Data visualization is often an important way for environmental journalists to tell stories. One important help is the National Atlas of the United States, published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Because it is digital, the Atlas can be overlaid with many kinds of information: data on abandoned mines, coalfields, butterflies, aquifers, or invasive plants — to mention only a few examples. And because scale is variable, you can zoom in or out to customize it to your story and audience. It is online and searchable, but you can download the data in order to manipulate it with your own geographic information system (GIS) software.
You can find it at the USGS's EarthExplorer web page.