Journalist's Toolbox Update: Sept. 2, 2014
Excellence in Journalism Conference: We'll post updates of tools and other resources we learn about at the SPJ/RTDNA EIJ 14 conference in Nashville this week. Check back for updates.
Covering Ferguson, Missouri: Harvard's Journalist's Resource has posted a collection of research and resources on police brutality and reasonable force. For more on Ferguson and the assault on press freedoms, go to the First Amendment page.
Teaching How to Cover Trauma: San Diego State journalism professor Amy Schmitz Weiss worked with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma to produce a series of tip sheets for journalism educators to teach students how to cover sensitive topics such as suicide, homicides, sexual assaults, etc.
Data Visualization: The Data Viz Catalogue is a massive collection of sortable tools and resources for building data visualizations. It's a must-bookmark. Looking for ideas and examples, check out the NY Times data viz blog, The Upshot and The Guardian Data Blog.
Business: Covering the start-up industry? CrunchBase is a comprehensive dataset of startup activity and that's accessible to everyone. It has more than 500,000 profiles of people and companies that are maintained by thousands of contributors.
Gas Prices: Mapquest has a page to track gas prices in your area. Use resources in the Toolbox's Business Resources section to track the housing market , gas prices, food costs and other economic issues.
Social Media Tools: Seen.co is a great tool for tracking hashtags and building out pages. Zeef lets you search and filter content from those you trust. You can curate links in a way similar to Delicious. Another fun tool is Twurly, which compiles a daily email of links from your Twitter timeline.
School Violence: Harvard's Journalist's Resource site has an in-depth collection on school violence that includes research findings on underlying dynamics, response and prevention. It features links, stories, analysis and a lot of data.
Weather: If you are covering outbreaks of severe weather, you'll find some great resources on our Weather page.
Data Visualization: We just found some great new data visualization tools and where to find datasets. SmartChart lets you build basic data visualizations in your browser. Quora has a list of places to find open datasets. And the Pew Center posts raw datasets on a variety of topics. It promises more election data as midterm elections start in the fall. Find more resources on the Toolbox Data Visualization and Infographics page.
Data Portal Search: Open Prism lets you search data portals from all over the world by typing in one keyword.
Privacy and Protecting Sources: Here are some resources from a Reporters Without Borders privacy and encryption session on April 11. WeFightCenstorship.org's Online Survival Kit gives you tools and shows you how to protect yourself from leaving a digital trail. HideMyAss.com is a free proxy that lets you surf anonymously online, hide your IP address, secure your internet connection, hide your internet history, and protect your online identity. VirusTotal lets you run any suspicious files through a free, encrypted tool to detect any viruses. TrueCrypt is a free, on-the-fly, open-source encryption tool.
Digital Verification: Two great site that help journalists figure out how to verify information online: The Verification Handbook, from Poynter's Craig Silverman, gives you tools to verify digital content for emergency coverage. Verification Junkie from Josh Stearns centralizes several social media verification tools in one place. Great for reporting and fact-checking on deadline.
Public Records: CensusReporter.org allows you to filter and sort census information. The new iFOIA.org, from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is a one-stop management tool for public-records projects and filing FOIA requests.
Public Records: Five Great Tools for Mining Public Records is a must-bookmark for quick reference to some key sites, including Recovery.org and FOIAonline. Also, FOIA Shaming is a fantastic Tumblr blog that shines a spotlight on universities that stonewall FOIA requests. Share it on social media. and here area a couple of tools that can help with requesting public records and managing those requests: The FOIA Machine allows you to automate your FOIA requests. MuckRock is an open government tool powered by state and federal Freedom of Information laws and a Sunlight Foundation grant.
Medical/Health: HospitalInspections.org is a database of federal inspections of hospitals in the U.S. See how the ones in your area stack up.
Teaching Journalism: From ethics to apps, the Newseum's Digital Classroom Videos cover the basics of journalism. They're great for supplementing lectures and giving students extra depth or help with a specific area of interest. SPJ's eCampus training videos also can be helpful in the classroom. You need to be a member and use your online password to access them. Topics include smartphones, FOIAs, video and social media techniques. More: 22 Apps and Tools Every College Journalism Student Should Know About and the 40 Best Blogs for College Journalists.
Census Resources: The U.S. Census Quick Facts page helps you find current census information at the state or county level by using a pulldown menu or image map. The what's new tab at the top of the page shows all of the new data entered at the local levels.
College Media: The J-School Legal blog offers resources for journalism schools that are news providers. A must-bookmark for college editors and advisers.
Journalism Jobs: JournaJobs provides listings from all over Europe and a few in the U.S. Use News Nerd Jobs to sort through a great list of news developer jobs. MediaJobPod.org is tailored to college students looking for multimedia jobs and internships. Find more resources on the Journalism Jobs page.
Federal Government: Here's a helpful site: Directory of All Congressional Twitter Handles. USA.gov: Mobile Apps is a handy list of which government agencies have mobile apps and mobile Web sites. Great quick-reference.
Broadcasting: Find the correct pronunciations of newsmaker names at The Name Engine. Another great resource is the EarIt Demo, which allows you to roll over a name or word and get the correct pronunciation.
Politics: The National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization revealing the influence of campaign money on state-level elections and public policy in all 50 states, has a comprehensive and verifiable campaign-finance database available for free on its site. Poligraft is a Sunlight Foundation site that adds political context to news stories by scanning news articles you enter for the names of donors, corporations, lobbyists and politicians and shows how they are connected by contributions.
Writing With Numbers: Weird Converter is great for analyzing numbers and coming up with odd facts and figures for stories. It's great for comparing sizes, weights and gives the reader some perspective. Find more resources in the Toolbox's Writing With Numbers section.
Covering People With Disabilities: You'll find hundreds of resources on the Disabilities page.
Teaching Tools: Many of you who use this site train your newsrooms and classrooms how to do online research: College Media, High School Journalism, Design, Broadcast Journalism, Ethics, Writing, Reporting Tools, Writing with Numbers, Photojournalism and Copy Editing.
Reporting Tools: Reporting Tools, Phone/E-Mail/Maps Directories, Search Engines, Expert Sources, Investigative, Form 990s, Public Records, Ethics, Check Domain Names, General Research and Writing With Numbers.
Editing and Fact-Checking Resources: The Toolbox's Copy Editing page has several new resources. The American Copy Editors Society has assembled a collection of 49 online quizzes about everything from AP Style and usage to Iraq and the Middle East. Related Resources: Copy Editing, General Research, History.
Student Resources: College and high school students will find many helpful Toolbox resources for researching papers, reporting and more: Reporting Tools, Public Records, History, Ethics and Copy Editing.
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