ProPublica

2 posts
Bomb contaminants where you live

Lena Groeger, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Abrahm Lustgarten, reporting for ProPublica with a searchable map of sites in need of bomb cleanup: The military spends more than a billion dollars a year to clean up sites its operations have contaminated with toxic waste and explosives. These sites exist in every state in the country. Some are located near schools, residential neighborhoods, rivers and lakes. A full map of these sites...

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Flawed hate crime data collection

Data can provide you with important information, but when the collection process is flawed, there’s not much you can do. Ken Schwencke, reporting for ProPublica, researched the tiered system that the FBI relies on to gather hate crime data for the United States: Under a federal law passed in 1990, the FBI is required to track and tabulate crimes in which there was “manifest evidence of prejudice” against a host...

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Lessons available from ProPublica Data Institute

ProPublica runs a small annual workshop to teach journalists a bit about data and how it can be used to report. The training materials and some of the lectures are online now. Though more than a thousand people have applied to ProPublica’s Data Institute, we’ve only been able to accept about 24 in the two years it’s been running. Faced with such a high demand, we’ve looked for ways to...

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Bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers

Ken Schwencke and Al Shaw from ProPublica with a set of straightforward maps that show bomb threats to Jewish community centers and organizations: Since Jan. 1, at least 89 locations of Jewish organizations in the United States — including schools, Jewish Community Centers, and offices of the Anti-Defamation League — have received a total of 114 bomb threats. The majority have come in five of what the JCC Association of...

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Houston flooding on the rise

Climate change is doing some weird stuff. What were once rare weather events could grow more common. ProPublica and The Texas Tribune zoom in on Houston, where there’s likely to be much more flooding than usual and not enough residents prepared for the rise. scientists say climate change is causing torrential rainfall to happen more often, meaning storms that used to be considered “once-in-a-lifetime” events are happening with greater frequency....

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Election DataBot provides a feed of the interesting data stories

There is a ton of election-related data pushed out every day, so much it’s hard to keep track. ProPublica provides the Election DataBot to help bubble up the more interesting data points. Today ProPublica is launching a new tool, created in partnership with the Google News Lab, that makes it easier for journalists, researchers and citizens to quickly find newsworthy information about the presidential race and congressional campaigns in their...

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Bias built in to crime prediction

Predictive policing seems to be playing a bigger role in court decisions these days. People charged with crimes can be given a risk score based on priors and their background, which represents a fuzzy likelihood that they commit a crime again. ProPublica investigates the reliability of these scores, using data from Broward County, Flordia, between 2013 and 2014 The score proved remarkably unreliable in forecasting violent crime: Only 20 percent...

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Track what your government representatives are doing for you

Taking over an old New York Times project, ProPublica re-launches Represent, which offers an app and an API to see what your local lawmakers have been doing on your behalf. Represent will show details of votes and bills and provide a way for you to follow the activities of your elected representatives and understand how they fit into the broader world of American politics. For example, we’ll show you how...

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Hurricane simulations show severe flooding in Houston

In 2008, Hurricane Ike blew just past the Houston Ship Channel, “home to the nation's largest petrochemical complex.” Had Ike touched down on the area, the damage could've been far worse than it was. In a collaboration between ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, Hell and High Water shows simulated models of what the flooding might look like next time, if a hurricane is a bit stronger, if it takes a...

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Campaign Finance API moves to ProPublica

Back in 2008, the New York Times rolled out a campaign finance API so that you could easily access data based on Federal Election Commission filings. (If you've tried grabbing data direct from the source, you know this is a pain.) ProPublica took the reigns a few days ago as we lead up to this year's elections. Like millions around the world, you're probably like, "What the what? I thought...

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