Tag Archives: tool

A lesson from Superstorm Sandy: How to find sources using social media

By Ian Silvera

In a world where an extraordinary amount of people own smartphones, it’s easier than ever to connect instantaneously with those affected by significant news events wherever you happen to be based. But what tools can help reporters find those affected?

Simple searches on Twitter or Facebook may present too many ‘junk leads’ to wade through. Tools like TweetDeck are better, but what if you were able to find social media users more quickly through geolocation? Surely that would be a much more efficient method?

There are numerous websites out there that offer this functionality.

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A fantastic tool for presenting debates – come play

Debate tool Wrangl

Someone should ask Stef Lewandowski to look after children more often. Any children. Every time he does, he seems to invent something. His latest project – made while cradling his baby son – is Wrangl, a tool for “making sense of both sides of the argument”.

This is a problem that has been tackled before – most notably by Debategraph. But Wrangl – at least judging by the example on AV – is better: it looks beautiful, and works wonderfully.

That’s partly because it is aimed at for-and-against debates, rather than the broader issues which Debategraph focuses on.

With such a simple basis, it’s then possible to link each argument to a counter-argument – or add new arguments of your own.

The design of the site makes it easy to pick out each side’s arguments, and follow those through to counter arguments. These are often linked to evidence (for example, Channel 4′s Fact Check) or blog posts which expand on the argument in more detail.

It will be interesting to see how the site is used – and abused – and how it develops in response. At the moment it has a few design issues – such as the ‘Back’ button taking you out of the site, and responding to an argument involving a dropdown menu for arguments across the site – but those small tweaks aside this is a fantastic design solution to an ongoing journalism problem.

To test it out, I’ve started a Wrangl of my own – on NHS reforms. See if you can have a play.

*Full disclosure: Stef was a colleague with me on the crowdsourcing investigative journalism website Help Me Investigate, which he built.