Essential Web sites for journalists covering poverty— by Grey Pentecost, graduate research assistant
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare... AEI's purposes are to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism--limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate." The front page includes publications available to read on-line, a list of recent and upcoming events and the latest books. A sidebar links to several of AEI's research projects and there is also a tab that called research areas.
America's Second Harvest: The Nation's Food Bank Network
The "Hunger Almanac 2006" provides national and state data on poverty and hunger. For an updated version see the "Hunger Almanac 2007." Fact sheets for individual states also include information obtained from food banks throughout the state. I believe these fact sheets would be very helpful for journalists. The rest of the Web site is full of valuable information as well. Users can learn more about hunger and view hunger fact sheets based on topics such as child hunger facts, hunger in the suburbs and working poor. There is also an index of issue briefs.
Brookings Center on Children and Families
The Center on Children and Families studies policies on the well-being of America's children and their parents, especially children in less-advantaged families, and seeks a more effective means of addressing poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity in the United States." Includes research and commentary, publications, news and resources.
The Brookings Institution is a non-profit public policy organization that conducts "high-quality independent research." "Our experts focus on strengthening American democracy; advancing the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and securing a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system." Along with research and event highlights there are three sections broken down into "U.S.," "World," and "Economy." Research programs include economic studies, foreign policy, global economy and development, governance studies and metropolitan policy program.
A non-profit public policy research organization. Promotes the "traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace." Publishes books, monographs, briefing papers and shorter studies. Holds policy forums, book forums and major policy conferences which are all taped and archived on the Web site. Blog, daily podcast, publications and research areas that include bioethics; education and child policy; government and politics; immigration and labor markets; law and civil liberties; regulatory studies; U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy; budget and tax policy; energy and environment; health, welfare and entitlements; international economics and development; political philosophy; and telecom, internet and information policy.
Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter. Provides information on issues such as national security, domestic & economy, energy & environment, and media & culture. There is a list of experts and various publications and multimedia.
Center for Housing Policy
The center works with the National Housing Conference (NHC) to look at the nation's housing issues and examine the policies and programs developed to address them. Publications address topics such as inclusionary zoning, homebuyer education, housing impacts and shared equity. The site also includes a database that presents wage and housing information for metropolitan areas around the country.
Children's Defense Fund
A non-profit organization whose research informs "informs the Leave No Child Behind® Movement to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start." They especially pay attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. Provides relevant news reports and information on policy initiatives, programs and data. The data section contains relevant census data as well as data separated into categories such as child health, child welfare and mental health, and early childhood development.
Congressional Budget Office
"CBO's mandate is to provide the Congress with objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget, and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process." Publishes cost estimates and mandate statements for bills, reports needed for the budget process, analytical studies that explore economic and budgetary issues involving the federal government, briefs, the Monthly Budget Review and background papers and related documents.
Fund for Southern Communities
"Mission Statement: The Fund for Southern Communities is a public foundation that supports and unites organizations and donors working to create just and sustainable communities that are free of oppression and that embrace and celebrate all people. Through grant-making and related activities the Fund for Southern Communities fosters social change initiated by community-based groups in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina." The Web site contains information that shows users how to apply for community media collaboration grants and media justice toolkits. Also has the annual reports for the organization.
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that strives to raise the level of public policy debate in the state of Georgia. GBPI uses research, analysis, and education to advance policies and practices that improve the quality of life for all Georgians. Through GBPI’s fact-based research, we educate policy makers, the media, community leaders, and the public about the importance of a fair and adequate tax system, affordable health coverage, and policies that expand opportunity and economic success for all Georgians.
Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin
"IRP is a center for interdisciplinary research into the causes and consequences of poverty and social inequality in the United States. As one of three Area Research Centers sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it has a particular interest in poverty and family welfare in the Midwest." Includes publications, news reports and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Poverty. They also provide numerous poverty-related links that could be helpful to journalists. Information about various research projects.
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues:
"Helps non-metropolitan journalists define the public agenda for their communities, and grasp the local impact of broader issues." It also helps metro newspapers interpret rural issues. Publishes research and conducts seminars. Includes information about particular rural issues, and provides numerous links to helpful resources for reporters. There is a blog linked to the Web site.
Institute on Race and Poverty (University of Minnesota)
"The Institute on Race & Poverty (IRP) investigates the ways that policies and practices disproportionately affect people of color and the disadvantaged. A core purpose for IRP's work is to ensure that people have access to opportunity. Another is to help the places where people live develop in ways that both promote access to opportunity and help maintain regional stability." Links to relevant news stories and information on numerous projects undertaken by the IRP. The Race and Regionalism 2005 conference is also made available online through various presentation documents, including audio recordings of the presentations.
Journalism Center on Children & Families at the University of Maryland
"The Journalism Center inspires and recognizes exemplary reporting on children and families." Provides a daily news section, information on training and fellowships, and resources related to child welfare, crime/violence, education, families/communities, health/development and economics. The "J-Community" is a place where users can register online to join and gather tips and exchange ideas with fellow journalists.
Kaiser Family Foundation
"A leader in health policy and communications, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, private operating foundation focusing on the major health care issues facing the U.S." News and information on a wide variety of health topics that would be helpful with research concerning the poor, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and costs/insurance.
