For more information on the tech tools below, sign up for Evan Wyloge’s upcoming DigitalEd training: 5 Tech Tools to Improve Your Reporting.
Whether the beat is public safety, politics or business, reporters frequently run into the same challenges when trying to find relevant data, create clear analyses or find needles in the proverbial social media haystack. Solving those problems can be time-consuming and even inefficient – but it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s a look at some tools to help solve these problems that you can put to use in your newsroom right away, no matter what your beat. We’ll look at real-world reporting situations, with hands-on instruction in platforms that can accelerate your reporting.
Censusreporter.org is a tool developed especially for reporters who need the easiest and fastest way to find and acquire census data tailored for their project. Censusreporter makes it easy to look at a variety of census topics like ethnicity, income, education, veteran status, home-ownership, commuting patterns, health care coverage and more – using just about any geography you can think of.
This newly revamped online mapping platform has created the easiest way to display, layer and even perform analyses formerly reserved for expensive and complex GIS software in an online format. You can use data downloaded from censusreporter.com to create insightful maps that can be used for internal newsroom research or published multimedia elements.
3. Facebook Search
Then there’s Facebook Search. You can hack the search function to more deftly search through Facebook and find more than what’s available in Facebook’s public-facing search page. Using a tool developed by a Dutch data journalist and social media researcher, along with some additional hacks developed by reporters in Oregon, my upcoming training will show how to quickly and easily search outside the constraints of Facebook’s built-in search functions.
4. Tools to Track Corporations and Nonprofit Groups
Whether you want to track the latest filings from the your local utilities or publicly-traded companies in your area, tools like Seeking Alpha and OpenCorporates can provide deep insights quick. And for nonprofits, like university foundations or political “dark money” groups, online tools like The Foundation Center and ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer will put nonprofit IRS filings at your fingertips.
5. Browser Add-Ons and Extensions
There’s a grab-bag of browser add-ons and extensions that will turbocharge your everyday reporting, no matter what the use. There are tools for storing and sharing multi-tab browser sessions, capturing data from websites that don’t offer downloads, provide social media network insights and help transcribe interviews in a breeze.
With this new arsenal of reporting tech tools, you’ll be more efficient and more effective when it comes to gathering, making sense of and presenting information relevant to your coverage.
For more information and hands-on instruction about how to use these tools, sign up for my upcoming webinar: 5 Tech Tools to Improve Your Reporting.
Evan Wyloge is a senior reporter at the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, an independent, nonprofit media organization dedicated to statewide accountability journalism in Arizona. Wyloge, most recently a new media specialist at Arizona Capitol Times, has worked as a journalist for more than a decade, focusing on accountability and watchdog reporting with an emphasis on data analysis. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science Northern Arizona University.