Beat Guide to Consumer Affairs
Check out this list of resources that pertain to consumer affairs and consumer safety. Reporting on these topics takes thorough investigating, so let this list be your guide to researching and reporting on consumer affairs.
Consumer Investigations Beyond the Obvious
Consumer reporter, Callaway, teaches you how to become your own investigator. With tips on how to find the person you are looking for, the right attorneys to help, and how to make the most of your resources.
Reporting on Guns as a Consumer Product
This IRE award winning report uncovers the dangerous truth behind one of the world's largest gun manufacturer. Learn how to cover gun stories without looking like the bad guy.
Consumer Investigations: Going Deeper and holding bad players accountable
This tipsheet is an exhaustive resource for covering the consumer beat. It includes story ideas, links to pertinent government agencies, links to consumer information and much more.
Layton details how to cover foodborne illness outbreaks on the fly. Included along with details of where you gather information, Layton provides a detailed list of helpful resources - from consumer groups to subject experts.
Tip Sheet: Testing for lead in children's products
The author explains the Chicago Tribune's recent investigation into the presence of lead in childrens' toys. The authors discuss the equipment they used to test toys, as well as the results of their investigation.
Consumer Investigation: The Ultimate Reference to Help You Tame the Consumer Beat
This seventeen page tipsheet is full of advice for managing consumer investigations. The authors share their own experiences and offer tips to make the investigation go smoothly. The tipsheet ends with ten pages of sources, such as websites and associations, that consumer affairs reporters should know.
Using CAR on Consumer Investigations: making the best use of databases to build stories
This powerpoint presentation discusses how to get started investigating consumer issues. It also offers several examples of successful consumer investigations that employ CAR. Finally, it includes a list of resources that will be useful for reporters on this beat.
Consumer Medical Investigations
CBS explored bogus health plans, one of the biggest consumer fraud issues to emerge from the economic recession.
Debt Settlement/Abusive Debt Collection
Debt settlement company complaints are on the rise. The story shows how one family in Minnesota turned to a debt settlement company for help and ended up with increased debt as a result.
ABC News Partnership: Better Business Bureau Investigation
The ABC News Investigative Unit along with six ABC local affiliate stations conducted an unprecedented investigation of the Better Business Bureau.
Florida's Insurance Nightmare
The Herald-Tribune's series about the Florida property insurance market gives Floridians their first look at the risk of the insurance companies on which they rely. "In print and online, readers can see detailed financial information of more than 100 insurance carriers, the capital they have to weather a disaster, the degree to which they are overexposed, and the extent to which they are leveraged. It is the only public source to alert consumers whose homes might be in danger."
Deception of the Desperate
The WSMV investigation "exposed how a Nashville-based company was deceiving people all across the country who were desperate for insurance. Many of these customers had serious illnesses, like AIDS and cancer, and could not get full coverage insurance. They found the company was telling consumers they were getting full coverage insurance, when in fact they were buying basic discount cards that barely paid any of their expenses. "
Radioactive materials are being found in common consumer items because radioactive devices used in manufacturing and medicine are often mixing with scrap metal for use in large varieties of other products. "Recycled Radiation" outlines the findings from the Nuclear Material Events Database.
The CPSC dataset includes information about potential injuries, deaths and investigations related to consumer products. Some of the products include children's toys, bicycles, swimming pools, ATVs (three- and four-wheelers), sports equipment, hobby items, lawn mowers, hair dryers, playground equipment and many more.
The database consists of four tables provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commissions National Injury Information Clearinghouse. CPSC maintains this data to help protect the public by alerting people to potential hazards associated with consumer products. Fields include age, race and gender of the victim; state and city of the incident; product type involved and more.
What you won't find in this database is information that could possibly identify a specific patient/victim. Also not included is information about automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, car seat protection, foods, medicines, cosmetics, medical devices or dissatisfaction with business practices.