Resources and Links

As blogs emerge as a meaningful source for investigative journalism, it's necessary to be aware of the tools that are available to us. Below are a list of some investigative tools to get you started!

Investigative Tools



Progressive Media


Investigative Tools

Campaign Money Tracking

Center for Public Integrity
Coin-Op Congress
Soft Money Tracker

Government Search

Government Search Engine
Public Statements

Polls and Statistics

Polling Report
Professor Pollkatz


Issues, Key votes
Legislative Info
Hearings Schedule

Branches of Government

Bush Administration
House of Reps
U.S. Supreme Court

Elections and Voter Registration

Elections Candidates
How Laws are Made
Register to Vote

Required Reading

Bill of Rights
Declaration of Independence
Federalist Papers
Gettysburg Address
"I Have a Dream"
Magna Carta

Reference many entries free, rest you pay concise, free articles search across several titles
Xrefer: one-stop search of 35 reference titles
Refdesk:Colin Powell's favorite site, says NYT


GoogleAnswers: pay a researcher to find answers (starting at $2.50) answers for every day questions

Transcripts: access speeches and TV shows

Speech & Transcripts Center: current and historical transcripts historical transcripts and audio

Public Records

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests: Request copies of government documents using this simple form
Search Systems' Public Records: 26,000+ public record databases

Country Facts

Economist's Country Briefings
CIA World Factbook compare stats about different countries compare stats about different countries:

Search Engines

Google: Simply the bestfor a general search.
Better Googling: Things you didn't know Google does
Ask Jeeves: ask questions; multiple engines in one place
Cyberjournalist SuperSearch: access different search boxes in one place

Tracking Search Trends: What are people searching for?

Yahoo Buzz Index
Google Zeitgeist
AskJeeves most popular live search watch

When you know nothing about a topic personal guides on hundreds of topics

Tracking Sites and Documents

Internet Archive: historical archive of millions of sites
Wayback Machine

Rumor Busting

Urban Legends


Keywords on TV keep track of keywords mentioned on TV (coming soon: RadioEars)

News Archives

Vanderbilt Television News Archive 250+ broadcast stations from around the world
News Archives on the Web: guide to newspaper archives

Journalism Resources Pulitzer-winner Bill Dedman's suggestions
JournalistsToolBox: 12,000 links from Mike Reilly
Reporter's Desktop: suggestions from Duff Wilson of the Seattle Times
JournalismNet: reference guide from Julian Sher
A Journalists' Guide to the Internet: links from Christopher Callahan's definitive guidebook
JournalistExpress: a "desktop" for journalists
DeadlineOnline: links and more from Alan Schlein. author of "Find It Online"

Tips For Stories From Project for Excellence in Journalism
Poynter Tip Sheets: 200 tips sheets, indexed by topic
Poynter's Al's Morning Meeting
IRE Tip Sheets: From Investigative Reporters & Editors
Globalbeat Tips - resources & articles
Society of Environmental Journalists PUSH Journal searched newsgroups
Yahoo! Full Coverage: best way to follow developments stories by beat search local stories
DayPop: search 35,500 news sites and Web logs

Must Have Investigative Resources on the Web

A tutorial on Web searching: strategy and syntax
A tutorial from Power Reporting. What's the best search engine? The one you learn to use well. Search engines can help you find information on the World Wide Web, but you'll get more chaff than wheat unless you learn general search strategies and the particular search syntax for your favorite search engine.
The largest e-mail address database and directory on the web. Varied method of performing searches using phone numbers, e-mail and home addresses. Also able to search for businesses, zip codes, area codes, schools and even persons.

Argali White & Yellow
Argali White & Yellow searches multiple telephone (and related) directories at once. Many different search types are supported: people, business, toll-free, reverse search (by phone or address), search for area and zip codes. Argali also searches for maps, email addresses and weather conditions and forecast. Search results can be sorted by name, address, street, city, state, zip code or phone number and can also be saved on disk in various formats (plain text, csv/excel, or html). The program automatically remembers your last twenty searches. Aggregates info. from more than 25 sources/sites (Yahoo, InfoSpace and AnyWho).

