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  • State/Local Government

    State/Local Government


    Tools to Investigate Your State Government
    A great set of tips and tools on this slide deck from NICAR 23.

    The Municipal Financial Crisis
    This book helps journalists in understanding the dynamics of municipal decision-making so they can ask better questions and provide more effective analysis, particularly when evaluating financially troubled local government agencies.

    NICAR 22: State Money in Politics Tipsheet

    Track state governments legislation, etc.
    Official government websites locator cited by the following govt websites:, LOC, FEMA, EPA, IRS, HUD, DOJ, SSA, ARMY, NAVY, 49 state governments, and more.

    Stateline 2020 Calendar
    Pew’s Stateline 2020 calendar includes each state’s legislative schedule as well as maps of the political landscape. Keep it handy to help you track legislative action in all 50 states.

    CIR: Who Gets Paid What in Your City/County/State?
    Public employee pay database from Center for Investigative Reporting.

    Washington Post: The Best State Political Blogs

    Washington Post: Top Political Reporters to Follow on Twitter in Every State (2020)

    National Conference of State Legislatures

    EMMA Database: Electronic Municipal Market Access
    Municipal securities data and documents.

    States Newsroom

    National Association of State Budget Officers
    Includes a reports and data section on budget process, expenditures and more by state.

    Center for Public Integrity: State Integrity Report
    The project uses extensive research by reporters in each state to grade and rank the states based on existing laws and analysis of how well they are implemented.

    Copy, Paste, Legislate
    This Center for Public Integrity helps you track lobbying efforts by pulling documents and parsing text. It identifies recent model legislation introduced national and in your state. It lets you search a specific topic or keyword and by a specific bill number.

    Tools to Investigate Your State Government
    A great set of tips and tools on this slide deck from NICAR 23.

    Center for Public Integrity: Who’s Calling the Shots in State Politics?
    Browse the State Influence Hub to find data on lobbying, state political TV ads, top political donors and other topics.

    Illinois Elections Data
    Useful campaign data on Illinois elections, managed by Scott Kennedy, a former Democratic campaign worker.

    Library of Congress: State Resource Guides
    Provides links to external Web sites and a bibliography containing selected works for both general and younger readers. This site will be updated on a regular basis.

    National Association of State Election Directors

    Good Jobs First
    Good Jobs First runs four databases; Subsidy Tracker looks at incentives/subsidies state and local governments give companies for economic development; Tax Break Tracker looks at revenue losses to governments from tax abatements; Violation Tracker keeps tabs on corporate misconduct (only finalized settlements/fines are included); COVID Stimulus Watch looks at which entities got CARES Act money and pandemic-related funding. We also track “megadeals” separately; that is, companies that received over $50 million in funding. Lots of resources for journalists looking at economic development, labor and corporate watchdogging.

    Journalist’s Resource: Disparity Studies on Municipal Contracting
    What journalists need to know about government contracts.

    The Municipal Financial Crisis
    This book helps journalists in understanding the dynamics of municipal decision-making so they can ask better questions and provide more effective analysis, particularly when evaluating financially troubled local government agencies.

    ProPublica PAC Track
    Follow contributors and spending with political action committees.

    RTDNA: Cameras in Courts – A State-by-State Guide

    The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Fiscal 50 Database
    The “Fiscal 50” interactive provides free, 50-state data on a range of fiscal and economic indicators of state fiscal health. It helps statehouse reporters break out of the annual “budget bubble” and visualize long-term trends for their state–or the ability to compare their state to its peers. The site is regularly updated and reporters are welcome to reprint screenshots with attribution to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

    Salud America! Health Equity Report Card
    See how your county is doing on a variety of health-related conditions compared to the rest of your state and nation. The data will show how your area stacks up in housing, transportation, poverty, healthcare, mental health, environmental issues, and access to healthy food and active spaces.

    NICAR 22: State Money in Politics Tipsheet

    Chicago Tribune Election Center
    Tracks state, local and national elections.

    National Association of Counties

    RJI: Open the Room Project
    RJI fellows created this project that looks into how to create scalable video recording and archiving systems based on emerging technologies for public community meetings, events and sports. By lowering the cost and complexity, their goal is to provide solutions that could become an essential part of community journalism.

    State and Local Government Resources on the Net
    Links state-by-state.

    Federal Internet Guide
    Offers state-by-state links to online court record search services at trial courts and government agencies. Find court locations, other legal services offered and more.

