An EPFL laboratory has developed DataShare Network, a decentralized search engine paired with a secure messaging system that allows investigative journalists to exchange information securely and anonymously. An scientific article on this subject will be presented during the Usenix Security Symposium which will be held online from August 12 to 14.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has over 200 members in 70 countries, has broken a number of important stories, particularly ones that expose medical fraud and tax evasion. One of its most famous investigations was the Panama Papers, a trove of millions of documents that revealed the existence of several hundred thousand shell companies whose owners included cultural figures, politicians, businesspeople and sports personalities. To complete an investigation of this size is only possible through international cooperation between journalists. When sharing such sensitive files, however, a leak can jeopardize not only the story’s publication, but also the safety of the journalists and sources involved. At the ICIJ’s behest, EPFL’s Security and Privacy Engineering (SPRING) Lab recently developed DataShare Network, a fully anonymous, decentralized system for searching and exchanging information. A paper about it will be presented during the Usenix Security Symposium, a worldwide reference for specialists, which will be held online from 12 to 14 August.


Anonymity at every stage

Anonymity is the backbone of the system. Users can search and exchange information without revealing their identity, or the content of their queries, either to colleagues or to the ICIJ. The Consortium ensures that the system is running properly but remains unaware of any information exchange. It issues virtual secure tokens that journalists can attach to their messages and documents to prove to others that they are Consortium members. A centralized file management system would be too conspicuous a target for hackers; since the ICIJ does not have servers in various jurisdictions, documents are typically stored on its members’ servers or computers. Users provide only the elements that enable others to link to their investigation.

[Source: This article was published in miragenews.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published icfj.org By Temi Adeoye - Contributed by Member: Wushe Zhiyang

In the age of digital journalism, advanced online search techniques are becoming requisite skills for successful careers in journalism. With hundreds of millions of sites indexed, Google is undoubtedly the most powerful search engine, but it’s easy to miss out on a lot of that power if we don't know the best techniques for asking questions. Although Google will almost always have answers, the goal is to find the relevant ones.

Fortunately, there are a number of search techniques that journalists (and researchers in general) can use to dramatically improve search results. Like everything in life, it requires a bit of tenacity, but it's not hard to learn. This guide is intended to help professional and citizen journalists better understand how Google works. It explains how to use a variety of search operators and techniques to narrow down search results. Let’s get started.

1. Consider Exact Phrases

Looking for a needle in a haystack? One of the most basic techniques in searching Google is to explicitly declare what you’re looking for by entering phrases in quotation marks. This is especially relevant when the phrases have three or more words in them. If you just enter a bunch of words, Google will assume those words could be in any order. But if you put quotation marks around them, then Google knows you're looking for that phrase in the exact word order, and returns results that potentially bring you closer to the right answer.

So, for example, if we are interested in searching for "lagos farmers market," and we're looking for results that exactly match our query, putting the search words in quotes gives us fewer, and invariably more targeted results. In the screenshots below, searching without quotation marks returned 254,000 results, whereas the use of quotation marks reduced the results to 323, eliminating a whopping 253,677 irrelevant results.

2. Do Word Exclusion

Now, 323 results is a lot of improvement from 254,000 results. However, if we examine the results page, the first result – which is in most cases the most relevant – seems to be referring to a Lagos in Portugal. Assuming we are interested in Lagos, Nigeria, we need to find a way of excluding Portugal from our results list. To do this, we simply "minus" Portugal from the returned results by adding "-Portugal" to our search query. From the screenshot below, you can see we are able to get the returned results down by 182, to 141 results. The first result is also now a Yellow Pages link, which is most likely what we’re looking for.

3. Use Site Operators (site:)

Assuming we know for sure that the information we need is on Yellow Pages, we can further narrow our search to the specific site by using a unique operator called site. The site operator allows us to restrict search results to specified sites. In the logos farmers market example, we can reduce the results to two by specifying that Google restricts its search to yellowpages.net.ng.

4. Use Filetype Operators (filetype:)

Sometimes we are more interested in specific file types such as PDF, Word Document, Excel Spreadsheet, etc. Google gives us the power to filter search results to file types by using the filetype keyword. Using the logos farmers market example, we can narrow down to results in PDF as shown below.

Replacing filetype:pdf with filetype:xls returns results in Microsoft Excel formats, and filetype:doc returns results in Microsoft Word.

5. Choose your words, carefully

This is non-technical but very crucial. Understanding the jargon used in the targeted field will lead to better results. For example, search queries like "mortality rate" will likely return more relevant results than "death rate."

This list contains some of the most frequently used advanced search techniques. It was designed to whet your appetite and get you to rethink how you approach searching on Google. It is therefore far from exhaustive. Have a look at Google's own advanced search page and additional resources at googleguide.com by Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek, two experts who are not affiliated with Google. Once you get your head around these techniques, try a combination of any or all to take the best advantage of this powerful search engine.

Categorized in Search Techniques

Search multiple social networks at the same time on this free website

What is it? A free search engine to help journalists find posts about certain topics on social networks.

How is it of use to journalists? Social media is becoming an increasingly powerful channel for sourcing stories, but with the number of platforms now around it's becoming more difficult to stay on top of the chatter.

It may be that you're looking for reactions on social about certain news events, or you might be trying to find eyewitnesses, photos or videos from the scene of a story.

With Social Searcher, you can search for keywords on multiple platforms at the same time.

The social networking search engine supports a wide variety of platforms, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, and YouTube.

You can save individual searches you may need to perform more often, and use advanced filters to help you find what you're looking for quicker.

search results social searcher
Screenshot of search results.

Social Searcher enables you to search based on 'post types', for example, and find results that include links, photos, videos or any combination of media.

Each search also comes with its own analytics dashboard, where you can see the most popular related hashtags, the overall sentiment of the posts (i.e. if the language denotes a positive view of the topic), or other keywords that are often featured alongside the terms used in your search.

Social Searcher is free to use for up to 100 searches a day, after which you can choose from a number of pricing options available.

These include additional features such as the ability to save individual posts, access web mentions of keywords, and use the 'monitoring' service.

'Monitoring' enables you to save the mentions history, access advanced analytics and export data as a CSV file.

Social Searcher started out in 2012 as an Android app allowing users to search through Facebook without logging in and has since expanded to become a comprehensive tool for finding posts on social media.

 Source: This article was published journalism.co.uk By Catalina Albeanu

Categorized in Search Engine

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a non-profit network of investigative journalism centers in Europe and Eurasia, has launched a new data platform to enable journalists and researchers to sift more than 2 million documents and use the findings in their investigations.

People using the new data platform, called ID Search, will be able to set up email alerts notifying them when new results appear for their searches or for persons tracked on official watchlists. They can also create their own private watchlists.




Using the new tool, journalists and researchers will be able to access data including gazettes of commerce, company records, leaks, court cases and more. One of the most comprehensive open source lists of Politically Exposed Persons is also at users’ disposal. Starting today, most sources on ID Search will be updated every 24 hours.

Documents and databases are also cross-referenced with watchlists and international sanctions lists so that persons of interest involved in organized crime or corruption can be identified.

In the past few weeks, OCCRP has added documents from five additional offshore jurisdictions, reflecting growing public awareness of the shadowy structures that drive the criminal economy in the wake of the Panama Papers investigation.

The new tool is part of OCCRP's Investigative Dashboard (ID), a ground-breaking platform bringing together data search, visualizations and researcher expertise. It is currently used by more than 4,400 journalists including those from OCCRP's 24 partner centers.

Users can access the search engine at https://data.occrp.org.

Author:  TOM KING

Source:  https://www.occrp.org

Categorized in Investigative Research

How do you research thoroughly, save time, and get directly to the source you wish to find? GIJN’s Research Director Gary Price, who is also editor of InfoDOCKET, and Margot Williams, research editor for investigations at The Intercept, shared their Top 100 Research Tools. Overwhelmed with information; we asked Williams and Price to refine their tools and research strategies down to a Top 10.

What are the bare-essentials for an investigative journalist?

1. Security and Privacy  Security tools have never been more important. There is so much information that you give out without even knowing it. Arm yourself with knowledge. Be aware of privacy issues and learn how to modify your own traceability. This is paramount for your own security and privacy. Price and Williams recommend using Tor and Disconnect.me for sites that will block others from tracing your browsing history.



2. Find Specialized Sites and Databases  Do not run a generalized blind search. Think about who will have the information that you want to find. Get precise about your keywords. Does the file you are looking for even exist online? Or do you have to get it yourself in some way? Will you have to find an archive? Or get a first person interview? Fine tuning your research process will save you a lot of time.

3. Stay Current Price highly recommends Website Watcher. This tool automates the entire search process by monitoring your chosen web pages, and sends you instant updates when there are changes in the site. This tool allows you to stay current, with little effort. No more refreshing a webpage over and over again.

4. Read from Back to Front Where do you start looking for information? Do you start reading the headline or the footnotes? Most people start with the headline, however Williams gives an inside tip; she always start at the footnotes. The footnotes inform the articles body, and you can get straight to your information, without obtaining any bias from the author.

5. Create Your Own Archive Wayback Machine is a digital archive of the web. This site makes you see archived versions of web pages across time. Most importantly, Price recommended that you use this site to develop your own personal archive. A feature of the Wayback Machine now allows you to archive most webpages and pdf files. Do not keep all your sources on a site you might not always be able to access.

You can now keep the files not only in your own hard drive, but you share them online. Another useful resource for archiving is Zotero, a personal information management tool. Watch here for Price teaching how to use this incredible archive and information management tool. You can also form your own data with IFTTT. Gary Price teaches us how to do this here:

6.Pop up Archive Sick of scanning through podcasts and videos in order to get the information you need? Audio and Video searches are becoming increasingly popular, and can save you an incredible amount of time. This can be done with search engines like Popup Archive and C-SPAN.

7.Ignore Mainstream Media Reports Williams ignores sites like Reddit at all costs. These sites can lead your research astray, and you can become wrapped in knowledge that might later be deemed as false. Price is also wary of Wikipedia, for obvious reasons; any person, anywhere at anytime can change a story as they see fit. Stay curious, and keep digging.


8.Marine Traffic Marinetraffic.com makes it possible to track any kind of boat and real-time ship locations, port arrivals and departures. You can also see the track of the boats and follow the path to any vessel movement. Check out Price’s tutorial video of FlightAware, a data search that traces real time and historical flight movements.

9.Foreign Influence Explorer Needing to find sources on governments and money tracking? Foreign Influence Explorer will make your searches incredibly easy. This search engine makes it possible to track disclosures as they become available, and allows you to find out what people or countries have given money to, with the exact time and dates.

10.If you are going to use Google… Use it well. Google’s potential is rarely reached. For a common search engine, you can get extremely specific results if you know how. Williams explains that the Congress has a terrible search engine on their site, but if you use google you can better refine your search by typing your keywords next to “site:(URL)”. You can even get the time and date it was published by further specialising. Watch a video demonstration of a Google advance search feature here.

Source : gijc2015.org

Categorized in Investigative Research

As newsroom jobs decline, we analyze the main problems facing modern journalists, and how new technology is lightening the load.

The news industry has changed dramatically since it was hit by a ‘media downturn’ at the end of the 2000s. Leading publications were forced to cut newsroom jobs and pursue more hi-tech methods of gaining income such as digital subscriptions, paid advertising, and sponsored video content.

Between March 2006 and September 2014, “the number of newsroom jobs fell by 33 percent,” according to the Pew Research Center and “daily and weekly newspapers shuttered their doors with increasing frequency”.


