Monthly Archives: February 2013

Online security for journalists: never assume you’re secure

image from xkcd

image from xkcd

With news last week of the New York Times and Washington Post being hacked recently, The Muckraker‘s Lyra McKee looks at internet security.

“They were able to hack into the computer and remotely access my Facebook account, printing out a transcript of a private conversation. Then they told me who I’d been talking to over the past week and who was on my contacts list. They’d hacked into my phone. When they first told me they could hack into computers and phones, I didn’t believe them. So they showed me.”

I was sitting at the kitchen table of one of Northern Ireland’s few investigative journalists. He was shaken.

In thirty years of reporting, Colin (not his real name) has seen things that would leave the average person traumatized. A confidante of IRA terrorists, he has shaken hands with assassins and invited them into his home for a chat over a cup of tea – as he had done with me that night.

A few weeks previous, during one visit from a source, the subject of hacking had come up. Continue reading

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Spreadsheet killer? The fallout from my QueryTree App review storified

Yesterday my review of drag-and-drop data analysis tool QueryTree App kicked off a surprising amount of reaction across Twitter, including some interesting insights into the role of spreadsheets in newsrooms. I’ve collected them together below.

http://storify.com/paulbradshaw/spreadsheet-killer-the-fallout-from-my-querytree-a

Is this an Excel killer? QueryTree app lowers the bar on data journalism

QueryTree

Sometimes the most impressive tools solve a problem you never knew you had. In the case of QueryTree, a new data analysis tool, that problem is something most people never question: spreadsheets.

For all the shiny-shiny copy-and-paste-click-and-drag-ness in new journalism tools, most data digging comes back to at least some simple spreadsheet work, and that represents a significant hurdle for many journalists used to working with simpler tools.

While interface design has undergone generations of improvement on the web, spreadsheet software interfaces have remained largely unchanged for decades.

So why did no one think to do this before?

QueryTree - how the drag and drop interface works

You only need 10 choices

Continue reading