We’ve launched our first EveryBlock “special report” — an analysis of Chicago addresses mentioned in the recent federal investigation “Operation Crooked Code.”
As explained on our about page, an overall goal of EveryBlock is to point you to news near your block. We’ve been working hard to do a good job of this so far by accumulating public records, cataloging newspaper stories and pulling together various other geographic information from the Web. However, over the past few months as we’ve been building the site, we’ve come across a number of types of information that don’t exactly fit the EveryBlock mold.
For example, an architectural group named “Chicago 7 Most Endangered Buildings“ in January. That’s geographically relevant news (i.e., if you live near one of those endangered buildings, you’d likely be interested in knowing about it), but because it’s such a “one-off” type of information, we haven’t done anything with it on EveryBlock. It didn’t make much sense to add such a relatively obscure type of information to our list of news types.
To solve this problem, we’ve developed a concept of special reports — one-time collections of recent geographic news that doesn’t fit anywhere else on the site.
The first EveryBlock special report is a great one: Operation Crooked Code. A week or so ago, 15 people were arrested on bribery charges as part of a federal probe into corruption in Chicago city government. We’ve analyzed U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s complaint documents and cataloged the specific addresses mentioned within. On the project’s front page, you can view every location we found, along with a relevant excerpt from the complaint. You can sort this data in various ways, including a list and map of all the alleged bribe locations.
We’ve found that this really helps the news feel closer to home, so to speak. Hearing about these indictments in the news is one thing, but finding out a bribe allegedly took place at the Dunkin Donuts by your office puts things in a new perspective.
If you happen to live near any of these locations, you’ll notice that the information shows up on your block page (example), with the rest of the local news you know and love.
We’re looking forward to putting together more special reports. If you have any ideas, please let us know by e-mailing feedback at everyblock.com or using the feedback form at the bottom of any EveryBlock page. Let us know what you think!
(Cross-posted to the EveryBlock Blog.)