Census Bureau. Detailed demographic data from Census Bureau CD Roms are available via the bureau's web site. The site also provides access to bureau press releases and tip sheets for ideas on easily localized national stories, plus contact numbers for census specialists and a free news alert system that lets reporters know via e-mail when a new bureau report or study is being released. And now the Census Bureau's CenStats site, formerly a subscription area, is free. It includes county and zip code business patterns, monthly building permit data, federal spending, census tract data and more. The University of Virginia makes available historic census data on each state and county from 1790 to 1970. State Data Centers also can be reached via the Census Bureau.
Federal Register. Full text same day electronic version of the Federal Register, providing reporters the opportunity to find out about proposed federal regulations and other administrative actions impacting their communities.
Congress. Thomas includes full text of all U.S. House and Senate legislation, the Congressional Record and Index, e-mail addresses for lawmakers, member directories, committee assignments, the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, congressional ethics manual and other resources. This site also has jumping off points to the Code of Federal Regulations and U.S. Code. Project Vote Smart has a wealthy of information on lawmakers and their voting records.
Congressional Research Service. CRS, a research arm of Congress, provides legislators and congressional aides excellent non-partisan briefing papers on many complex issues. CRS environmental-related reports are available through the National Library for the Environment.
Lobbyists. The Center for Responsive Politics provides a searchable database of registered congressional lobbyists. It is searchable by lobbyist, company or industry and provides annual expenditures. The center also provides its categories for various special-interest groups.
Highway Safety. The Transportation Department's Fatality Analysis Reporting System includes data on all fatal vehicle accidents in the United States, searchable by state and county.
Aviation Safety. The Federal Aviation Administration offers searchable databases of accidents and near collisions. A commercial service, Landings, makes available aircraft registration and ownership information, searchable by owner name or registration number. The entire Aircraft Registration Database can be downloaded directly from the FAA.
Railroad Safety. The Federal Railroad Administration provides a database with accident and inspection reports, broken down by county. Click on "Query by FRA Safety Databases."
FBI Uniform Crime Reports. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports are available here. The Bureau of Justice Statistics offers a wide array of federal statistics on crime and justice. The bureau's Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics is made available online via the State University of New York at Albany.
Government Documents. The Government Printing Office provides congressional bills, presidential documents, Federal Register, Congressional Record, the U.S. Government Manual and other government documents the day of publication.
Government Statistics. The FedStat site links to 70 federal agencies that collect and disseminate various statistics.
Government Audits. Each major agency of the federal government has an inspector general's office that conducts investigations and audits of the department and federal programs that the agency oversees. This site brings users to IG reports throughout the federal government.
Congressional Investigations. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has new reports available on the Internet within days of their release. GAO reports can be very useful when backgrounding a story.
White House. Speeches, press releases, briefings, executive orders, key policy documents, schedules and other White House information.
Library of Congress. This system includes brief descriptions and status of all bills, resolutions, etc., in the U.S. Congress - past and present. It also includes the Library of Congress card catalogue, which is useful for identifying potential sources for a particular topic, and select Congressional Research Service reports.
Medical Library. The National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database.
Doctors. The American Medical Association provides data on every licensed physician in the United States (more than 690,000 doctors), including licensing, medical school and residency training information. The Association of State Medical Board Executives links to data from state medical boards, which provide information on licensed doctors, including their specialties, medical school, license number and whether there is regulatory action pending.
National Center for Health Statistics. A wide array of NCHS data and statistics are available through the Centers for Disease Control.
Patents. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a searchable database of every U.S. patent since 1790.
MIAs/POWs. This Library of Congress database includes synopses of all of the 131,000-plus publicly available federal documents concerning military personnel listed as missing in action and prisoners of war from the Vietnam War. The site also includes instruction on how to order copies of the full documents.
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