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A Tour Of Aleph, A Data Search Tool For Reporters

In a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all others. To those who see it, it presents the entire universe at once — an investigative reporter’s dream. Over the past six months, I’ve been working for OCCRP to produce a tool named after this mythical object. It’s based on a prototype I hacked up as part of my 2014 Knight International Journalism Fellowship, and it has now grown into a data research tool as part of the Investigative Dashboard.

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When Virtual Reality Meets Data Journalism

Isn’t the best journalism always immersive? Whether it’s Walter Kronkite’s journalistic take on history “You are There” from the 1950s or Declan Walsh’s mobile phone reporting from Syria in June, the best journalism makes you feel like you are part of the story. You care what happens. Virtual Reality is a powerful tool in making journalism more immersive to its readers and increasingly it’s becoming an essential part of the journalist’s toolkit. There are great examples of reporters using VR, such as the work of VR pioneer Nonny de la Peña, The Guardian’s 6×9 exploration of solitary confinement, or the Berliner Morgenpost’s exploration of life as a refugee.

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A Poor Journalist’s Text-Mining Toolkit

How can you search and analyze collections of documents on your own computers with simple tools? At DataHarvest, Robert Gebeloff and I ran a workshop to answer that question. As people were seemed interested, here’s a write-up of the two key tools we worked with: Apache Tika for content extraction and regular expressions in Sublime Text as an advanced search tool.

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Humanizing Data: Using Numbers AND People

With the growing relevance and popularity of data journalism, it may be easy to prioritize numbers over people, and spend our time emphasizing the data through graphics, maps, charts, and other visual products. But sometimes the faces and names behind the data get lost. Fortunately, we have some guiding lights to keep us on the path of good journalism. Consider these highlights from the panel Humanizing Numbers at IRE16…

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From Research to Publication: A Snap Look at Tips from IRE16

When it’s time to start a new investigation, journalists prepare themselves in different ways: from doing the research to pitching the story to building the narrative. It’s not about a single formula, but about integrating different resources and strategies. Here, we present a selection of the tips presented at the 2016 conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors (#IRE16), useful for starting and developing investigations.

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Resources: Guides to Finding Expert Sources

Looking for sources? Finding experts in a particular field is a good place to start for many stories. GIJN took a look at various guides to expert sources. After cutting those that are outdated, too specialized, or tools of the PR industry, we found a handful worth consulting. Here are six services with functioning, reliable databases used by journalists searching for expert sources.