Investigative journalism has long been the marker by which news organisations – and journalists – measure their worth.
“As a journalist your main tool is talking to people and asking the right questions of the right people,” said civic technologist and self-described “OpenGov and data journalism geek” Friedrich Lindenberg in a webinar on investigative journalism tools for the International Centre for Journalists last week.
“This is still true, but also you can ask the right questions with the right databases. You can ask the right questions with the right tools.”
Lindenberg listed an arsenal of tools the investigative journalist can equip themselves with. Here are some of the highlights.
Lindenberg described DocumentCloud as a “shared folder of documents”, offering different folders that can be used for various investigations, control over who can access which documents, the ability to annotate different parts of documents, search throughout and embed segments or entire documents.
Even better, DocumentCloud looks for “entities” – such as people, companies, countries, institutions – identifies them and makes them searchable, which is especially useful for legal documents that may stretch into hundreds of pages when you are only interested in a few key points.
DocumentCloud is run by IRE but Lindenberg encouraged journalists to contact him at SourceAfrica.net, where an open source version of the software is available.