Atlas of US Presidential Elections
Election results for years from 1789-2000, with detailed pages (maps, charts, voter turnout, etc) for each year between 1932-2000. State-by-state results available for years between 1892-2000, and county-by-county results between 1960-2000. Also has 2000 primary results and 2002 gubernatorial results, as well as information on election law and history.

Bartleby Reference

Biography Online Database
More than 20,000 people from the Cambridge Encyclopedia Database and the Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography.

Campaign Finance Information Center
Many starting points for journalists covering money and politics. Strong in state campaign finance data, which is searchable. From Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.

Center for Ethics in Government:
If you're looking for registered lobbyists, contact the people listed here in order to get comprehensive, up-to-date information on who is doing what in any state. From the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Center for Public Integrity
This nonprofit organization offers original investigative reports, especially on campaign finance and public safety issues. Its 50 States project is examining the business activities and interests of lawmakers. Founded by executive director Charles Lewis.

Center for Responsive Politics
Political junkies and anyone looking into a regulatory issue will appreciate the alerts from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit with searchable databases of U.S. campaign contributions. It's easy to look up campaign contributions here, with the usual limitation that there is a time lag between the contributions and reporting by the Federal Election Commission. Staff at CRP have the most useful publications and advice on covering campaign finance, and will provide data in a hurry, sliced the way you want, for a small fee.

Congressional E-mail Directory
E-mail for the U.S. Congress. Pick a state, or searchable by name.

Congressional Record Filter
Every newsroom can use this free tool to keep track of new mentions of the local Congressperson, or river, or city, or business, in the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of the U.S. Congress. Instead of searching anew at Thomas (what the Library of Congress calls its Web service, in honor of Thomas Jefferson), you can save your Thomas search queries, then check back periodically to see new items only. Allows a comprehensive search of items from 1993 to date. This is a personalized search extension of the Thomas service from the Library of Congress, provided by the University of North Carolina. The catch: You must fill out a questionnaire to play.
A Weblog and link treasure trove, " focuses on how the Internet, media convergence and new technologies are changing journalism. The site offers tips, news and commentary about online journalism, digital storytelling, converged news operations and using the Internet as a reporting tool." From Jonathan Dube, a senior producer for A service of American Press Institute.

Independent news source with focus on Middle East terrorism; has a distinctly hawkish, often pro-Israel bent (it was founded by 2 journalists in Israel) though it claims to have "no axe to grind." Provides news and tips about terrorism and intelligence from around the world that aren't necessarily reported widely.

Links to more than 300 sources of local and regional socioeconomic data in the U.S. A valuable resource for finding regional, state and local economic and marketing data on income, employment, housing starts and other economic statisticsstates, cities, counties and regions across the nation. Site includes a User's Guide to Socioeconomic Data for Understanding Your Regional Economy, a 100-page "complete dummies" style guide to finding and using data. Developed by Joe Cortright and Andrew Reamer, and sponsored in part by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Also offers and E-mail alert for registered users.

Economic data series from many sources, with Excel spreadsheet files of each! "This page is meant to be a comprehensive site of free, easily available economic time series data useful for economic research, in particular economic forecasting." A lot of the data are state and local employment data.

Encarta Online
Encarta Concise Encyclopedia: not complete, but free!

Essential Reference Books for Every News Library
A list of books that have consistently been found to be useful for U.S. news libraries. From the Special Libraries Association. With related Web links.

FACSNET Reporter's Cardfile
Addresses, phone numbers and Web addresses for think tanks, advocacy groups, and special interests. (Registration required.)

FEC Info
Loads of data and reports on campaign finance, lobbying and soft money in the U.S. Well organized and free. Created by Tony Raymond and Kent Cooper, both formerly of the Federal Election Commission.