The trouble goes right to the top, with even the most well-known, well-funded publications slicing staff. In early 2016, the New York Times announced it would be laying off hundreds of journalists by the end of the year.

Catastrophic newsroom cuts across the globe have pushed many journalists to follow careers in more stable industries like PR, or to try and support themselves by ‘freelancing’ for multiple publications as a means of making ends meet. But for those who are still in the industry, there are some new tools which are softening the blow, and making aspects of the day-to-day lives of modern journalists and editors easier.

So what are the main problems facing modern journalists, and how is new technology lightening the load?

Getting scoops

One of the main problems facing journalists now, is surviving in the face of competition from millions of ‘citizen journalists’ around the world. Advances in smartphone technology, and the ever growing popularity of social network giants like Instagram and Facebook means that people can ‘break’ news at a seconds notice. As a result, smartphones have become journalist’s most important tool, and greatest enemy.

Oliver Griffin, British freelance journalist and contributor for The I and The Raconteur states: “Technology has facilitated the rise of citizen reporting and made life more difficult for foreign correspondents. Papers can now source stories from local reporters, who know more, but on the flipside face greater danger in their home countries and have less protection from the paper.”

Due to the added competition, keeping up with trends and writing stories which will engage readers is extremely important. Tools like BuzzsumoFeedly and Newswhip Spike allow busy journalists to check which topics are trending where and what time, and use analytics to assess the strength of a potential story in real time.  

Vikas Shukla, former journalist and co-founder of Education publication Quantov writes: “As a busy journalist you need to stay one step ahead of trends. There is no point spending hours each day reading the leading papers to see what the top stories are. You need to use technology to push you in the right direction, so it’s your story on the front page. I use Buzzsumo to find the trending topics, analyse content, and find influencers in my niche.”

Working in difficult environments

An age old problem for journalists has been taking notes, and ‘first hand’ documentation of what is going on, while in stressful or life threatening situations. In the aftermath of a disaster, or when in a dangerous environment, it is not always feasible –or safe– to start jotting down notes or do interviews.

Oliver Griffin continues: “Smartphones have killed shorthand as instead of frantically scribbling notes journalists can now just record voice messages. They can also shoot films and take photos from the scene, and then post them ‘live’ on leading social media sites.”

New technology is also offering journalists a means of using real people on the ground to shoot videos and photos and offer comments which can be used in the media. Apps such as Periscope and WhatUSee allow journalists who cannot make it in person, to search for users in a particular geographical zone, and request that they send photos and videos live from the scene.


With ever diminishing static newsrooms, editors are forced to work with a number of freelance or remote writers at any one time, which poses an organizational challenge. Writers and editors are often spread amongst different time zones and geographical regions which further complicates matters.

It is important for writers to be able to communicate with each other for tips and suggestions, and also with editors about trends, deadlines and edits. As a result, many remote teams are turning to tools such as Slack and Google chat to take up the strain.

Elizabeth Tenety, a former Washington Post editor and co-founder of Motherly writes: “We have a story ideas channel on Slack where editors and writers are encouraged to write down random ideas as they come to them, and help one another to brainstorm. We also have a “Flare” box—a channel for any crazy ideas that come to our writers about how we can best grow and engage our users. We encourage our team to use technology not just to stay organized, but to get inspired and feel free to bring really out-of-the-box ideas to the table.”


When running an efficient publication, organization and meeting deadlines is extremely important. Timing is everything in the news, and missing a deadline by even one day could make your story redundant. As a result, editors and journalists use a range of new tools to organize their workflow, assign tasks and manage deadlines.

Sergio Ramos, editor of Social Geek, writes: “I have writers working all over Latin America and the States in a range of different time zones. Trying to tie them down via phone or email is a nightmare, so I use tools like Trello to assign tasks and manage workflow.”

CRM tools like Trello, Kanban Flow, Contently and Basecamp add a visual element which allows editors and writers to keep up to date with the progress of different tasks, monitor deadlines, and save notes and drafts on a central database, so that other colleagues can access them if need be.

