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Six Open Data and Accountability Tools for Africa

At this year’s Highway Africa — the continent’s largest annual gathering of journalists — watchdog groups showcased a host of open data and accountability tools aimed squarely at Africa. Here are six of them, developed by Code4SA and presented by Wellington Radu of Media Monitoring Africa and Levi Kabwato of the Open Democracy Advice Centre.

Image via Bellingcat

Getting Started in Online, Open-Source Investigations

At First Draft, we frequently receive emails from a whole range of people asking how they can start doing the sort of online open-source investigation and verification that they’ve seen us doing. The skills and methodologies used are all something that can be learnt through a little persistence, but here are a few pieces of advice to get you started.

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Digital Self-Defense for Journalists: An Introduction

Digital self-defense is becoming an important part of the journalistic toolkit. Beyond risks to everyone’s digital lives—webcam hacking, email breaches, identity theft—people who work in newsrooms have even more at stake. Newsrooms are some of the biggest targets in the world for state-sponsored digital attacks, as well as more routine threats.

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The 10 Most-Used Tools in Today’s Newsrooms

In the very early days of building Sonr*, we talked to newsrooms all over New York City and London to get a sense of what tools journalists are currently using to get the job done. Some of these newsrooms were more traditional than others, but we found that there was a core set of digital tools that most writers and editors couldn’t get through the day without. Let us know what you think, or if this list is missing anything in the comments!

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New Tools Open Up Virtual Reality to Journalists

When Gustavo Cerati, a legendary Argentinian musician and songwriter, was asked to share his best advice for new musicians, he refused—saying instead that “experiences are not transferable.” You may agree or may not with his statement, but if you’ve ever worn an Oculus Rift or a similar virtual reality (VR) headset, you’ll know we are getting closer and closer to transferable experiences.

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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.