RJI Futures Lab Update #82: Mining Online Data with Vocativ, Banjo and Zapaday

    by Reuben Stern
    November 6, 2014
    A screenshot of Vocativ's website with some of its stories. Vocativ uses advanced online surveillance tools to find stories in the "deep web," the roughly 80 percent of the Internet ordinary search tools don't touch. Screenshot courtesy of RJI.

    This week we explore three examples that mine electronic Web data to inform news coverage.

    "If data can be connected to an individual on an individual story, then we've done our job." - Scott Cohen, Vocativ CEO

    PART 1: Vocativ

    The news organization Vocativ uses sophisticated online surveillance tools that dive into the “deep Web” to find and surface newsworthy items. Chief Executive Officer Scott Cohen tells us how the combination of intelligence technology, data analysts and reporters leads to stories other organizations might not discover.
    Reporting by Allison Prang, Rachel Wise and Reuben Stern.
    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]


    For more information:

    According to this in-depth report from Fast Company, “odds are that Vocativ’s data-mining approach will be increasingly monitored and emulated by larger news organizations.”

    PART 2: Banjo

    In addition to a consumer-facing mobile app, Banjo offers an enterprise tool that helps newsrooms identify breaking news by monitoring social media content as it emerges from specific locations. We find out how it works and how it might contribute to live news coverage.
    Reporting by Katy Mersmann.
    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]


    Similar tool:

    PART 3: Zapaday

    Zapaday aims to help newsrooms plan for future coverage by combing a range of digital sources to compile directories of upcoming events. We learn how the information is gathered and delivered from founder and Chief Executive Officer Stefan Hoevenaar.
    Reporting by Katy Mersmann.
    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

    FuturesLabWebBanner-mediashiftThe Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode. 

    Tagged: apps banjo dark web data data driven journalism deep web geo-location online schedules search surveillance technology Vocativ Zapaday

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