The Distributive Reporting Project is a compilation of violent crime reports in the eight-county Cross Timbers Region that surrounds Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.
The records gathered will be made available to the public using DocumentCloud, and Google Fusion maps will be created and posted as interactive content on the site.
Distributive Reporting takes complicated, time-consuming reporting projects, breaks them down into bite-sized pieces assigned to students, then reassembles the pieces into a story that is larger than the sum of its parts.
It was designed to do the sort of journalism big dailies did when they were healthy and that they find increasingly difficult to staff and fund today. It has been the reporting components of several successful FOIFT Light of Day Projects: the first Clery audit of large Texas universities and subsequent audit of Tarleton (SPJ Texas-Oklahoma 1st place, and national SPJ finalist), the Taser package (IRE winner), crime mapping projects around the state, etc.
It provides students with hand-on experience filing open records requests, sorting and assessing mountains of documents, working in journalistic teams and creating news-content that otherwise would not exist.