prepared.

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Seeding Climate Stories in the Backyard Garden

Spring may be weeks away, but gardeners are already browsing the seed catalogs, and that makes it a good time for environmental journalists to apprise them of how climate change will affect their backyard patches. Reporter’s Toolbox talks “hardiness zones” and explains why one of the usual repositories of government information may fall short. That plus, story sources to, well, cultivate.

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New Mapping Software Offers Unique View of Western Wildlife Migration

Large migratory species have been traveling across the North American continent for thousands of years. But the land has been dramatically affected, altering how these big game move about. A new data mapping site for scientists can now help environmental journalists track Western wildlife herds and their health as well. The latest from Reporter’s Toolbox.

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Tracking Respiratory Health Risks From Wildfire Smoke

Respiratory risks are high on the public health agenda these days amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So when Reporter’s Toolbox noticed some exemplary reporting on how West Coast wildfires were polluting the air, it took a look under the hood to see how other environmental journalists might use the same data sets for localized stories.

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Climate Money Meets the Super PACs

Amid the frenzy of Election 2020 comes a quieter development: The emergence of Big Climate money. Green groups and climate-focused fundraisers are now starting to take their place as major players alongside Big Oil as campaign contributors. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox suggests databases and other resources to help track climate (and other election) money.

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Plant Trackers Help Mark Coal’s Decline

Keeping tabs on the increasingly frequent closing of U.S. coal-fired electric power plants is an important way to follow developments on the larger climate change beat. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox points to several mapping databases that help make the job far easier — whether watching the industry in the United States or abroad.

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Chase Down Environmental Ballot Measures for State-Level Stories

Although the realities of the pandemic may mean fewer state and local ballot measures in the upcoming election — and the presidential contest is drawing much of the spotlight — they can still be potentially fruitful stories for reporters willing to seek them out. Here are eight top ways to track this year’s environment and energy ballot measures, from the latest Reporter’s Toolbox.

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