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Welcome to Follow The Numbers blog

In the late 1980's, The News & Observer began acquiring, maintaining and analyzing electronic public records, such as state government phone calls, check registers and campaign contributions. Since then, we've acquired and analyzed hundreds of a variety of databases to help us produce the best investigative stories we can.

Over the years, technology and more transparency of public records have made this process a little easier. In fact, many public records are now available online for free or for a relatively low fee (property records, criminal records, vital health statistics, census data and business licenses, just to name a few).

This blog will take a closer look at how we use numbers and data analysis in our stories. We'll focus on facts and figures that may not make the front page but hopefully provide compelling insights into topics that impact our lives. For suggestions, questions or comments contact David Raynor.