Category Archives: Investigative Tools

Finding Campaign Finance Information

There are a number of independent groups, government boards and commissions who provide information and data on campaign finance and individual political contributions.  The following are just a few of these fantastic resources from the Campaign Finance Research Guide:

Find these and other resources using the Campaign Finance Research Guide.  Have additional questions?  Ask us!  journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu.

Who Owns the Media?

Did you know that News Corporation has over 15.5 million unique monthly visitors to their websites, The Washington Post over 10 million, and Yahoo! News over 40 million? 

Find these statistics and more at Who Owns the News Media from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, an interactive database of companies that own news properties – online, newspaper, magazine, network tv, radio, and more – in the United States. Use the site to compare the companies, explore each media sector or read profiles of individual companies.

 

Radical Cartography

Radical Cartography is a really cool website put together by Bill Rankin, a graduate student at Harvard University. He’s created some very interesting maps that present new ways of looking at transportation, commerce, income distribution and other topics in a variety of cities, including New York.

Land value by square foot of dirt, Manhattan. Map by Bill Rankin.

Additionally, all of the maps, text and images on Radical Cartography are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share-Alike License 3.0, so you are free to use, quote, or manipulate anything you want, as long as you give attribution, do not use the material for commercial purposes, and release any derivative works under the same license.

World Bank Data Products Now Freely Available

wbGreat news for current students, graduating students, alumni, and faculty!  The World Bank has recently made their data products freely available without subscription through their new open data site (http://data.worldbank.org), with more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic, and human development statistics.  Most of these products were previously only available through subscription.

What kinds of data can you find here?  Over 300 indicators covering over 200 countries – some of the data going back 50 years:

  • annual fresh water withdrawals
  • electric power consumption
  • fertility rates
  • GDP
  • health expenditures
  • internet users
  • life expectancy
  • literacy rates
  • long-term unemployment
  • marine protected areas
  • methane emissions
  • military expenditures

…and much more!

The data come from a variety of sources including international agencies, private and NGO partners, and the World Bank’s 186 member countries. For more information about World Bank’s open data initiative, see this video of World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick.

American FactFinder

affNeed a place to start when looking for Census data?  American FactFinder (http://factfinder.census.gov) is an online data source for population, housing, economy and geography from the following data programs: 

  • Decennial Census
  • American Community Survey
  • Current Population Estimates
  • Economic Census
  • Annual Economic Surveys

American FactFinder is your source for population, housing, economic and geographic data for the United States!  Can’t find what you need?  Contact the librarian:  journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu.

Bloomberg Basics

lehman2009-03-09dsc_43911This session will teach the basic navigation and searching skills necessary to begin using Bloomberg.  Instruction sessions are offered both in the Business & Economics Library and in Lehman Library, and be sure to check out the Bloomberg Help Guide for navigation commands and tips.:

Bloomberg at the Business & Economics Library:

  • January 29, 11am ~ 12pm FULL
  • February 12, 11am ~ 12pm FULL
  • February 26, 11am ~ 12pm
  • March 19, 11am ~ 12pm
  • April 2, 11am ~ 12pm  
  • April 16, 11am ~ 12pm

These sessions will be in the 1st Mezzanine reading room.  Space is limited – please email business@libraries.cul.columbia.edu to reserve your spot.

Bloomberg at the Digital Social Science Center, Lehman Library:

These sessions will be in 321A at the DSSC in Lehman Library.  Space is limited – please register at the links above.

Public Records – Criminal Records, Political Contributions, Real Estate Records

Looking for sources on criminal records, political contributions, and real estate records?  Then look no further than this public records guide.