    Free Public Records Directory
    Free state court resources.

    National District Attorneys Association

    EPodunk: City, County, Town and Community Information
    Statistical data and other details on small communities across the nation.

    Rural Blog
    A collection of “events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America.”
    A collection of information on U.S. cities and towns. The site includes almanac-like reference data, property statistics, local weather reports, links to the official city web sites and maps for about 3,500 cities. The site also includes a summary article on about 50 major cities.

    National Attorney Generals Association
    This site has links to state attorney general’s offices. Most attorney general sites.

    National League of Cities
    Studies, stats and stories on trends in urban and rural cities and towns.

    State and Local Governments
    A directory of links to state and local government sites.

    Tax Foundation: New State Business Tax Climate Index

    Stateline: State of the State Speeches
    Various feeds from governors’ speeches around the nation.
    A guide to those rights and resources for crime victims at the federal and state level.

    State Agencies Database Project
    In every US State and the District of Columbia, agencies are creating databases of useful information – information on businesses, licensed professionals, plots of land, even dates of fish stocking.

    Datasets Every Government Reporter Should Have

    National Governor’s Association

    Council of State Governments
    This site has collected and analyzed data from numerous sources to create profiles of all U.S. cities. It featuresthousands of pictures, maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment…), geographical data, crime data, housing, businesses, political contributions, weather, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, user-submitted facts, similar cities list.

    News and analysis about the future of state and local government – politics, policy and management.

    Route Fifty
    News and analysis about U.S. state and local government policy and management. A division of GovExec.

    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
    A news service operated by the Pew Center on the states produces in-depth stories on state-based public policy issues.

    Community Associations Institute
    Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors is an organization for statehouse reporters around the country.

    State Government Sites
    A quick-reference listing of state government sites.

    A comprehensive collection of demographic, lifestyle, and economic data covering over 2,600 U.S. cities portrayed as thematic maps, informative reports, detailed tables and colorful charts — all freely available.
    Stats, contacts, other resources about city/local government.

    United States Conference of Mayors

    National Governors Association
    Anything you want to know about the nation’s governors and policy statements on state and federal issues.

    ProPublica Recovery Tracker: How Much Stimulus Funding Is Going To Your County?
    This non-partisan site covers every side of a topic with an easy-to-use index.
    This free database allows you to track legislation across states. It takes some time to use, though.

    Locate State Government Sites
    A search engine and image map takes you to official state sites.

    ProPublica: How Much Stimulus Money is Your County Receiving?
    Organized by state and city, explore data on many U.S. communities.

    National Association of Counties

    National Association of Secretaries of State

    Government Finance Officers Association
    This association offers background on public-sector finance and accounting.
    This watchdog group offers a clearinghouse of stories on urban sprawl and the legislation to stop it. Hs a state-by-state summary of how state open space legislation is dying on the vine from budget cuts.

    Public Library Rankings.
    The annual ranking of 9,000 public libraries is available in a spreadsheet copy for journalists. A good newsroom training tool for spreadsheets.
    This site profiles every county and more than 25,000 communities across the country. The site was compiled by journalists formerly with the Detroit Free Press, the New York Times and American Demographics magazine. The site uploads new data daily, including census, EPA, FDIC, FEC, USGS, etc.
    Magazine on federal government and military.

    Stateline: States in Finanncial Trouble (2009)

    City of Chicago information server
    A guide to Chicago city government. Good for finding offices, phone numbers, department heads, census info., etc. See also Chicago Chamber of Commerce.

    A must-read for anyone covering politics and federal government. Daily updates on what’s going on, links, resources, etc.

    USA Today: State-by-State Population Growth (1790-2000)

    Open Congress: 50 Key Senate Votes

    National League of Cities
    Includes a press room and resources for best practices, etc. for running city government.

    Cornell Law: State Courts Opinions

    Web-Strategist: Social Networking Statistics, 2009

    NYC Stat
    Mayor’s office of operations for New York City. Stats, performance reports, surveys, etc.

    ProPublica Recovery Tracker: How Much Stimulus Funding Is Going To Your County?

    Cornell Law: State Courts Opinions

    One Impressive Fact About Every State

    Tax Foundation
    For more than 80 years, this nonprofit has provided research, analysis and experts have informed smarter tax policy at the federal, state, and global levels.

    Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

    National Association of Election Officials

    Ravitch Fiscal Reporting
    The Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program at the CUNY J School provides advanced training in state and local fiscal issues through week-long and weekend program.


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