How do journalists find stories? How do we test whether a story is as good as it could be? How do we get better as journalists?
The image above is my attempt to answer these questions. It maps out the six activities that journalists undertake as part of their workflow, in order of value: from scoping a field or subject, through to relaying information to a wider audience, responding to or attending news events, seeking new information and experiences, and investigating. Continue reading
US politician Aaron Schock has been the subject of some innovative digging by the Associated Press in a particularly fascinating example of how media metadata can be matched with public records and website data:
“The AP tracked Schock’s reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman’s penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account. The AP extracted location data associated with each image then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock’s office and campaign records.”
The article explains that “earlier rules prohibited lawmakers from using … accounts to pay for flights on private aircraft, allowing payments only for federally licensed charter and commercial flights.”
On Friday I was at the Logan Symposium on secrecy, surveillance and censorship, an event which, as is often the case with these things, managed to be inspiring, terrifying, and confusing in equal measure.
Notably, Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism Gavin MacFadyen opened the day by talking about investigative journalists and hackers together.
It is common to hear attacks on journalists mentioned at these events, but rare to hear an old-fashioned hack like MacFadyen also talk about the “growing number of hackers being imprisoned”, while noting the commonalities of a desire for a free press, free speech, and “a free internet”. Continue reading
The Stirrer was an independent news website in Birmingham that investigated a number of local issues in collaboration with local people. One investigation in particular – into the employment of CCTV cameras in largely muslim areas of the city without consultation – was picked up by The Guardian’s Paul Lewis, who discovered its roots in anti-terrorism funds.
The coverage led to an investigation into claims of police misleading councillors, and the eventual halting of the scheme.
As part of a series of interviews for Help Me Investigate, founder Adrian Goldberg – who now presents ‘5 live Investigates‘ and a daily show on BBC Radio WM – talks about his experiences of running the site and how the story evolved from a user’s tip-off.
The following 3 videos first appeared on the Help Me Investigate blog, Help Me Investigate: Health and Help Me Investigate: Welfare. I thought I’d collect them together here too. As always, these are published under a Creative Commons licence, so you are welcome to re-use, edit and combine with other video, with attribution (and a link!).
First, Heather Brooke’s tips for starting to investigate public bodies:
Her advice on investigating health, welfare and crime:
And on using the Data Protection Act: