Web design: Danielle Gordon, Ryan Mark and Meg Theno
Data assistance: Christopher Groskopf, Darnell Little, Max Rust
Reporters: David Jackson and Gary Marx
Photographer: Nancy Stone
Editors: George Papajohn and Kaarin Tisue
This unprecedented and landmark investigation began when Chicago Tribune reporters gathered and analyzed 407 Chicago police reports of attempted child abduction by a stranger between March 2008 and September 2010, as well as 123 additional cases from Cook County suburbs since 2008.
Filing more than 100 FOIAs and building a series of databases by scraping electronic police reports and adding court and census records, the resulting three-part series and website, “Walking into Danger,” busted myths and yielded surprising data about this frightening and iconic crime. It provoked immediate government response and yielded insights that will help protect youth.
The powerful website, www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/childabduct, drew hundreds of thousands of page views in the week following publication, and augmented the print coverage.
The site gave parents and educators information and tools to protect youths and to coach kids on protecting themselves. An interactive map allows readers to input any address in the city and see attempted child abduction attempts in the surrounding area.
The web also included a photo gallery portraits of victims and offenders, case summaries on more than 40 convicted offenders, as well as reports on a half-dozen unsolved cases that have haunted the Chicago region for years.
In a special Web page, titled “How We Did It,” the reporters carefully explained the limits and potential weaknesses in the data, and outlined the steps they took to gather, verify and analyze the information.
This post was submitted by Ryan Mark.