Elizabeth Tenety writes: “We are currently leveraging Slack, Trello, Google calendar and our CMS scheduling tool, but we’re always open to new options that more seamlessly integrate our team into planning processes. These tools are lifesavers for the modern editorial team.”

Saving time  

Just because there are fewer journalists employed in newsrooms does not mean that there are fewer stories to be covered. Journalist’s often find themselves up against a wall with deadlines, and need to turn to technology to help them cut corners and meet their editor’s demands.

Oliver Griffin said that he turned to popular messaging app Whatsapp to submit a story from central America when under tight time restrictions. Instead of spending time listening to long video or audio excerpts to gather quotes, journalists and editors can turn to tools such as Cogi to cut the exact information they need from large files. Others turn to online transcription services to get the information they need on paper when in a bind.

Elizabeth Tenety writes: “I’ve had a lot of success using Rev.com—it’s not an inexpensive solution for transcriptions, but in a time crunch they do a great job at turning around copy quickly.”

Advances in technology and changes in the way that the public consumes the media have totally changed the media landscape, but with every cloud comes a silver lining. As a perfect example, smartphones have brought extra competition from ‘citizen journalists’ but they have also become an all-in-one swiss army knife for journalists in the field.


More so than ever, journalists and editors need to keep their ear to the ground for new technology or risk becoming redundant.

Source : This article was published sociable.co by Amit Rathore

Categorized in Internet Technology

Dan Russell, über tech lead, Google Search Quality and User Experience Research, shares advanced Google search techniques for research, newsgathering and verification

Digital tools and platforms are now an integral part of the role for most journalists in modern newsrooms.

However, many still do not know how use advanced Google search techniques to make their day-to-day work more efficient, said Dan Russell, über tech lead, Google Search Quality and User Experience Research.

Speaking at an Investigathon organised today in London by Google and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Russell shared tips for advanced search techniques to help journalists in research, newsgathering and verification.


1. Search-by-image

This function can be used to identify unknown objects, or the location where a photograph was taken.

To search by image, go to Google Image Search and add your photo, either by URL, uploading or dragging-and-dropping from your computer.

The search results will then show a list of sites where that image has appeared, which can then be narrowed further using contextual keywords.

This technique can also be used to identify just a smaller part of a wider image, such as a logo, by cropping the photo to its most salient point, said Russell.

Google Image Search is particularly useful, said Russell, because "it allows you to take previously unanswerable questions and answer them in seconds", sometimes quicker than a text-based Google search.

2. Search by colour

This is a useful function if you might not remember the name of, say, a book you want to use in research, but you remember the colour of it.

Go to Google Image Search and input your search query, click the 'search tools' button and then 'colour' and make your selection from the drop-down below 'colour'.

"This relies on something that's subtle about human perception," said Russell. "We've all probably heard that recognition beats recall".

3. Google Alerts

Google Alerts allow users to receive email notifications for certain keywords when they are indexed in Google's search results, and are an efficient way to track news around a certain topic or region.

To create a Google Alert, go to google.co.uk/alerts and input your search query. You can choose to get all results or just content from categories such as news, blogs, video, as well as how often you want to receive notifications – daily, weekly, or as-they-happen.

4. Google Trends

Many journalists already use Googe Trends to discover the most-searched for terms around a particular topic or area, noted Russell, but users can also "incentivise the query trends" by region or by time.

To do this, navigate between the 'location' and 'time range' options in the right column (there is also the option here to compare multiple search terms).

As well as being a useful tool to inform content based on what people are searching for, journalists can also use the service to see the terminology their readership is searching for and therefore understands, said Russell, helping to optimise stories for search.

For example, see the difference below in results for 'flu' and 'influenza' around the time of the H1N1 scare in 2009.

