Your 17 Favorite Tools for Journalism from 2017

Ren LaForme, the tool guy over at Poynter who runs their Try This! — Tools for Journalism newsletter, put together a list of his readers’ favorites from 2017. A quick, fun and helpful must read highlighting journalism tools from the Pipl app to FOIA Slack and a dirt cheap phone tripod.

How They Did It: Reuters’ Database of Taser Deaths

A team of Reuters reporters, editors and data analysts reviewed the results of hundreds of autopsies and filed hundreds of public records requests involving deaths by Taser in the US. The result? Not only did the investigation catalogue 1,005 deaths, but it ended up building the most comprehensive database ever on Taser-related deaths.

FOIA This! — Digging Out Government Spending

Tracking down local government expenses is a recurrent theme for many successful freedom of information requests. Some recent examples suggest that quite a variety of information is potentially available — about credit card charges, salaries, retirement parties, and even costs of leak investigations. Have a great story you developed using a FOI/RTI request? Send it to us at freeinfo@email.gwu.edu. We’re currently looking for examples regarding immigration.

Exposing the Cost of Police Misconduct in Chicago

In researching Settling for Misconduct, a story on settlements and judgments of police misconduct, the Chicago Reporter had to account for details from hundreds of county and federal court filings, identify thousands of officers named in civil complaints, tally hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary awards and input all these data in a proper database. They also had to build a slick web app to present the data to the public. Here is how they did it.