The latest on FOIA, transparency and accountability battles, threats and wins from MuckRock.
We’ve launched several improvements over the last two weeks, including a few new DocumentCloud Add-Ons to help you extract tables from your documents and boosted DocumentCloud search stability. MuckRock’s FOIA Log Explorer now has agency cards, which provide you with more detail about each agency’s logs.
How Brazilian journalists tapped DocumentCloud’s AI tools to analyze tens of thousands of social media posts
Join us on March 1 to hear how Brazilian newsroom Aos Fatos parsed large volumes of social media updates to report powerful stories.
‘There could potentially be some areas surrounding those known areas where there could still be contamination that is yet to be identified,’ says the bill’s sponsor.
‘The Air We Breathe:’ What Cicero and Stickney residents need to know about the Koppers coal tar plant
Koppers is a chemical plant on the south side of Pershing Road, on the border between Cicero and Stickney.
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“Smoke, Screened” is an investigative series by The California Newsroom, MuckRock and the Guardian on the large environmental impact of a little-noticed deregulatory tool found in the Clean Air Act. The provision in the Clean Air Act has allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to strike pollution from clean air tallies in more than 70 counties, enabling local regulators to claim the air was cleaner than it really was for more than 21 million Americans. The loophole allows regulators to forgive pollution, and avoid costly cleanup work, caused by “natural” or “uncontrollable” events, including wildfires.
Chicago’s air quality is among the worst in the U.S., and the city has several local hotspots for particulate matter 2.5 — the tiny particles that come from diesel trucks and industry and enter people’s lungs and blood, causing significant health problems. Between April 2021 and March 2023, the tech company Microsoft installed and monitored 115 air quality sensors across Chicago. We worked with Chicago newsrooms, including the Cicero Independiente, WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times, to analyze this data for a series of stories on the city’s comparatively poor air quality. We then installed our own air quality sensors in Chicago neighborhoods that lacked coverage in the Microsoft network — and looked for trends and spikes in pollution.
Death certificates have long been prone to error. During the pandemic, they've gotten worse, resulting in thousands of uncounted COVID-19 deaths. "Uncounted" is a collaboration between MuckRock, the USA TODAY network and dozens of local newsrooms around the country. We found that short-staffed, undertrained and overworked coroners and medical examiners took families at their word when they called to report the death of a relative at home. Coroners and medical examiners didn’t review medical histories or order tests to look for COVID-19. The result is a skewed picture of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.