Tips & Tools

TIPSHEETS

Art of the Investigative Interview – Deb Nelson

Art of the Sensitive Interview – Deb Nelson

Picking & Pursuing Investigative Projects – Deb Nelson

FOI: A Reporter’s Guide to Freeing Data & Documents – Deb Nelson

FOI Tip and Links – IRE

Find People

InvestigateLocal DMV

Digital Verification: If Your Mother Tweets She Loves You Check It Out

Rising sea levels – Deb Nelson, Ryan McNeill, Duff Wilson

Safety tips – Deb Nelson

How to Write Complex Narratives – Jacqui Banaszynski

TOOLKITS

The Verification Handbook – edited by Craig Silverman

The Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting – edited by Craig Silverman and Rina Tsubaki

Google Media Tools

105 Vital Sources for Journalists – Sean Flynn

10 Expert Tips in Finding Who, Where and When Henk van Ess

DATA & DATA VIZ 

OPEN SOURCE DATA

List of open data sources

Data is Plural – weekly newsletter

Data is Plural database archive

Billionaires

Congressional bill status

Congressional Record CapitolWords database of words – Sunlight

Courts – Supreme Court case data 1791-2015

Courts bulk data – Courts Listener

Cruise ship inspections – CDC

Disease – Global Burden of Disease Data Tool Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Drone permits for non-recreations use – FAA  CSV version from The Verge

Economic typology by county – USDA

Health Inequality Project

Health data county-level – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Income — Penn World Table relative income and productivity

Infrastructure DHS open data on U.S.  (HIFLD)

Higher Ed data for student investigations – Journalist’s Resource

Homeless data from HUD by location and year

Land cover – NLCD

Natural amenities scale by location – USDA

Nuclear plants worldwide

Population subnational numbers for the world – WHO

Power plants – US Energy Information Administration

Rainfall global – Climate Hazards Group

Tide gauge data

Transit stations, schedules – TransitlandTransitfeeds

TSA legal claims

UK property sales

War and peace – UCDP

DATA VIZ

Visualizing data

10 tools for data journalism

Manyeyes

OpenData Socrata

Create a Map with Google Fusion

Create a Knightlab Timeline

VIDEO/AUDIO

quickQuote Open-source app that lets you select quotes from your video and embed in your text story.

TapeACall Subscription app ($9.99/yr) for recording calls while on the phone.  (Check the law for your state in the RCFP “Reporters Guide for Recording.”)

Art of the Investigative Interview

PREPARATION PLAN. Before proceeding, take time for mental preparation. Ask yourself what you hope to get from the interview. What information? What documents? What video/audio? Jot down the topics you want to hit on. (Avoid long lists of specific, pre-worded questions. Instead, identify specific facts you need to get.) What concerns is this person likely …

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Art of the Sensitive Interview

Interviews with people who have experienced trauma require extra sensitivity but not less rigor. Here are some basic guidelines for survivors of war crimes, combat, domestic violence, violent crime, abuse, neglect, disasters, accidents, illness, poverty, injustice, racism, human trafficking… Prepare. Understand the grieving and recovery process. Have a working knowledge of the immediate and long-term effects …

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Digital Fact-Checking: If Your Mother Tweets She Loves You Check It Out

Verification Handbook How to Verify Information from Tweets by Steve Buttry First Draft: Best practice advice and guidance for handling eyewitness media GENERAL Google Advanced Search Wolfram Alpha Searches web for authoritative answers to factual questions, historical weather data, much more SOCIAL MEDIA SEARCHES Picodash Instagram #FirstTweet Find anyone’s first Tweet Followerwonk Analyze Twitter followers Klout …

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Find people

Phones and addresses: DexPages phone book – yellow and white pages for landlines Spokeo – cell, email, address history Numberway Phone #s Social media advanced search: LinkedIn advanced search Twitter advanced search Facebook advanced search Facebook search via Netbootcamp Search by keywords, name, email, screen name or phone (Note: Privacy settings may block queries.) GeoSocial Footprint Check your social media …

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FOI: A Reporters Guide to Freeing Data & Documents

A REPORTER’S GUIDE TO UNLEASHING E-DOCS (A.R.G.U.E.) When you file a FOIA request, the government must justify every field, case or cell it plans to withhold with a statutory exemption. Demand it – and then be prepared to argue! Here’s how you can build a fast, persuasive legal argument. STEP 1: OPPO RESEARCH Listen on IRE Radio …

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InvestigateLocal: DMV

COMPANIES DC corporate charters (free registration required) Maryland corporate charters Virginia corporate charters COURTS DC courts Maryland state courts VA state courts  and virginiacourtdata.org (statewide bulk data for criminal courts) Federal courts PACER (registration required + fee per page viewed) Install the RECAP extension on Chrome and Firefox and get many PACER documents for free. Google Scholar …

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Picking & Pursuing Investigative Projects

People frequently ask how often I spend months investigating something only to hit a dead end. My answer: Rarely. While investigative reporting is by nature risky business, there are steps you can take at the start to improve the chances of delivering at the end. Here’s an excerpt from an IRE Journal article I wrote …

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Safety tips

GOLDEN RULE: NO STORY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR LIFE Risk assessment**  Are you covering a high-risk event or visiting a high-risk location? What are the risks? E.g. Injury? Arrest? Are you at increased risk because of your occupation, gender, age, race, ethnicity? Are you meeting someone who may be under surveillance or at risk …

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