Tags : CAR Anywhere

Data show high cost of air ambulance transfers

I don't remember how the subject came up, but at one point in a conversation with a mover and shaker in Sioux Falls, we started talking about hospital helicopters.

Sioux Falls is home to two hospital systems. Each system has smaller hospitals in South Dakota, as well as other states in the Upper Great Plains. The Mother Ship hospitals in Sioux Falls have medical helicopters, and it's pretty common to see them flying around.

The mover and shaker told me about a meeting he had with executives at one of the systems. During the meeting, a helicopter started ...

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Data show activity at local airports

Airport numbers and trends seem to be a hot topic everywhere because flight activity is so directly tied to the economy and local businesses and is a concern for people who just want to fly for pleasure.

Our airport in Boise often gives us information and is very easy to work with. However, no reports broke down the actual numbers at the airport by flights and passengers.  Once I dug through some easily available federal data, I found the airport wasn’t performing at pre-recession numbers like many thought or expected, but was doing worse than than 10 years ago ...

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Behind The Story: Analyzing and mapping salary data for small-town mayors

In August, reporter Kate Martin of the Skagit Valley Herald analyzed salary data for mayors across Washington state and ended up with a story about mayors from small towns in her coverage area -- Mount Vernon and Anacortes -- who had salaries on par with mayors from cities several times larger. In reporting the story, Martin first had to gather the data and then reconcile it with the realities of small-town civic duties.

The idea for the story arose through her typical reporting practices: each year, she requests salary data for all of the agencies that the Skagit Valley Herald covers.

“I ...

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Spreading computer-assisted reporting techniques in Latin America

By Mc Nelly Torres

Víctor Hugo Michel is excited and overwhelmed.

He hasn’t stopped thinking about all the stories he will be able to report and write using the data analysis and investigative tools he learned this past weekend at the IberoAmericana University in México City.

“I never thought I could organize data, rank it and compare it electronically to find new trends and information which is not easy to see with the naked eye,” said Michel, a reporter for the newspaper Grupo Milenio in México City. “These tools are like using a new set of ...

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CAR for the whole newsroom

By Sarah Morris
@smorris198888

In Integrating CAR: Story Ideas for the Whole Newsroom, Mark Wert of The Cincinnati Enquirer and Jaimi Dowdell of IRE/NICAR gave ideas and tips relating to different beats that would require CAR skills.

Some of the tips they shared included:

  • Build your own database.
  • Use two databases to tell a story.
  • Have the newsroom ready for breaking news by knowing where different types of databases are, such as OSHA records, bridge and dam databases and the Aircraft Registry.
  • Use Guidestar and Foundation.org to find information about nonprofits

They also suggested ways to create a ...

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CRA data helps track local small-business lending

 

When it comes to the economy, few players wield more power than the banks, the gatekeepers of money. They’ve been much maligned throughout the downturn, first for lending too much to the wrong people, then for not lending enough. Fortunately for journalists, banks are also among the most regulated entities in the world, giving us reams of data we can use to dig into their business.
 
As a finance reporter, I’ve been pseudo-obsessed with bank data for the past five years, using it in hundreds of stories. But with the volume of information coming out of sometimes arcane ...
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Digging unearths county spending irregularities

Located just south of Chicago, Indiana's Lake County has long been a hot-bed of political corruption, bloated government and patronage jobs. County government spending became so rampant that the largest corporate taxpayers in 2005 commissioned a study that recommended cutting government spending or consolidating services to save taxpayers millions. Few of the recommendations were adopted, and about two years later, the Indiana General Assembly forced a frozen tax levy specifically targeting the county's wasteful ways.

Times of Northwest Indiana reporter Bill Dolan and I spent four years collecting a decade's worth of electronic spending records for all ...

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CAR Anywhere: Getting away with polluting

I had long suspected that the Clean Air Act was not only being routinely violated in Indiana, but that those violations were rarely being punished. Proving that suspicion, however, seemed impossible — until I read The New York Times’ Sept. 12, 2009, piece about violations of the Clean Water Act. The interactive graphic that accompanied the story linked to an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency database called ECHO, Enforcement and Compliance History Online , which I discovered also tracks Clean Air Act violations. Jackpot.

That meant that someone had already built a database showing not only every violation of the Clean Air ...

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CAR Anywhere: Payroll data reveals OT pay leaders

It's always nice to get a tip, but we found our local overtime pay leaders by goofing around in some online records. I came across an online database of public employee salaries offered by SeeThroughNY, a non-profit transparency portal.

And like any curious journalist, I pulled out our county government and sorted it top to bottom in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

This was not the typical payroll information we routinely get from government payroll offices. This database of 4,727 records originated from the state pension system, run by the state comptroller’s office. It wasn’t just a ...

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