U.S. Data Sources

Data Journalism Tools
Knight Science Journalism at MIT offers a list to various data journalism resources, including tools to analyze data, create data visualizations, and develop maps. The site also lists links to U.S. and global databases with health, population, and environmental statistics.

Data.gov is a collection of datasets, tools, and resources on publicly available U.S. governmental data, including climate research, consumer data, public safety information, health statistics, education data, and scientific research. It also features mobile and web applications developed by governmental agencies, businesses, and community groups that showcase key data findings and statistics.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guarantees citizens the right to access data and records from the federal government. FOIA.gov includes background on the law and instructions on how to make a FOIA request with various federal agencies, as well as reports and data on current and past FOIA requests individual agencies have received.

FOIA Mapper
FOIA Mapper collects information on governmental databases, including those that may not be listed or described on an agency’s website, to aid citizens in understanding what information is available through government agencies before they submit FOIA requests. The site’s record system database lists what federal data exists and which agencies have it, what format the data is stored in, and guidance on how to make a FOIA request to access it.

Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas
The nonprofit offers guidance and assistance to journalists and members of the public on accessing public information from local and state agencies through the Texas Public Information Act. The organization offers an overview of the Texas Public Information Act and Texas Open Meetings Act, an annual conference with updates on legislative changes and legal cases related to public information access in the state, public information request letter templates, and a FOI hotline to answer questions on specific public information requests.

Global Editors Network
The Global Editors Network aims to facilitate media innovation through programs designed to foster interaction and collaboration on journalism projects. Its programs include Editors Lab hackday competitions that spur new prototypes in news apps, widgets, and data visualizations; Study Tours that highlight newsrooms with cutting-edge approaches to digital journalism; and an annual GEN summit that focuses on the future of news.

Measures for Justice
Measures for Justice gathers criminal justice data at the county level. The Measures track how criminal cases are being handled at the county level from arrest to post-conviction. They are designed to increase the transparency of local justice systems and enable more informed discussions.

Dataset digest
Journalist Resource’s dataset digest series highlights new federal databases and datasets as well as databases produced by media organizations like ProPublica and the Investigative Reporters & Editors. The latest edition, updated April 2015, includes databases on small business loans, college campus crime data, payments doctors receive from pharmaceutical companies, environmental health hazards, and Department of Defense data.

Google Public Data Explorer
Google aggregates datasets and data metrics from more than 100 sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Eurostat, Ireland’s Central Statistics Office, UK’s Data.gov, the World Economic Forum, OECD Factbook, and the Inter-American Development Bank, among others.

Information and Services, Texas Department of Criminal Justice
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice offers statistics on executions, demographic information, and criminal charges for currently imprisoned offenders. The site also lists data on the number of death row inmates and death row convictions by county.

The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting
NICAR, a program offered by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), runs a database library that includes federal data and statistics on business, election campaigns, the environment, health, public safety, federal spending, and transportation (available free to IRE members or for purchase to non-members). NICAR also offers training to journalists on how to access and analyze digital databases.

Elections Data – Research Guide (University of Pennsylvania)
The University of Pennsylvania’s elections data research guide provides links to various databases with voter turnout and returns, campaign finance reports, and voter characteristics and public opinion data for federal, state, and local elections, with some datasets dating from 1824 to the present. The guide also includes international elections data covering elections results, voter turnout, and electoral systems information for different countries across the globe.

Panda Project
Panda is a free software that allows newsrooms to create a private data library in which the organizations’ journalists can upload, organize, and quickly search datasets. The software can also assist in merging information obtained from FOIA requests with existing uploaded datasets, as well as in creating data visualizations from the datasets using Google Fusion Tables.