20 tools and resources every journalist should experiment with

20 tools and resources every journalist should experiment with by Alastair Reid.

From the post:

Tools have always come from the need to carry out a specific task more effectively. It’s one of the main differences between human beings and the rest of the animal kingdom. We may still be slaves to the same old evolutionary urges but we sure know how to eat noodles in style.

In journalism, an abstract tool for uncovering the most interesting and insightful information about society, we can generally boil the workflow down to four stages: finding, reporting, producing and distributing stories.

So with that in mind, here are a range of tools which will – hopefully – help you carry out your journalism tasks more effectively.

The resources range from advanced Google and Twitter searching to odder items and even practical advice:


Funny story: Glenn Greenwald received an anonymous email in early 2013 from a source wishing to discuss a potential tip, but only if communications were encrypted. Greenwald didn’t have encryption. The source emailed a step-by-step video with instructions to install encryption software. Greenwald ignored it.

The same source, a now slightly frustrated Edward Snowden, contacted film-maker Laura Poitras about the stack of NSA files burning a hole in his hard drive. Poitras persuaded Greenwald that he might want to listen, and the resulting revelations of government surveillance is arguably the story of the decade so far.

The lesson? Learn how to encrypt your email. Mailvelope is a good option with a worthwhile tutorial for PGP encryption, the same as the NSA use, and Knight Fellow Christopher Guess has a great step-by-step guide for setting it up.

In addition to the supporting encryption advice, the other lesson is that major stories can break from new sources.

Oh, the post also mentions:

Unfortunately for reporters, one of the internet’s favourite pastimes is making up rumours and faking photos.

Sounds like a normal function of government to me.

Many journalists have reported something along the lines of:

Iraq’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition killed a senior Islamic State commander and others near the extremist-held city of Mosul, though the country’s Interior Ministry later said it wasn’t clear if he even was wounded.

The Defense Ministry said the strike killed Abu Alaa al-Afari and others who were in a meeting inside a mosque in the northern city of Tal Afar, 72 kilometers (45 miles) west of Mosul. Senior ISIS Commander Alaa Al-Afari Killed In U.S. Airstrike: Iraqi Officials

rather than:

A communique from the Iraq Defense Ministry claimed credit for killing a senior Islamic State commander and others near the city of Mosul last Wednesday.

The attack focused on a mosque inside the northern city of Tal Afar, 72 kilometers (45 miles) west of Mosul. How many people were inside the mosque at the time of this cowardly attack, along with Abu Alaa al-Afari, is unknown.

Same “facts,” but a very different view of them. I mention this because an independent press or even one that wants to pretend at independence, should not be cheerfully reporting government propaganda.

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