Google Trends
Screengrab from Google Trends showing the difference in results between 'flu' and 'influenza'


5. Google Correlate

Google Correlate allows users to see how a specific search query coordinates with real-time trends, and varies in popularity over a certain time frame.

Sort of like a reverse Google Trends, users can also enter their own data to receive a list of search queries which follow a similar pattern.

This is a useful tool for journalists, said Russell, because correlated search queries will give journalists ideas for topics to investigate that they may not have thought of.

However, users should be aware that the tool currently only uses search data from the US.

6. Google in other countries

News and opinion can differ wildly around the world. So for journalists seeking perspectives on a subject from a country other than their own, Russell recommends doing a search for the Google site for that specific area.

"Google is not this single unitary super planet-sized organism," he said, adding that while many people are familiar with Google UK and Google US, there is "basically a Google per country".

"When you go to a particular country's Google, you're getting content for that country primarily," said Russell, explaining that a search query on Google UK would not necessarily yield the same results as Google US.

Therefore, to find information on, for example, what India thinks of the Eurozone crisis, users should search on google.co.in rather than searching their country's native Google, he said.

7. Custom Search

Although you can do a Google site search to search within just specific cites, if there are a number of sites you do this for on a regular basis you might want to create a a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE).

This allows you to search just one site or individual pages from a site.

To do this, go to google.co.uk/cse and click the blue 'create a custom search engine' button, add the name and URL of the sites (or pages) you want to search and click 'create'.

CSE will then generate a URL for your custom search engine, which you can bookmark. You can also embed custom search within your site.

Below is a site search we created for Journalism.co.uk.

Custom Search Engine


This article was  published in journalism.co.uk by Abigail Edge

Categorized in Search Techniques

Journalists at two recently combined digital news organizations in New York have agreed to unionize.

The Writers Guild of America, East announced Wednesday a majority of the 26 reporters and editors at DNAinfo and Gothamist opted to the join the guild.

The workers released a joint statement saying the union move will "make the newsroom stronger" and "attract and retain quality journalists."

The websites are owned by billionaire Joe Ricketts, who founded the online brokerTD Ameritrade. Ricketts also is an owner of theChicago Cubsand is a prominent Republican donor.

A spokeswoman for Ricketts says DNAinfo was considering its options.


Many of New York's digital media companies have been unionized in recent years, including The Huffington Post, Vice,MTVNews, Gizmodo Media Group and The Intercept.

Source : abcnews.go.com

Categorized in Others

Here at Journalist’s Resource, we love research. Early in our careers, however, we as individual journalists didn’t always appreciate the value of research or interpret it correctly. We did not always use the best study to make a point or fact-check a claim. Learn from our mistakes. Here are some things we wish we knew years ago.

1. Academic research is one of the best reporting tools around.

  • Reading studies early in the reporting process will give you a good general understanding of an issue. It also will help you ask better questions and understand the answers that sources give you.
  • Use it to hold public officials accountable. Oftentimes, policymakers try new things because they assume a certain change will prompt a certain result. (For example, mandating uniforms in public schools to improve student achievement.) A review of the research often will help you gauge whether such a change will or could provide the result a policymaker wants. Research also will tell you what has and has not worked in other locations and under similar circumstances.
  • Individual studies often offer ideas for other angles journalists might want to pursue.

2. General Google searches are not the best way to find good research.

  • A better source is scholar.google.com, which lets you search for research published in peer-reviewed journals. Other good resources are PubMedMicrosoft AcademicPLOS and the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Search academic journals for studies. But don’t limit yourself to journals that focus on your specific topic area. For example, if you are writing about criminal justice, you can find quality research in Criminologyas well as in Social ProblemsPNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and The Quarterly Journal of Economics.
  • At the end of each academic study, authors list the research that is cited within the study. These lists are great resources for additional research on a particular topic.

3. Researchers generally are accessible and like to talk about their work.

  • We have found that researchers respond more quickly to email than phone calls. They also may share free copies of their work or tell you how to access them for free.
  • If you are confused by a data analysis and don’t have a strong background in statistics or research methods, reach out to someone who does. Many scholars are eager to help journalists describe their research findings correctly.

