FIRE's Brevard College Seminar on Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting

The following links are used in FIRE's Brevard College Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting workshop. We hope you will find them useful.

Page Contents

Link of the Day
Search Me
I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Invisible Web
Read All About It: Research
Home Is Where the Data Is
Help! I’m on Deadline!: Reporting Aids
By and for the People: Government/Congress
That’s Interesting…:Adding Color to Stories
You’ve Got Mail (Groups)
You’re Still Here?: A Little Extra

Link of the Day -- Wave of the future?

Search Me -- Judged by CAR reporters as the best of all general search engines. Simple, fast and excellent on general subjects. � Advanced searching. -- Google news headlines. -- Google news page to other news outlets. -- A �tell all� website about search engines. -- There are a lot of hoaxes floating around the Internet. This is a good page to use or to recommend for readers.

I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Invisible Web Search is a growing compilation of links to the search interfaces of resources that contain data not easily or entirely searchable/accessible from general search tools like Alta Vista, Google, and Infoseek. While general search tools are essential for retrieval of Internet materials many users do not realize that large amounts of information are not easily searchable via these tools.

  • List of lists.
  • Small, hard to find handbooks and fact books.
  • Links to the many Congressional Research (CRS) reports that are accessible via the WWW.
  • Links to books and entertainment.
  • Everything to do with newspapers, news centers, news in general.
  • Searchable Bibliographies & Major Library Catalogs Archives and Major Library Catalogs; Business/Economics Government, Humanities, Librarian Interests, Meta Collections of Subject; Bibliographies, Science/Engineering, Social Studies.
  • A large collection of links to translated speeches and soundtracks from sound-based media.
  • Links to State and City resources. -- GPO Access -- Librarians’ Index to the Internet -- Finding the Invisible Web -- ‘About’ Guide to Web Search Optimization and Advanced Searching -- A page of links to the hidden web plus help on searching in general.

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Read All About It: Research -- Genie Tyburski�s Virtual Chase site. -- Gene Sherman (Invisible Web) newsletter. -- Focus on legal content, but very good. -- Gary Price�s Blog of new Internet databases.

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Home Is Where the Data Is -- Excellent Home Page. -- An excellent home page for journalists. -- Another great page for journalists. Also, see this page on college media:

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Help! I’m on Deadline!: Reporting Aids

/ -- This site's home page. Features Morgue/Archives; Gen. Information; Internet links; e-mail. -- Extensive free and for-pay resources for reporters. -- Good �Resource Center� area. -- Good example of PDF file, Acrobat. Word and other formats to follow soon. -- Example of great documentation, citation, attribution. Using PDF files for documentation. Download Adobe Acrobat Reader. -- Excellent training material, tips and help specifically for journalists. A ton of useful information for reporters and editors. -- The Elements of Style by Strunk and White � the standard. To order the AP Style book: -- Investigative Reporters and Editors newsletter on story possibilities and ideas for computer-assisted reporting. -- Columbia Journalism Review; good to read, lots of tips. Go to Resource Guides. -- Ideas and links for investigative reporting � one reporter to another.

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By and for the People: Government/Congress -- The best comprehensive government search link.,10 � The best place for federal legislative information. -- Listing from LSU of every U.S. Agency or Office in the U.S. -- Bureau of Economic Analysis � basis for good economic stories even locally. United State Supreme Court. Excellent site. Provided by Supreme Court. -- Another top site for Supreme Court and Circuit Court decisions. Probably the best. -- One that I use often. -- Biographical information, plus more, on all federal judges. � A census page on county economic climate for all counties in the U.S. City of Asheville page. Etc. -- Quick information about your city or county or one nearby.

