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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

polldaddy.add( {
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title: ‘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.



RSS Loose Wire blog

  • Smartwatches: Coming Soon to a Cosmos Near You September 5, 2013
    This is a column I did for the BBC World Service, broadcast this week.  There’s been a lot of talk that the big boys — by which I mean Apple and Samsung — are about to launch so-called smart watches. But how smart does a watch have to be before we start strapping them to […]
  • [Reuters] Sliced and diced, digitally: autopsy as a service August 24, 2013
    A piece I wrote for Reuters.  Sliced and diced, digitally: autopsy as a service By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE | Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:57pm EDT Aug 21 (Reuters) – Malaysian entrepreneur Matt Chandran wants to revive the moribund post-mortem by replacing the scalpel with a scanner and the autopsy slab with a touchscreen computer. He believes his […]
  • How Big is Google+? July 24, 2013
    I'm not convinced, based on anecdotal evidence but nothing more, by stories like these that Google+ is gaining on Facebook and overtaking twitter:  Google Plus Becomes World's No. 2 Social Network After Facebook, Knocking Off Twitter Is Google+ More Popular Than Twitter? And Other Hot Topics | Constant Contact Blogs Is Google+ Really More Popular [ […]
  • Google Alerts Drops RSS Delivery Option July 3, 2013
    Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land points out that Google Alerts Drops RSS Delivery Option, which is pretty upsetting. The message says that "Google Reader is no longer available," and says users need to switch to email alerts. Seems that Google is either just dumping RSS wholesale or that the feed engine that ran the RSS […]
  • The rebirth of RSS? June 29, 2013
    This is a column written for the BBC World Service (here's the show.). Views are my own, and do not represent those of my employer, Thomson Reuters.  I've been wrong about a lot of things, but I've been particularly wrong about something called RSS. RSS is a simple standard, dreamed up during the halcyon days […]
  • Malaysiakini’s office May 5, 2013
    An unprepossessing corner building near Bangsar station, wedged between a body shop and a long-distance bus pickup. There's usually a guy fast asleep in the doorway. There's a sticker on the door saying "Please press button marked Button" or somesuch. 
  • In Malaysia, online election battles take a nasty turn May 5, 2013
    Jahabar Sadiq of The Malaysian Insider Here's a piece I did from KL on Saturday ahead of Sunday's election. It was pushed out ahead of the poll for obvious reasons but it might have a broader interest in how the battle for influence over online media has evolved in Malaysia, with relevance elsewhere.  May 4 […]
  • Digicel takes on the big boys in Myanmar April 28, 2013
    Here's a piece I wrote about the, for some somewhat obscure, Digicel and its efforts to win a slice of Myanmar's mobile pie. You can read the rest here.SINGAPORE, April 29 | Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:54pm EDT(Reuters) - Cellular operator Digicel Group Ltd jumped into Myanmar early and big, hiring staff, funding local sports, negotiating land […]
  • iPhatigue February 13, 2013
    This is the text of a BBC piece I wrote, based on our Reuters story of a week or so ago.   The problem with smartphones is that they’re visible. We want them to be visible; we flaunt them. We put them on the table in restaurants, we fiddle with them if conversation lags; we not […]
  • Office of the Future January 25, 2013
    This was a piece I was asked to do for a BBC World Service segment on the office of the future. It was broadcast a couple of days ago. Here’s the full broadcast: here Needless to say the piece has nothing do with my present work environment, which is charming and healthy.   The office of 2050, […]



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