This course page was created for COMM 2100: Welcome to New Writing with Dr. Ashley Walter. This page includes many of the resources we discussed in class, but if you're a Communications Major be sure to explore the rest of the guide! Contact your Communications Librarian (Sarah Reando) or the Government Information Librarian (Rebecca Hyde) with any question or to make an appointment for an in depth research consultation. For quick and/or general questions you can also use our 24/5 chat assistance to get help with your research!
Local police departments report data on crime to the FBI to be collated into national level crime data. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports started in 1930 to collect crime statistics using uniform definitions across the whole country. In addition to this data which is usually available down to the city or police department level, you can often find statistics from local departments at a neighborhood or precinct level. Use usa.gov to search for local statistics.
Most states have campaign finance disclosure searches like the one for Missouri linked below. Use usa.gov to search for such pages, and read an overview of campaign finance laws by state from National Council for State Legislatures (NCSL).
Wherever you end up or whatever locality you're writing a story about, there is likely a public library nearby. Public libraries are often the best sources for asking questions and getting information about local government and records. For larges systems (like in St. Louis) the main library/headquarter library will be the place to go to or reach out to. Remember there's usually options for email, chat, or calling, you don't have to go in person!
Most areas of the country also have a Federal Depository Library where there will be an expert in (at least) federal government information who you can ask for help navigating government websites and sources. Although they don't always specialize in local government information, they likely know where to refer you for more help!