Tag Archives: investigative

Getting the hang of DocumentCloud

Over the past few months, Thunderdome Data Editor Tom Meagher has been chatting with journalists around the company about DocumentCloud and how it can help you turn that pile of papers under your desk into one hell of a story.

Recently, Tom sat down with the folks on our Michigan data team to chat about DocumentCloud and its killer features. We captured the demonstration in this video.

Did we whet your appetite? Dig into these resources to learn more about working with DocumentCloud.

Have you used DocumentCloud for a story yet? We’d love to see what you’ve done with it. Leave us a comment or mention us on Twitter at @dfmdata.

Explanatory, multimedia package on desalination facility

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Headline: Deconstructing Desal in Santa Cruz
Outlet: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Journalist: J. M. Brown
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During a six-month investigation of a proposed $123 million seawater desalination facility in Santa Cruz, Sentinel staff writer J.M. Brown interviewed more than 60 water officials, scientists, utility customers and others to provide a deep look inside the financial, environmental and political implications of the city’s plan.

The amount of time Brown spent learning about the issue was readily evident throughout the package; it was clear the journalism was produced from a position of knowledge and authority. Complimented by a four-part video series and a live chat, Brown’s coverage was accessible to readers with varying amounts of background knowledge, as he also produced an easy-to-read ‘What we found’ breakout feature to accompany the package.

El Paso Times breaks story with real cost to paper

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Headline: City delays El Paso Times building purchase
Outlet: El Paso Times
Journalist: Marty Schladen
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One of the greatest challenges a newspaper can face is covering a story that involves the paper directly. Such has been the case for the El Paso Times since the city announced its intention to buy the newspaper’s building. The purchase is part of a broader controversial effort to demolish City Hall to clear the way for a Triple A baseball stadium.

As the City Council was preparing to finalize the purchase of the Times building for $14 million, El Paso Times journalists obtained the city’s appraisal of the building and discovered the appraised value was $3.7 million below the purchase price. In a stunning display of incompetence, city officials hadn’t really read the appraisal until Times reporter Marty Schladen started asking about it. Although the discovery risked costing the company several million dollars, the Times broke the story and has continued to follow the issue. Almost a month later, the fate of the sale is still uncertain.

Feature illuminates challenge of finding affordable care

Headline: Desperate parents surrender autistic children to state custody
Outlet: Salt Lake Tribune
Journalist: Julia Lyon

Salt Lake Tribune reporter Julia Lyon heard more than a year ago that some Utah families, desperate for care for their children with autism, were surrendering custody to the state. (Utah is in a minority of states without a mandate that insurance companies cover treatment.)

She spent months reporting, starting with the challenge of locating families willing to tell their stories and give her access to to their child welfare files. Her compelling stories, with photography by Trent Nelson, introduce readers to two young boys surrendered by their families and illuminate the impact of a lack of affordable care.