Research and Interviewing Tools

Data Visualization: The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the world become easier to understand.

Winter Weather: Covering blizzards? Use resources on the Toolbox’sWeather page.

Design: The BBC site How Big Really? Dimensions gives spatial context for events by presenting them against the background of a place (city or ZIP code) whose dimensions a reader understands. Very similar to during the BP Gulf oil spill.

Entertainment: Movie Quotes lets you type in a famous quote and this database matches it to the movie it’s from.

Community Reporting: Knight Citizen News Network provides a great interactive map of community news sites. Beginning Reporting offers resources for those teaching and studying journalism at a fundamental level.

The Economy: World Economic Outlook is a database from the International Monetary Fund that allows journalists to compare economic outlook by country and year based on the IMF April, 2010 report.

Public Safety/Maps: Global Map of Natural Disasters is a mashup that helps you discover disasters around the globe.

College Crime Statistics: Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool analyze college campus crime statistics with this resource from the Office of Postsecondary Education, part of the U.S. Department of Education.

Politics: Here’s a gem from Marylaine Block of Neat New Stuff on the Net:Sunlight Foundation: Influence Explorer lets you type in the names of lawmakers, corporations, or individuals here to find out who is providing the most funding for your congressional candidates.

Politics: Poligraft is a Sunlight Foundation site that adds political context to news stories by scanning news articles you enter for the names of donors, corporations, lobbyists and politicians and shows how they are connected by contributions. It’s a free site and a very helpful tool for doing research.

FOI Resources: A recent issue of Quill magazine listed some helpful sites for developing FOI-related story ideas. You can find those sites and more in the Toolbox’s Public Records and Investigative sections.

Gas Prices: You can track changing gas prices with several Toolbox resources. Mapquest has a page to track gas prices in your area. Zillow.comgives estimates on individual home values. Use resources in the Toolbox’sBusiness Resources section to track the housing market , gas prices, food costs and other economic issues. Related Resources: Personal Finance andLabor sections.

Stock Markets: Use tools in the Business Resources section to track the daily changes in the markets.

Public Records: Use the Federal Procurement Data System to search for government reports, contracts, databases, etc. The site requires a log-in.

Terrorism Resources: Find helpful links in the 9-11 Terrorist AttacksPublic Safety-Airlines and Military-Terrorism sections.

Broadcasting: Find the correct pronunciations of newsmaker names at The Name Engine. Another great resource is the EarIt Demo, which allows you to roll over a name or word and get the correct pronunciation.

Journalism Jobs: Find job-hunting resources, organized by specific media and positions, in the Toolbox’s Jobs section.

YouTube Reporters Center: The YouTube Reporters Center offers tips and advice targeted to citizen journalists, but the resources are helpful to student and professional journalists as well. The site launched with a great video from Politifact, the Pulitzer-winning site from the St. Petersburg Times. The video covered fact-checking basics for reporters and editors, with warnings about using Wikipedia.

The Economy: BankTracker, from MSNBC and American University School of Communication, is a new site that reviews bank statements and tracks trends in the constantly changing banking industry. has posted a helpful image-map and database that helps you research how the stimulus package affects your state. It’s great quick-reference for looking up what projects are scheduled to receive stimulus money. Also, Read the Stimulusoffers tips on how to interpret the stimulus package. Related Resources:Economic Crisis section.

Military: is a social networking forum geared toward U.S. troops, families and anyone looking for military connections. The site can be helpful for networking and finding personal/family-generated stories in your area. Military Records offers thousands of records, old newsreels, etc. You can search by war, era or follow a timeline of events to find the information.

Writing With Numbers: converts measurements, distances, weights, etc. into objects to which a reader can relate. Weird Converter is great for analyzing numbers and coming up with odd facts and figures for stories. It’s great for comparing sizes, weights and gives the reader some perspective. Find more resources in the Toolbox’s Writing With Numbers section.


Reporting Tools: Reporting ToolsPhone/E-Mail/Maps DirectoriesSearch EnginesExpert SourcesInvestigativeForm 990sPublic RecordsEthics,Check Domain NamesGeneral Research and Writing With Numbers.


Writing with Statistics: Test your skills with IRE’s interactive math quiz. After you’ve taken the test, click on the link at the bottom of the page to find out how to arrive at the correct answers. You’ll find more resources like this one on the Writing with Numbers page. Related Resources: Spreadsheets,Business ResourcesPersonal Finance and Federal Government: Census Data.



Student Resources: College and high school students will find many helpful Toolbox resources for researching papers, reporting and more: Reporting ToolsPublic RecordsHistoryEthics and Copy Editing.




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