Tags : Uplink blog

Database quantifies wasted natural gas from Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas

An interactive map shows how the volume of flared gas in Texas counties has increased over time – especially in the Eagle Ford Shale. 

The energy boom that’s showering rural South Texas with money is also wasting an irreplaceable natural resource.

Drive through the bustling oil patch of the Eagle Ford Shale, located about an hour away from San Antonio, and you’ll quickly lose count of fiery gas flares that dot the countryside.

Natural gas is cheap. Pipelines are expensive. So instead of collecting the fossil fuel, many oil and gas operators build tall, metallic flare stacks to burn ...

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Database quantifies wasted natural gas from Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas

An interactive map shows how the volume of flared gas in Texas counties has increased over time – especially in the Eagle Ford Shale. 

By John Tedesco, San Antonio Express-News

The energy boom that’s showering rural South Texas with money is also wasting an irreplaceable natural resource.

Drive through the bustling oil patch of the Eagle Ford Shale, located about an hour away from San Antonio, and you’ll quickly lose count of fiery gas flares that dot the countryside.

Natural gas is cheap. Pipelines are expensive. So instead of collecting the fossil fuel, many oil and gas operators build ...

Read more ...

Job data, press releases used to measure effectiveness of North Carolina incentive programs

When the Great Recession reached its peak at the end of 2009, a lot of what you heard and read from news organizations about the state of the economy felt depressingly similar.

Long lines at unemployment offices. Big crowds at job fairs. And everywhere, mounting horror stories from families struggling harder than ever before to make ends meet.

Amid this pervasive gloom, some supposed bright spots popped up regularly in our inboxes, courtesy of the North Carolina governor’s press office.

New jobs, as few as six and as high as a 1,014, were on their way to the ...

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National database used to report on hit-and-runs in Colorado

9News map of hit-and-run injuries 
Click here to view

It all started with an observation from 9News Denver investigative reporter Chris Vanderveen: Doesn’t it seem like there have been a lot of hit-and-runs in Colorado?

That started a year-long, joint investigation by 9News and Rocky Mountain PBS I-News that included analyzing electronic databases, getting police records from dozens of jurisdictions and poring over court documents.

We started with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System database to find out how many hit-and-run fatalities had taken place in Colorado during the most recent five-year period with ...

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Federal, state data used to track civil asset forfeitures in Virginia

When police seize cash, cars and other property, it’s usually taken through a legal process known as civil asset forfeiture.

Critics say the system gives police a financial incentive to take property with relative ease and makes it difficult for people to get it back.

We wanted to take a look at how much money is flowing through local departments as a result of this process. It turned out to be a lot.

In Virginia, agencies received more than $57 million over the past six years, according to the findings of a Virginian-Pilot examination of state and federal data ...

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Federal education data highlights rising college costs for low-income students

If you’re shopping for a college, forget the published sticker price. Just like airline passengers on the same flight, students on the same campus can pay vastly different rates.

And on the whole, those rates are increasing faster for the poorest students.

That’s what a Dallas Morning News analysis of federal education data found this year. In a project with the Hechinger Report, we examined four years of data showing what students actually paid, based on their family income. We produced several stories and an online search tool called Tuition Tracker.  

The inequity was most glaring at the ...

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Medical examiner databases shed light on North Carolina’s death investigation system

Tom Cooper died face down in a pool of blood on his kitchen floor. Virginia Gregg was found dead in her closet. And a co-worker discovered Fred Lookabill dead on the steps of his front porch.

North Carolina medical examiners ruled all three died from natural causes.

They were wrong.

Forget what you've seen on television dramas. North Carolina's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner investigates suspicious deaths much like it did 40 years ago.

Medical examiners don't rush to the scene. (They don't go at all 90 percent of the time.)

They don't wield ...

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Multiple data sets used to track fugitives who go free

In December 2011, a man fleeing from a drug robbery shot and killed New York City police officer Peter Figoski. New York reacted with understandable outrage, particularly when newspapers there revealed that the officer’s killer, Lamont Pride, should have been in jail at the time.

The police in Greensboro, N.C. were already after Pride on charges that he had shot another man during an argument. But when Pride ...

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Journalists share tips for obtaining personally identifiable information

Data with personally identifiable information are an invaluable tool for reporters nationwide. For beat reporters and veteran investigative journalists alike, information such as names, birth dates and addresses can make or break a story. But access to such information isn’t guaranteed, with laws that restrict the public’s access a regular source of frustration. And bills adding to those restrictions are introduced regularly.

But short of lobbying state legislatures for changes in the law, what can journalists do to get the data they request? What are some techniques and methods that journalists have used to negotiate successfully for data ...

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Data highlights unequal FEMA aid distribution in Colorado

There is a staggering number of federal disaster relief agencies; about 70 in all. Every one of them descended on Colorado last September.

The rapid fall of seventeen inches of rain created home-destroying mudslides, swelled rivers to historic levels and killed at least eight residents. Our station and other media outlets scrambled to cover the chaos in real time. The stories were about human survival and devastating financial loss, but also about hope and faith in something greater.  

When the waters receded, our investigative unit refocused on a broader concept – financial aid.

There was no shortage of money coming in ...

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