News Topics – Open Information and Public Records

By Thierry Peters

Potential news stories and informational pieces based on the following publicly accessible data:

  • Zoning maps – Access to these maps could provide news on downtown regeneration and zoning plans that could affect a centrally-located university within a city and the students who attend.  Students would be able to both be aware of government plans for city construction and be able to provide a voice.  New shopping areas, university development plans, walkways, etc. could potentially interest students. Invision TampaTampa Gov Zoning 
  • Corporate contributors to electoral campaigns – This is an interesting topic when it comes to election season.  For example, the government bailouts of corporations in the recent past could affect the amount that those companies donate to the incumbent leadership.  It would be interesting to list the top contributors for each candidate and to see what those corporations are trying to get out of it. Open Secrets

    Government pay for city officials – This would revolve around trying to find the data on pay for the mayor and other top officials.  This is useful in order to hold the government accountable in times of financial turmoil.  For example, city officials and city council members could be increasing their levels of pay while the city is running a large deficit.  TBO Tampa Public Salaries

    Crime/Health statistics maps – It has occurred in the past where crime statistics have been falsified, skewed, or changed, based on neighborhood demographics, or city-wide crime eradication goals.  It would be interesting to analyze crime maps for neighborhoods and try to obtain accurate opinions from residents of those areas on crime.  Health data could provide insight into trends.  Some health issues could arise in a concentrated area due to reasons that could be explained by industry, sewer, etc.  Tampa Gov Crime Map

    Changing neighborhood demographic compositions, changing populations, company data. – Changing evolution of a city can be an interesting topic for informational purposes.  A city may be experiencing a shortage of certain skill types and income levels, and one could try and find out why.  A city may also experience growth, and data could show where the growth is coming from.  Company data sorted by type and newly relocated companies could provide further insight.  This could also help with future university graduates who seek information on a city’s top firms and areas with highest employment levels. US Census FactsTampa Bay Demographics

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