IRW updates: Helping you to report on coronavirus


By Workshop staff


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Accountability:  The Workshop’s Accountability Project Team is working to add data to help newsrooms with COVID-19 coverage.

In collaboration with Big Local News, we have added hospital and nursing home data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The data includes hospital location, the number of beds by type, county-level population estimates by age (which can be linked to other CMS data); nursing home location, capacity and infection control compliance.

The TAP team also has added data on contracts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

We will continue to add relevant data and update our current catalog.

Let us know what other data you’d like to see. You can reach us at Sign up for a logon to access the full data catalog.

Toxic Zones: We posted an update to our story on a Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery that exploded in June 2019 and has continued to emit concentrations of benzene far above EPA’s limit for the carcinogenic gas. These articles are the first in a joint project among IRW, E&E News and NBC News that examine oil refineries’ emissions related to the health care of those who live nearby.

As E&E’s Corbin Hiar notes in the latest story:
“The previously unreported benzene data, posted online by EPA last week, raises fresh questions about what the private equity-owned company and regulators are doing to protect people who live near the PES refinery from decommissioning activities and legacy pollution, environmental experts and activists say.”

Virus coverage: Former IRW intern Pietro Lombardi, who now works for the Dow Jones newswires and is based in Barcelona, recently wrote about the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. Former IRW intern Christina Animashaun explained why this virus was so different from the flu in one of her many graphics for Vox.

Former IRW intern Morgan Krakow reports now for the Anchorage Daily News, where she looked at Alaska’s first COVID-19 patient, a cargo pilot who stayed at an Anchorage hotel. Former IRW interns Derek Hawkins and Reis Thebault co-wrote a story for The Washington Post tracking the growing number of coronavirus cases. IRW intern Meryl Kornfield recently co-reported a story for the Post on how a single infection on a Nile cruise eventually sickened dozens around the world. And she and former IRW intern Marisa Iati continue to report at the Post on the latest counts.

They’re all dealing with covering the news while taking precautions themselves, as are hundreds of other reporters around the country. Please consider donating to your local newspaper or news website or making a donation to the Investigative Reporting Workshop, where we’ve helped to train the next generation of outstanding reporters, now working at news organizations from coast to coast.