4. When something is described as “significant,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it is important or noteworthy.

  • Scholars often refer to their findings as being “significant” or “statistically significant” to indicate that a relationship they have discovered or a difference they have observed is not likely to be the result of chance or a sampling error. Determining whether something is “significant” or “statistically significant” is based on a mathematical analysis, not an opinion.

5. Correlation does not imply causation.

  • Often, studies determine there is a relationship between two or more variables. Just because one variable changes in the presence of a second variable does not mean the second variable caused the change. Never make assumptions about what a study says or does not say. If in doubt, contact the author.

6. Don’t spend much time on the abstract.


  • Many people think of the abstract as a summary of the most compelling findings. Oftentimes, this is not the case. The two best places to find information about key findings are 1) the “results” section, which typically is located in the middle of a research article and is where authors explain what they have learned and provide their statistical analyses and 2) the “discussion” or “conclusions” section, which is usually located at the end of the paper and offers a summary of findings as well as a discussion of the real-world implications of the author’s work.

7. Use caution when relying on research from think tanks, private consulting firms and special interest groups.

  • The results of research from these organizations are not always independently reviewed prior to publication or distribution, whereas studies published in academic journals generally are.
  • As a rule of thumb, journalists should avoid research funded or distributed by organizations with clear biases, including political affiliations.
  • Sometimes, academic research does not exist on a certain topic, or there is little of it. Private consulting firms and other organizations often will try to fill that knowledge gap by doing their own research. While some of these organizations provide quality research, it’s important to give the information additional scrutiny.

8. The best research doesn’t always come from Harvard and Stanford.

  • Scholars from prestigious universities such as Harvard and Stanford are considered among the best in their fields. But that doesn’t mean every research article and report they write is the best on a given topic. High-quality research comes from scholars in a variety of settings, including public universities and non-profit institutes.

9. The peer-review process does not guarantee quality research.

  • Keep in mind that some peer-review processes are more rigorous than others and some academic journals are more selective than others. Publication in a top-tier journal is no guarantee that a piece of research is high quality. But it’s safe to assume research articles that are published in top-tier journals have been reviewed and given a stamp of approval by multiple top scholars.

10. Knowing statistics and research methods helps a lot.


  • Many journalists shy away from math and science. But even a basic knowledge of statistics and research methods will help you understand the studies you’re reading and distinguish a good research study from a questionable one.

Source : journalistsresource.org

Categorized in Online Research

Social media has revolutionised how we communicate. In this series, we look at how it has changed the media, politics, health, education and the law.

Borrowing Malcolm Turnbull’s election slogan, optimists would say there has never been a more exciting time to be a journalist. Why? Part of the answer lies with social media and the digital age.

A recent trip to Nepal for the second Asian investigative journalism conference revealed something exciting is changing journalism. In a digital era that promotes sharing through tweets, likes and follows, reporters are sharing too – not just their own stories, but also their skills.

They no longer view each other as simply rivals competing for a scoop, but collaborators who can share knowledge to expose wrongdoing for the public good.


Take, for example, the Panama Papers that broke in April this year. It involved almost 400 journalists together trawling through 11.5 million leaked documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca to expose the shady global industry of secret tax havens.

Wealthy individuals were exposed of corruption and wrongdoing. FlickrCC BY-NC-ND




Another version of this type of collaboration occurred in Kathmandu last month. Eighty of the world’s best investigative journalists from The New York Times, The Guardian and other quality outlets met to train hundreds of reporters from across the globe in digital journalism. Classes included data reporting, mapping and visualisations, online searching, tracking dirty money, co-ordinating cross-border reporting teams and effective use of social media.

The Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) chose Nepal as the host country so that journalists from less-developed economies – many with limited political and civil freedoms – could attend to learn how to strengthen watchdog reporting in their home countries.

