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UNT Presentation

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    UNT Presentation UNT Presentation Presentation Transcript

    • Digging Deeper: Precision Reporting Tips
      • T.L. Langford
      • UNT Presentation
      • [email_address]
      • texasjourno.com
    • When news breaks...
      • You could wait for the press release...
      • Or call to find out when the news conference begins.
    • But that’s crazy, when
      • Most public records are available online and...
      • Social media histories can give you so much more about a person.
      • And it’s all at your fingertips.
    • You need to be organized.
    • First, prep your machine
      • An organized computer makes reporting easier.
      • iGoogle, Google alerts.
      • Toolbar bookmarks, phone list folders, flow charts, Google Docs .
    • Then, focus your reporting
      • Decide what you want to know.
      • “ How” and “why” = your best friends.
      • Figure out relationships between your subjects.
      • Try to connect the dots before you search.
      • Frontload with info from the scene
    • Our identities are tied to data elements.
    • Usually, we’re looking for the basics...
      • Full name
      • Age
      • Address
      • Address History
      • Place of Work
      • Name, including middle initial
      • Full address
      • DOB
      • Home/Business/Cell phones
      • Criminal Charges/Liens
      • Email Address
      • Spouse/children’s names
      • High School/College
      • Own business?
      • Social media profiles
      But it’s even better if you know...
    • Because data, tells a story
      • Main characters’ names , ages and addresses .
      • Location of news event.
      • Characters’ roles (victim-suspect, child-parent) with one another.
      • The character’s back story .
    • And more data on the front-end...
      • Makes it easier to verify your subject in public records.
      • Puts you on solid accuracy footing.
      • Makes for a better story.
    • For online searching, Google’s handy...
    • But Google can overwhelm.
    • And endless Googling often leaves you feeling like this.
    • While focused searching can make you as relaxed as this...
    • Make Google do more
      • When possible, use the “advanced search.”
      • Example: search for “Houston” “2008” “Hurricane Ike” and limit to site:gov. Search for file type: .xls for spreadsheets, txt, .csv for text; .mdb, dbf for databases .
      • Google alerts
      • Search within website, or url. Ex: Find a university phonebook? inurl:faculty directory site:unt.edu. Communication department site:utexas.edu
    • Try to think beyond Google
      • Try different search options, like Blekko , Bing, Yahoo, Qwiki , Quora , DuckDuckGo .
      • Stick to records-specific search engines when you need them like Zabasearch , Nexis , PublicData , Spokeo , DCAD.
    • Look at state and local records for more.
      • DPS criminal search , $3 a search.
      • Harris County District Clerk , register and free to search.
      • Texasjourno , a free list of government search sites for Texas reporters.
    • Special Searches
      • Guidestar , for non-profit IRS info.
      • Legistorm , for congressional salaries, budgets
      • Texas SOS and Federal SEC for business filings.
      • State license searches, for professions, for types of facilities like nursing homes.
      • Pacer , for federal court documents.
    • When you have a name, get some social media history.
      • Icerocket
      • Samepoint
      • Whostalkin
      • Facebook Search
      • Linked-in
      • Twitter
      • A public records database is a roadmap. It provides direction.
      • A public records database is not : a final destination.
      Caveats about Nexis, PublicData, etc
    • Use records to answer:
      • Where were they in the hours before the event? Who saw them?
      • Is the subject legally able to: drive, teach, practice medicine, law? You sure? Who says?
      • Did subject recently: divorce, marry , lose a job?
      • Does victim know suspect?
    • Always think about...
      • Timelines – before and after the news event.
      • The key events in your story, the turning points.
      • How and why the event happened.
      • Who doesn’t like your subject? Who has an agenda? What do they know?
      • What’s missing?
    • Keep a records frame of mind
      • If people, things, events are counted, there’s a record.
      • Imagine what these records would look like.
      • What agency would have them?
      • Who else might have them? Ex-spouses, attorneys, neighbors?
      • Information is never perfect. Only as good as the person who recorded it.
      • Know how the record is collected.
      • Verify, verify, verify.
      • Records add context and interesting detail.
      Points to remember:
    • Want to learn more?
      • Join Investigative Reporters and Editors ($25 as a student) at www.ire.org .
      • They have tip sheets, a story library and members you can consult for help on a topic.
      • Everything I know, I learned from IRE members.
    • Questions? Twitter: @tlangford Contact me at [email_address]
    •  
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