Daily Archives: March 7, 2017

Ideas from stories reported elsewhere

ProPublica features an “ongoing collection of watchdog reporting elsewhere” in a section it calls “Muckreads.”

It’s always useful to check out the reporting from across the country.

For example, there’s a good story analyzing flooding in Houston, where heavy rain once considered a rare event has been happening far more frequently (“Boomtown, Flood Town“). The story looks at different explanations, including climate change and unregulated development.

One interesting point.

In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison dumped almost 40 inches of rain on the city in five days, flooding 73,000 residences and 95,000 vehicles. Twenty-two people died, and damage from the storm was more than $5 billion in Harris County. It likely is the worst rainstorm to ever befall an American city in modern history, according to the flood control district.

Allison was a shock not just because of the extent of flooding but also where it occurred — almost half of the buildings that flooded were outside floodplains designated by FEMA.

It makes me wonder whether there are areas flooded in Hawaii over the past several years that are outside of the flood zones designated by FEMA? There’s a project for a reporter with some time and mapping software.

Another ProPublica story looks at the increases since 2000 in median household income and public college and university tuition costs. Using the state-by-state search, the data show that Hawaii’s median income only rose $363 between 2000 and 2014, while public college tuition went up $3,960.

Those should be relatively easy to replicate and check their accuracy, and it’s an informative frame for the data on rising tuition.

Anyway, browsing almost always turns up ideas for reporting that could be done here.