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Resources for the modern journalist. From Loose Wire

SPH Pre-Course Survey 2011-04


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Google News: More Alerts

Google News has made some changes which offers some new options for setting up alerts.

One is to create a section based on a search. Type your keyword(s) and at the bottom of the results you’ll see a set of links. Click the top one:


This will create a link on the left hand side of the page among the existing topics:


Click on that and you’ll see, on the right hand side, an edit button:


Use that to tweak the search terms, as well as limit your sources to a particular country (or U.S. state):


Use the button at the bottom to delete a section.

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AJF Feedback Survey

Please take a moment to fill out this form

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Company Databases

Here’s a resource for finding details on companies: 

Access to company information greatly varies from country to country and even among regions within the same country.

In the USA, for example, each state has its own data-bases and protocols. Although basic information is often free-of-charge, in many cases you will have to pay an access fee. In some countries, particularly in the developing world, you have to physically visit the deeds office or government departments. When the data is not available from the authorities, commercial companies often aggregate the information as part of business intelligence services — which can be very expensive.

It is therefore important to know what process to follow, and where to go, when planning your investigative story.

The ID website seeks to provide you with a one-stop guide, giving you the latest available advice on the most efficient ways to access company data.

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Social Network Analysis Software

Some tools for social network analysis. More from Wikipedia here

Pajek (Slovene word for Spider) is a program, for Windows, for analysis and visualization of large networks. It is freely available, for noncommercial use. 

Analyst’s Notebook is part of the i2 Intelligence-Led Operations Platform, delivers the richest assisted analysis and visualization capabilities in the world to support analysts in quickly turning large sets of disparate information into high-quality and actionable intelligence to prevent crime and terrorism.

NetMiner is an innovative software tool for Exploratory Analysis and Visualization of Network Data. NetMiner allows you to explore your network data visually and interactively, and helps you to detect underlying patterns and structures of the network. 

UCINET is a social network analysis program developed by Steve BorgattiMartin Everett and Lin Freeman. The program is distributed by Analytic Technologies. UCINET works in tandem with freeware program called NETDRAW for visualizing networks. NETDRAW is installed automatically with UCINET.

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AJF 2011 Initial Survey

Please take this survey before the course begins

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Evernote Alternatives

Evernote is great for saving everything you might possibly need. But does its catch-all approach mean you lose stuff?

One option, if that’s the case, is to use a separate app for collecting thoughts and a limited range of bits and pieces so you can sort them more easily. Here are some options, all for Windows (though Mac versions may exist):





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Gapminder AIR App

Gapminder now has a downloadable version using Adobe AIR. More here.

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Cleaning Up Text

A good tool for cleaning text you’ve copied from other sources is Text Monkey for Windows. The free version should be sufficient: just scroll down the page to the Text Monkey Lite link, or click here (down)load starts immediately.

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TreeMap tools

treemap screenshot

Treemap Guide from ManyEyes: A tree map is a visualization of hierarchical structures. It is very effective in showing attributes of leaf nodes using size and color coding. Tree maps enable users to compare nodes and sub-trees even at varying depth in the tree, and help them spot patterns and exceptions.

To make a simple Treemap, create three columns. The first is the topic or category, and then the sub-topic or actual elements. Then the value in the final column determines the size of the square itself:


Will become when pasted into ManyEyes:


Alternatively, there’s a gadget for Google Docs spreadsheets which slots straight into your spreadsheet:


Here are some more links to explore:

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How to use converged media

This website is based on pages and posts.

Posts will appear in chronological order in the main window on the left. They're time-sensitive, posted depending on what workshop is taking place and what is being covered. If you're in a workshop then look out for tips and modules there.

Pages are static, and are listed here in this column and on the upper right. They're step-by-step guides to specific modules taught in the courses.



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  • RT @analyseasia: Content consumption, particularly video, is rising. Mobile is a key driver, with more people watching video on their devic… 5 days ago
  • RT @Limerick1914: Doris Lessing: “A public library is the most democratic thing in the world. What can be found there has undone dictators… 6 days ago
  • RT @smulpuru: Great reporting. Thanks Lauren! Interesting Nordstrom is doing automated, microwarehouses essentially for beauty--small pac… 6 days ago
  • #Indonesia is on fire when it comes to mobile phone sales this year, according to @Canalys, and China's #Oppo,… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 week ago

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