The KAPIKILL Files, chapter 3: Now for the Cannon

After part-time diplomat and shopkeeper Orhan Gündüz was threatened by the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide, law enforcement declined to provide direct protection as a pair of joggers waited for him along his usual route home. Read chapter 1 and chapter 2. “It was an eye-opening moment,”...
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Revolving-door riches: How Obama-Biden officials cashed in during the Trump years

Most people have heard of Washington’s revolving door, which allows politicos to cash in on their government service by roving between the private and public sectors, leveraging their government connections and know-how. Distaste for the revolving door, and the potential conflicts of interest it creates, is one of the few things that can unify Republicans and Democrats. Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden both enacted rules to try to limit those interested in passing through the revolving door.

Always be filing. But what? Here are some suggestions.

This advice from Michael, first shared upon my arrival at MuckRock, is always top of mind, even if I don’t find myself filing nearly as much as I thought I would by now. One reason why I haven’t filed as much yet is that I’m still working to answer two crucial questions: “What am I filing?” and “Why am I filing?”

Help us investigate Chicago’s air quality

Chicago’s air quality is among the worst in the U.S., and there are several local hotspots for particulate matter 2.5 — the tiny particles that come from diesel trucks and industry and enter people’s lungs and blood, causing significant health problems. The city’s most polluted hotspots, which...

The KAPIKILL Files, chapter 2: The last days of Orhan Gündüz

Following the January 1982 assassination of the Turkish Consul in Los Angeles, a Turkish import shop owner and honorary diplomat’s shop in Cambridge was bombed. The Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide claimed credit for both, issuing a demand: Pay attention. Read Chapter 1. On April 23, one day...

Chicago’s air pollution hotspots: New sensor network reveals neighborhood air quality disparities

This investigation, “Chicago’s Air Pollution Hotspots,” is a collaboration between the Chicago Sun-Times, WBEZ, the Cicero Independiente and MuckRock, with support from Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation. Reporting by Smarth Gupta, Dillon Bergin, María Inés Zamudio, Charmaine Runes and Brett Chase. Derek Kravitz of MuckRock, Dave Newbart of the Sun-Times and Matt Kiefer of WBEZ edited.

The KAPIKILL Files, chapter 1: FBI files reveal the inside story of the 1982 assassination of a Turkish diplomat outside Boston and the hunt to find his killers

For years, Orhan Gündüz’s small gift and import shop was a gathering place for Turkish expatriates, tucked away in the center of Cambridge’s Central Square, across the Charles River from Boston. But by the spring of 1982, Topkapi Imports had become a deadly target for Armenian terrorists waging a violent campaign against Turkey, and each new face entering Orhan’s shop posed a potential threat.

Michigan’s child care crisis is worse than policymakers know. We want to hear from parents and providers about it.

Karin Cooney’s child care center is licensed to look after 44 kids from Monday to Friday. But for months, she’s only really been able to care for around 30 — a consequence of being strapped for the certified, high-quality staff that have made her center, Angel Care Child Care, one of the most sought-after in Grand Traverse County.

We Moved! Here’s what that means for your public records requests

When an agency’s records department sends responses via the postal service (affectionately known as snail mail), those communications, including acknowledgment letters, status updates and responsive documents, come to us for processing. The materials we receive range from letters and packets of files to CDs and thumb drives. We even get a few boxes of records every week.

FFDW and MuckRock collaborate to bring DocumentCloud to the decentralized web

Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) has announced a major award to MuckRock, furthering our vision of being the public’s engine for understanding our world. FFDW and MuckRock are teaming up to integrate decentralized storage technology for DocumentCloud, our open source platform that currently hosts over 8 million verified documents. This collaboration will also expand our leading accountability and transparency tools to support a much wider range of use cases. We’re excited to make DocumentCloud a bridge for civic technologists, newsrooms, non-profits, researchers and more to better collaborate and move key public interest documents to the Filecoin network and support a range of key preservation, publication and analysis efforts.

MuckRock, USA TODAY and Documenting COVID-19 project win first place in National Headliners Awards for ‘Uncounted’ investigation

MuckRock, the USA TODAY network and the Documenting COVID-19 project, a pandemic-era journalism project funded by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation, won first place in the 2022 National Headliners Awards for online pandemic coverage or project. The ongoing investigation — “Uncounted: The hidden death toll of the...

A MuckRocker’s guide to requesting public records with the public

FOIA can be a tricky process, but you don’t need to go at it alone. Here are some of our favorite tips, tricks and examples of opening up the public records process, whether it’s hosting an event to train others or building a larger records campaign that works to get more people involved. The benefits: More transparency, more documents and stronger laws that work better for all requesters.

Help dig into rejected license plates and other DMV data stories

Car registrations provide a trove of information, allowing us to potentially see what matters to owners, a bit of their personality (by way of vanity plates) and, indirectly, where people are driving. We recently highlighted Adam Steinbaugh’s successful request for a list of denied vanity license plates from the Connecticut...