Crime and federal spending
The reporter for this article had to have knowledge in where these databases lie, knowledge that not many Internet users necessarily have.
The writer(s) are able to provide insight as to which sites are better than the others.
I can see these sites being useful in a number of ways in reporting. For instance, if you're tracking a string of crimes happening around the U of M campus you might find national trends of similar crimes in the Uniform Crime Reports page.