Looking forward to the future of journalism

Road rage in Texas: Find accidents in your neighborhood with this interactive map

Full map Crash with one or more injuries. Crash with no injuries. Braylon Nelson is one of the sweetest kids you’ll ever meet. Like any other 2-year-old boy with an insatiable curiosity, he asks a million questions and loves stories. When I visited him, a 400-page book of fairy tales was on his bed near … Read more

Wrong-way crashes on San Antonio highways happen more often than you might think

A few months ago, my boss, Express-News Projects Editor David Sheppard, asked me to see what we could find out about wrong-way crashes on highways. It seemed like there were a lot of these deadly accidents in the news lately, and local officials had recently unveiled a $500,000 pilot project to install flashing wrong-way signs … Read more

WOAI fought long battle to obtain TxDOT’s auto-accident data

Wrong way signWOAI featured a unique, data-driven story last week about the high number of accidents caused by inattentive drivers talking on their cell phones. Journalists at the television station analyzed an accident database kept by the Texas Department of Transportation that tracks contributing factors for all vehicle crashes in Texas.

To get the story, WOAI had to fight a lengthy open-records battle with TxDOT. During their legal dispute, TxDOT took the unusual step of asking a state senator to write a bill that, in its original form, would have kept the entire database private.

The dispute between WOAI and TxDOT is a telling example of how difficult it can be to get important information out to the public. In some cases, it’s a long, expensive slog — it took nearly two years for WOAI to get its hands on the data.

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How to look up incident reports about plane crashes

Photo courtesy of eyewitness Janis Krums from TwitPic If you want to find official reports about plane crashes and other accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board has a searchable database of incident reports on its Web site. The nice thing about this site is you can do a keyword search of the narratives in the … Read more