Check For State Databases To Undergird Reporting

In the last post, I talked about finding people through public records.  What about finding data in public records or knowing what available in databases?

When you are in a crunch in a breaking news story or when you need statistics or information to beef up a story — to give you the edge — do you know where to go to find information in public databases.  If you’re already scouted some out or have links bookmarked, you will be so grateful when you need info in a pinch.

One place that probably has a lot of info is your state government. It might be worth an hour one day to go figure out what is available online.  New York is a model in having recently put a lot of content online via one portal, Open New York.  It also includes some local and federal data, as well. Take a peek and marvel.

To find out where online databases exist in your state:

  • check out links from a list compiled by the American Library Association Government Documents Roundtable
  • try searching on line by topic at a goverment website using the formula: “topic or subject” site:gov  Fill in the topic or the subject and put in your state’s domain if you know, such as “retail food stores” map This will search for maps of retail food stores, but only on New York State government websites
  • call your state’s secretary of state office or attorney general office.

And if you know of other masters sites for state data, let me know below.

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