Reporting in these nations can be difficult, and some stories told were horrific. Umar Cheema, a Panama Papers reporter and investigative journalist for Pakistan’s The News International, described how he was abducted by unknown assailants in 2010, stripped, shaved and beaten. His “crime” was to report critically on the Pakistani government, intelligence services and military.

His captors have not been caught. But rather than remain silent, he shared his story with the world and was awarded the Daniel Pearl Fellowship to work at The New York Times in 2008.

Umar Cheema established the Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan. East-West Center/FlickrCC BY-NC-ND

Despite diverse backgrounds with varying levels of press freedom, journalists came to Kathmandu with the same motive: to give voice to the powerless against those who abuse power; whether it be corrupt governments, corporations or individuals.

Unique to the digital age, this can be achieved with tools as simple as a mobile phone and internet connection. Social media platforms are useful too, to distribute stories beyond the territories that oppress them.


Among the watchdog journalism educators were Pulitzer Prize winners, including Walter “Robbie” Robinson. Now editor-at-large at the Boston Globe, Robinson is the reporter played by Michael Keaton in this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Spotlight.

The film tells how Robinson in 2001 led the Spotlight team’s investigation that uncovered widespread sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. That investigation inspired other journalists around the world to probe and eventually expose the church’s widespread abuses of power. Robinson’s message was simple:

To me you are all Spotlight reporters. For the great journalism you have done and will do. For your energy, for your passion, for your courage, for your tenacity, for your commitment to righting wrong and for knowing with a certainty, that there is no injustice however grave that cannot be eradicated by those who unearth the truth.

To unearth truths, trainers profiled free digital search tools like Picodash for trawling Instagram, and Amnesty International’s YouTube DataViewer, as well as reverse image searching programs like TinEye.

Thomson Reuters’ Data editor Irene Liu showed reporters how to search for people using Pipl, ways to navigate blog content using Kinja, and creative techniques to search social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be trawled using Rapportive and Chrome extension Storyful Multisearch to find public interest information quickly and cheaply.

Here are five ways that social media is changing journalism in the digital age:

  1. Reach: social media offers journalism a potential global playing field. It is used for sharing stories but also crowdsourcing information and enabling local stories of significance to spread beyond geographical boundaries. Whether it is the Arab Spring uprising or the recent hurricane in Haiti, journalists can source contacts and share stories with the rest of the world.

  2. Participation: social media provides a many-to-many network that allows for audience participation and interaction. It provides for audience comment, and these interactions can take the story forward.

  3. Hyperlocal reporting: social media is filling a gap in hyperlocal reporting. In a recent study we found community groups, including the local police at Broadmeadows, used social media to provide local news. This helped fill a reporting hole left by the shrinking newsrooms of local newspapers.

  4. Low cost: social media is a fast and cheap way to find, produce and share news. It lowers the barriers to entry for start-up news outlets and freelance journalists.

  5. Independence: journalists can bypass state-controlled media and other limits on publishing their stories. They can report independently without editorial interference, and broadcast their own movements, using publicity for self-protection.

The benefits social media can offer journalism, particularly in developing economies, is not to deny the challenges established media outlets face in developed countries in the digital age.

Certainly, the rise of digital media technologies has fractured the business model of traditional media as advertising has migrated online, causing revenue losses. In turn, these have sparked masses of newsroom job losses cutbacks, and masthead closures.

But for all the pervasive pessimism about the future of established news outlets, and the negative aspects of social media such as trolling, the Nepal conference demonstrated the positives as well.

Digital tools are changing the ways in which journalists find, tell and share their stories with audiences beyond the control of state borders. Yet, at the same time, new technologies enable journalists to do what they have always done: to uncover stories in the public interest.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote in The Leopard:

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

So it is with journalism in the digital age.

Source  : http://theconversation.com/how-investigative-journalists-are-using-social-media-to-uncover-the-truth-66393

Categorized in Social
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