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That’s Interesting…:Adding Color to Stories A great history site for quick information about a given era, such as the 1950s. Inflation calculator is indispensable. Also � A cost of living calculator back to 1665. See source note. -- Cost of living calculator. -- Historic timeline. -- Extensive list/links of encyclopedias available on the Web. Note source. -- All sorts of very useful dictionaries; language, special, medical etc. -- The famous Gray Lady (New York Times) in Cybergarb. Pay-for archives are excellent. Use �north carolina� AND pollution for examples. Also  

Lexis-Nexis discussion -- Special pricing. -- This is home of PowerMarks. I use PowerMarks instead of Favorites for bookmarks. Download it and install it on your home computer. Learn how to use it. Read all help files on the Web before you download and on PowerMarks the program after you install it. Nothing yet on Macs. -- A University of Maryland site which does deep analysis of Census figures. -- Translator � go to: (Moniskop) -- Official CIA factbook. Great maps of countries. -- How stuff works. Great site. See �nuclear power plants� or �pulley.� .-- Full of information about all states. Great links. -- An excellent source for basic information on religions. � Excellent statistics on lots of subjects. -- Historical information on Senators and Reps, dead and alive. -- A great source of specific information.

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You’ve Got Mail (Groups) Best place to search for a mailing list (listserv) appealing to your interests. -- Excellent mail list group where you can start your own mail list. Was ‘E-groups’. -- Link to Newsgroups on UseNet. Used to be called D�j� Vu.


CARR-L is a list for computer-assisted research and reporting was set up to provide an electronic place where both working journalists and journalism educators can "meet" and discuss resources on the Internet.

How does somebody subscribe to the list?

Send the one line in body of message

SUBscribe CARR-L <your-real-name> <organization>


using your-real-name, not a computer ID.

NICAR-L is a list used by members and non-members of Investigative Reporters & Editors to exchange resource information. To Subscribe send email to

with the following request in body of message:

subscribe NICAR-L Your-Name -- Typical letter you MUST save and follow.

GOV-L is a list for reporters covering local government agencies. Go to web page

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You’re Still Here?: A Little Extra -- Lists dead or alive politicians. -- Good librarian Mary Lane lists new stuff she finds on the net. A popular site for CARR newspeople. � GAO is not listed in some government links. It is an independent agency. -- Here is the 2003 Federal Budget, in its entirety as submitted by Pres. Bush. -- National vital statistics; births, deaths, fertility, life expectancy, marriage, divorce, abortion. From National Center for Health (NCH). � A lot of different calculators for comparing cities, crime, schools, salaries, etc.

For inspiration regarding the power of the Internet to relate a story, see, particularly the "Stories" section.

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Workshop, Session 2: Finding Data


/firecar.html: A selection of helpful links for reporters, compiled by FIRE.

/nonprofits.html: More handy sites. These were compiled for nonprofits, and some links are duplicates, but there are also items of interest here for reporters. See "Other Helpful Sites."

Freedom of Information Act -- North Carolina-specific

Finding People and Businesses

JournalistsToolbox Investigations Page—Plenty of search and database sites listed, such as

Hoover's Online — Basic information about corporations for free, and more details for a charge.

Guidestar: Information / tax forms on nonprofit organizations and foundations.

More Data

Census 2000: Some say a good reporter can spend an entire life just covering the stories contained in the Census.

Current Events Covering the military and the war. Numerous links at IRE. Resources about anti-war opinions and efforts. Links to many sites on Iraq, the war, war blogs.

Workshop, Session 3: Excel 101

Excel Tutorials

Information Access Resources The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press guide on Access to Electronic Records, by state.

EXAMPLES to download to Excel Download text files. Download HTML. Download PDFs. Buncombe County property download. Here are some lessons and exercises out of Brant Houston's Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide, Second Edition. There are also some Mac files to practice on from the first edition. "Your Guide to the Latest Investigative Work." Features many hot stories that rely on Computer-Assisted Reporting. National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Publishes Uplink and has online copies. Campaign Finance Information Center. Data from IRE, for a fee. Freedom of Information center.



Mark Goldstein, who worked with Evan Mahaney to update and compile these links, can be reached at


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