Manpower Demonstration Research Corp
"MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization dedicated to learning what works to improve programs and policies that affect the poor. We design and study new approaches to the problems confronting public education; low-income children, families, and communities; and low-wage workers and people with serious barriers to employment." There are documents provided that go along with each of these policy areas.
National Academy of Sciences
Includes publications and links to various related Web sites or activities.
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
Includes background and statistics, policy and legislation, publications, information for homeless veterans so they can find help, as well as resources for service providers.
National Coalition for the Homeless
Contains many articles relating to housing justice, economic justice, health care justice and civil rights. The organization also campaigns for the Bringing America Home Act designed to stop homelessness. The site shows people how they can get involved with the organization's activities, links to the speaker's bureau and provides publications and other resources.
This fact sheet is called "Why are People Homeless" and was published in 2007. Addresses causes such as poverty, housing and other issues (including mental illness and addiction disorders).
Pew Research Center
"The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take positions on policy issues. Its work is carried out by these eight projects": The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press; Project for Excellence in Journalism; Stateline.org; Pew Internet and American Life Project; The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life; Pew Hispanic Center; Pew Global Attitudes Project; and Social & Demographic Trends. Includes topic and publications indexes and a databank that contains poll results.
"The Poynter Institute is a school for journalists, future journalists, and teachers of journalism." Contains news and tips, training opportunities, message boards and job postings.
Solutions for America: Thriving Neighborhoods
Information about preventing homelessness in America. Includes links to other publications and Web sites. Other topics on the Solutions for America site are Healthy Families and Children, Living-Wage Jobs, and Viable Economies. The site is operated by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change.
Synopsis for documentary Waging a Living
With this film, producer/director Roger Weisberg wanted "viewers to understand what it's like to work hard, play by the rule and still not be able to support a family." Shot over a three-year period, the film documents the struggles of four people who work full-time jobs but still cannot make ends meet. The documentary shows how the American Dream is increasingly unattainable for many.
The Almanac of Policy Issues
This section on poverty talks about official estimates of poverty and distribution of poverty. From the main page, users can see that other policy issues are covered under the headings of criminal justice, culture and society, economic issues, education, environment, government operations, health, social welfare and world: foreign affairs and national security.
The Carnegie Foundation and The Carnegie Reporter
Supports and promotes research on international peace and advancing education and knowledge. Includes research reports, publications and multimedia. Report topics include preventing deadly conflict; learning in the primary grades; meeting the needs of young children; and science, technology and government. Has issues of the "Carnegie Reporter" magazine on-line, as well as "Carnegie Results," the quarterly newsletter.
The Economic Policy Institute
"The Economic Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy." Research under topic headings such as living standards and labor markets; government and the economy; trade and globalization; and education. A wealth of information. Various publications, a "datazone" with online calculators, and issue guides.
The Fanning Institute
"The Fanning Institute, a multidisciplinary outreach unit within Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia, works with communities of all types, within and outside of Georgia." Provides information on programs and services, along with a list of publications.
The Heritage Foundation
"Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." The front page highlights their "10 transformational initiatives" such as education, energy and environment, healthcare, etc. The Web site includes information on many domestic and foreign issues listed by subject. Research and events are highlighted. There is also information for "press and media."
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
"The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's premier research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses exclusively on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color….The Joint Center's current research and analyses address critical issues in three key areas: political participation; economic advancement; and health policy." The user will find various publications under headings such as news, press releases, health policy institute, politics-election and blog. Further information is found under "Current Research and Policy Activities."
The Rand Corporation
Rand's mission is to "help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis." Includes a section for the news media. It addresses many different research topics.
The Russell Sage Foundation
"The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American Foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences." Research program topics include the "future of work," immigration, cultural contact and social inequality. For each research program a description is included as well as visiting scholars and books published as a result of the work. It also tells users how to apply for various things within their programs such as project awards and applying to be a visiting scholar.
The Synergos Institute
"Synergos addresses global poverty and social injustice through collaboration, bringing together government, business, civil society and local communities to work together for social progress." "Works through partnerships, networks and knowledge sharing." Talks about the various partnerships and projects. Site includes knowledge resources that can be browsed by topic or region/country/territory.
The Urban Institute
"The Urban Institute gathers data, conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues — to foster sound public policy and effective government." Various research topics, including a heading of "poverty/welfare." Also features a "researcher toolkit" that includes a policy jargon decoder, fact sheets, issues in focus, data methods and UI databases.
U.S. Census Bureau
Includes census information for individuals and households as well as business and industry. There is also a map section. Under "American FactFinder" users will find quick access to fact sheets about individual communities.
United States Department of Agriculture
Information on subjects such as agriculture, education and outreach, food and nutrition, laws and regulations, marketing and trade, natural resources and environment, research and science, rural and community development, travel and recreation, and USDA employee services.
U.S. Government Accountability Office
"The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the 'congressional watchdog,' GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars." Includes headings of "reports and testimonies," "legal decisions," "comptroller general," and "topic collections." Users can browse reports by date, topic or agency.
Washington and Lee Journalism Department
(American Poverty Journalism Center)
The work of students (many of them journalism majors) at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. Intended for professional journalists who cover issues related to poverty, class and economic justice. Provides relevant news by finding and linking to print, broadcast and online coverage.