Air Quality Access: How local government is planning (or not) to protect your air

Air Quality Access: How local government is planning (or not) to protect your air

In the late 1980s, an area of the Jurupa Valley in Riverside, California began a transformation that would turn it from a community of sprawling dairy farms to hub for enormous warehouses. David Danelski, then an investigative reporter for the Riverside-Press Enterprise, unraveled the details through public records on town planning and found one important document missing from projects approved by county officials for more than a decade: the environmental impact statement. Here are his tips on this and other key records requests you can file.

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How is wildfire smoke changing your daily life?

How is wildfire smoke changing your daily life?

NPR’s California Newsroom is collaborating with MuckRock and Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation to investigate how wildfires affect air quality across the country. If the smoke from wildfires is damaging your health, disrupting your daily routine or forcing you to consider moving elsewhere, we want to hear from you.

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New York City wastewater shows link between cryptic COVID variants and worse phases of the pandemic

New York City wastewater shows link between cryptic COVID variants and worse phases of the pandemic

In a new study, Columbia University researchers have identified coronavirus mutations in New York City wastewater that seem to appear when severe disease rates begin to rise. The findings may pinpoint subtle, understated variants in the pandemic that are affecting day-to-day outcomes, including hospitalization and death, without doctors noticing.

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Air quality access: Using complaints, violations and fines to pinpoint local polluters

Air quality access: Using complaints, violations and fines to pinpoint local polluters

Freelance journalist Monica Vaughan was reporting on air pollution in California’s San Joaquin Valley when the words of one mother changed her perspective. “I just scan the stories looking for the sentence about whether or not it’s safe to live here. And I can never find that,” Vaughan remembered the woman saying.

In a second guide on air pollution, we bring together advice from reporters like Vaughan and examples that might help you uncover unsafe air in your community. From intial complaints to sustained violations, we give you the tools to ask your local government how it regulates polluters in your area

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Air Quality Access: Three requests to help you scrutinize local environmental standards

Air Quality Access: Three requests to help you scrutinize local environmental standards

In 2004, Dina Cappiello discovered some Houston residents were exposed to cancer-causing toxins at a level 20 times higher than federal guidelines — for toxic waste dumps. “Everybody was like ‘nothing to see here,’ but I was like something doesn’t add up,” Cappiello said. In this guide, we share tips and examples from Cappiello and other reporters of what you can request in your community to understand how dangerous the air is and even pinpoint potential polluters.

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Projects See all

  • FOIA 101: Tips and Tricks to Make You a Transparency Master

    ★ Featured
    Whether it's your first request or your first request *today,* it never hurts to go over the basics. MuckRock's compiled a lot of FOIA advice over the years, and with this project, it's all in one place.

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  • U.S. Officials Response to COVID-19 in the Navajo Nation

    ★ Featured
    In partnership with the Indigenous Investigative Collective and the Native American Journalists Association, we're building investigative journalism infrastructure in Indian Country by supporting networked reporting on COVID-19.

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  • DockIns: Machine Learning on Deadline for Journalists

    ★ Featured
    As journalists dealing with data and document sets, we find that the most interesting information is usually hidden in large, unstructured, and incomplete sets of documents. Especially information in public contracts: what the government is buying, how much money is being spent, and who are the suppliers. To answer these questions, four media organizations — La Nacion, CLIP, Ojo Público, and MuckRock — joined forces under the JournalismAI Collab and experimented with different machine learning tools and techniques in order to build a platform that helps investigative reporters understand and process unstructured documents to get useful insights.

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