The story "Towing jumps as plowing records fall" in the Minnesota Daily used computer-assisted reporting to analyze the number of cars towed in the Twin Cities last winter.
According to the article, last winter set the record for the largest number of snow emergencies called in the Twin Cities. The author tracked the number of cars towed and where they were towed from and compared these numbers to previous years.
To write this story, the reporter needed to locate records of the number of cars towed for at least the past two winters for the Twin Cities. He then had to analyze where they were located and how these numbers stacked up to past years.
In addition to the number of cars towed, the author also had to locate records showing how many snow emergencies have been called in past years and what the record amounts of snow are.
These records were located online, so the reporter needed to use the computer to access them. Then he needed to analyze the data to see how how the number of cars towed increased in different areas of the cities. The number increased in each section, but not proportionally--the number of cars towed around the university only increased slightly, where other areas increased much more drastically. Analyzing the data helped him develop and angle for the story and know what questions to ask to figure out why this might be.
The use of computer-assisted reporting helped the author to identify changes in the data showing the number of cars towed, and further analysis of this data revealed a trend: the record number of snow emergencies tied with the increase in cars towed and the large amount of snow last winter.