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EXPOSÉ: America's Investigative Reports
TIPS FROM THE REPORTERS
When covering the aftermath of natural disasters
(From the IRE Resource Center)*

1 Get started with maps on the Web such as FEMA¹s Mapping & Analysis Center and make sure to save them to your hard drive in case they are removed from the Web site. 2 Use the Federal Register for Presidential Declarations and Amendments to identify places that have been declared disasters and are eligible for assistance. 3 Get local data and breakdowns by county levels. 4 Create maps of damaged property and then compare them to damaged property reports. 5 Data won¹t do it alone. You need to get supporting documentation and solid interviews. 6 Talk to local residents and business owners who will know if fraud is widespread. 7 Check the background of inspectors. 8 Use commercial databases when necessary. Try Accurint, Nexis and AutoTrackXP to obtain addresses, phone numbers and names. Keep track of it all in an Excel spreadsheet. *Based on the reporting of Sally Kestin, Megan O¹Matz, John Maines, and Jon Burstein of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for ³FEMA: A Legacy of Waste,² a series of over 70 articles chronicling the Federal Emergency Management Agency's gross mismanagement of disaster relief funds.
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