Included in this email you will find resources offered by IRE & NICAR to assist you in covering today’s shooting at an Omaha, Neb. shopping mall leaving 9 dead, including the shooter. For additional information or resources, please do not hesitate to contact the IRE Resource Center (573-882-3364 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Data Library (573-884-7711)Data Library Databases
·FBI Uniform Crime Reports:Comprised of six databases, the Uniform Crime Reports includes crime information reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies around the country. This includes some, not all, campus police agencies. The database includes the Supplemental Homicide Report, showing several details of all reported homicides in the United States since 1980. Most of the other data tables consist of the “index” crimes: murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor-vehicle theft and arson.
·Federal firearms licensees: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms federal firearms licensee database lists all federally approved gun dealers in the United States. That includes stores, rifle clubs, museums and individuals who want to own guns that require a ATF permit. After Congress enacted the Brady bill, licenses for dealerships became quite expensive and, consequently, the number of licensees has fallen noticeably. Current as of September 2006, the data includes 64,447 records of licensed dealers, from Wal-Mart to Kmart to Texas EZPAWN.
The IRE Resource Center has stories that deal with covering shootings and other tragedies. Examples include:
Story #22093:(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) This investigation was a follow-up to the March 11 shootings at the courthouse in Fulton County, GA in which Brian Nichols killed a judge, a reporter and a sheriff’s deputy. The investigation found that long-standing problems in the Sheriff’s Department set the stage for this tragedy; specifically, it cites “rampant absenteeism, conflicting allegiances, a disregard for physical fitness, ineffective management and poor emergency preparedness.” The investigation shows how those long terms issues were present in the seemingly insignificant decisions made by sheriff’s deputies on the day of the shooting that contributed to Nichols’ success.
Story #22263: (ABC Primetime Live, 2005) The murder of six employees at Lockheed Martin’s aircraft assembly plant in Meridian, Mississippi, was characterized by the county sheriff and Lockheed spokespeople as a typical act of tragic workplace violence. A Primetime Live investigation revealed the racial motivation of the crime and found that Lockheed Martin had known about the murderer’s history of making racial threats in the workplace. The investigation also revealed that Lockheed Martin plants across the country had numerous incidents of racially charged threats and hate speech at work among employees. Court records of the Mississippi murders were sealed, but Dateline interviewed plant employees in order to reconstruct the crime.
The IRE Resource Center also has tipsheets that deal with covering shootings and other tragedies. For instance:
Tipsheet #2515:Tragedies & Journalists. This is a guide published by the Dart Center to help journalists cover catastrophic events better, and to survive them in better shape. Chapters deal with such subjects as interviewing victims and rescue workers, being among the first responders to a terrorist act, and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tipsheet #2504:An outline of typical responses to trauma and how media intervention affects grief. It also lists rights a victim should have when dealing with journalists and what reporters can do to be aware of victim issues
Tipsheet #1549: Stuart Watson of WCNC-Charlotte, N. C., covers 10 breaking news scenarios and web sites that go with them and provides links that can help in reporting on accidents, wrecks, crashes, fires, spills and school/workplace violence.
Tipsheet #2448: News researcher Carolyn Edds’ guide to backgrounding people on the internet. It covers everything from newspaper archives to property records and personal licenses. Edds concludes her tipsheet with some google search tips and a list of helpful websites.
Tipsheet #1187: A list of 10 tips for backgrounding a person on deadline.
Some Resources on the Web
Resource Center Director
Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.
138 Neff Annex
Missouri School of Journalism
Columbia, MO 65211