Federal Election Commission
Current (as current as it gets, anyway) info on U.S. campaign contributions. Some private sites offer easier electronic access.

Federal Reserve Economic Data
FRED has economic time series on employment, money supply, interest rates, producer prices, gross domestic product, et al. From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

A one-stop shop of U.S. government statistics from 70 agencies, searchable by topic. Or browse the "A to Z" list for ideas on any topic.

The Yahoo of law. Legal subject index, law schools, etc.

First Amendment Center
Devoted to monitoring the state of the first amendment; has all the latest headlines pertaining to the subject, as well as a large topic database containing information on subjects ranging from school uniforms to cameras in the courtroom to abortion protests. Has a library of reports on the amendment, as well as court records that can be searched.

Global Beat experts list
List of international experts, maintained by New York University. Categorized by region and issue.

GPO Access
Access to much of the bureaucratic paper in Washington, electronically, from the Government Printing Office. Search and retrieve the full text from more than 70 databases and indexes, including the Federal Register, Congressional Record, Economic Report of the President, Economic Indicators, Commerce Business Daily, U.S. Code, Congressional bills, GAO reports, Supreme Court decisions, and more. A list of databases with content descriptions and search hints is available. Time coverage for the databases varies. Print versions of many of these databases can be found in depository libraries.

InfoSpace Reverse Lookup
Just enter a number, address, area code or E-mail address to find listings. Reverse listings are mostly U.S. only. The best part: Look for "find neighbors of...." The result links you to neighborhood map, directions, businesses nearby, and neighbors.

Inside the Oval Office (Official)
Official White House web site. Search press briefings, executive orders, radio addresses, and policy statements on Iraq, homeland security, the economy, and other topics.

National Geographic Map Machine
An authoritative atlas of the world: political, physical and satellite maps.

National Press Club news sources
A searchable directory of news sources and experts.

Newspaper Archives on the Web
More newspapers are offering free or low-cost archives on the Web. An up-to-date collection of links to U.S. newspaper archives by the good souls at the Special Libraries Association.

Non-US Newspaper Archives
Links to archives of newspapers outside the U.S.

Phonebook Gateway
More than 300 university telephone books. A great way to find phone, address and E-mail, especially for college professors.

Project Vote Smart
Free background reports on members of Congress. A toll-free hotline for reporters and voters. Voting records. Free handbooks.

Reporter's Desktop
A fabulous one-stop shop for the best phone finders and search engines. Compiled by Duff Wilson of The Seattle Times. state public records
Links to public records in the 50 states, most free, including professional licenses, coporate registrations, cities and towns -- by far the largest and best directory of free public record databases on the Internet.

More than 5,000 expert contacts and media spokespersons representing more than 1,000 organizations ready to answer media questions on their areas of expertise. A free service for journalists, writers and researchers. Based in Canada.

Speech and Transcript Center
Links to speeches by government and corporate executives, TV and radio programs, government transcripts, historical papers. By Gary Price.

State and Local Government on the Net
Formerly Piperinfo. A thorough collection of links to public records in 50 states.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
Uncle Sam's reference shelf. Provides graphs, charts and other information on more that 30 topics, ranging from population to elections to agriculture.

Switchboard telephone search
Search 106 million listed residential telephone numbers in the U.S., by name. (Also 11 million business listings.)

Tapping Officials' Secrets
Comprehensive guides to state laws on public meetings and public records (print and electronic), from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

U.S. Government Accountability Office
Previously known as the General Accounting Office. A lot of journalists use this one. The GAO Daybook is a daily update on reports, documents and testimony. It comes in two forms: an announcement by title and number of pages; and, a few days later, with a URL to the GAO site.

Maybe you can find a person or organization by searching for its Web domain names, such as or Listings include name, address and E-mail address. Search in the registry of top-level domains (only .com, org., .net). Use just the domain name (, not a full URL ( or Note the help file for other options, including searching by company name.

Word Counter
Analyze speeches, corporate documents or a news article. This tool counts the frequency of words in a document.