Investigative

One of our top First Amendment duties is to root out fraud, corruption and waste — among governments, companies, charities and powerful individuals. Learn how to add an investigative edge to all you do.

Getting sources and maintaining them is half the job. Learn how diversifying sources and why it’s important, how to approach the people you need to know on your beat and how to build mutually rewarding connections with sources.

 

Reporting with Pinpoint

Learn how to probe through millions of documents, including audio, video, PDFs and more, to find patterns or that proverbial needle in a haystack. You’ll see case studies of how Gannett journalists have used this software to break big investigative stories.

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  • Using specialized search engines to find sources, data and fact-checks

    Execute deeper, more precise, more sophisticated web searches by harnessing specialized search engines. Diversity your stories, angles, sources and readers.

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  • Backgrounding a business

    How to search for proxies and tools for covering business, non-profits and the economy overall.

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  • Secure communications with sources and tipsters

    Tips and traps: Tools such as Signal app, Freedome and VPNs to keep you, your data and your sources safe.

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  • CSV Match and other fuzzy-matching tools

    Finds matches between two files rather than within one.

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  • Analyzing batches of PDFs

    Learn tools and techniques for working with data buried in PDF files.

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  • Basic databases in Google Flourish and other tools

    A few easy tools to help you show your work: Google Flourish, Airtable and Tableizer.

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  • Advanced fact-checking for reporters

    Fact-checking images, video and verifying facts.

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  • Google Collaboratory

    Google Colab runs notebooks on a virtual machine that can execute your code, connect to data in the Google cloud, and share with a collaborators.

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  • The best data on education

    What education data sets out there, and what stories can they help us tell?

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  • What do you mean, it’s “statistically significant?”

    Advanced math for journalists.

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  • The best data about inequality

    What are the best datasets out there and what stories can they tell?

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  • Investigative/data skills series: Data visualization using Infogram

    Data visualization for everyone using InfoGram, an easy but powerful tool available to journalists across Gannett.

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  • Basic Databases in Google Flourish and other tools

    A few easy tools to help you show your work: Google Flourish, Airtable and Tableizer.

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  • Investigative/data skills series: Data visualization using DataWrapper

    In part I of our two-part series, “Data visualization for everyone,” we explore DataWrapper — an easy but powerful tool available to journalists across Gannett.

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  • Google Public Data Explorer

    The Google Public Data Explorer is linked to reliable datasets that can help you build charts in minutes.

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  • Data scraping with Google Sheets and Tabula

    In this training video and hands-on exercises, you’ll learn how to scrape data tables out of web pages.

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  • Scraping online databases with Google Sheets

    An accessible way for anyone to quickly capture data that would otherwise require hundreds of hours at the keyboard to query.

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  • How to pry public records from a reluctant agency

    Government databases are public records, yet most agencies treat records requests for data as something exotic and fraught with challenges. Anticipate the objections and defeat them for the win.

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  • Hands-on with fast.ai

    Automatically sort text or images with machine-learning. Got too much text to read, or too many images to dig through? Make the computer do it, by teaching by example.

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  • Unlocking the power of Excel pivot tables

    Slice and dice data to to organize your reporting, find patterns and reveal better stories.

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  • Data visualization introduction

    Visualizations can help make a complex story simpler. Play with simple data visualization tools, learn how to automatically import data into a map, and explore the elegant templates of Flourish.

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  • Introduction to using data in your reporting

    An overview of the key data analysis tools and techniques used to produce investigative stories, with examples of stories that were made possible with these tools.

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  • Backgrounding like a boss: Reporting on people and companies with free tools

    Even great reporters can get tricked by fake names or sketchy backgrounds. We’ll walk through some websites and strategies you can use to create a routine and spot potential red flags before you get burned.

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  • Advanced Search: Power tools for search, research and analysis

    See what users in your area are searching and discover story ideas on Google Trends. Explore Backlight, an AI tool for parsing massive amounts of documents.

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  • Verification tools

    Bad information is dangerous, especially in uncertain times. Learn how to verify images and video, investigate social media posts, and identify misinformation with open-source intelligence tools.

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  • Building a public records mindset

    A discussion on developing a documents state of mind — the key to doing solid watchdog work on a beat.

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  • Small newsrooms, big ambitions

    Just because your newsroom is small doesn’t mean your goals need to be.

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  • 9 Tips for Covering Election Misinformation

    Here are concrete, simple steps journalists can take to fight misinformation, avoid confusion and add context.

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  • Google News Lab training

    Daniel Petty, a certified Google News Lab trainer with the Denver Post, discusses reverse image search, advanced search, maps and Google Fusion tables.

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  • Advanced backgrounding of people and companies

    From Investigative Reporters and Editors, here’s how to build a deep well of background to inform your reporting and writing.

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  • Creating data visualizations

    In this quick clip, Maggie Farley discusses how to build visualizations that will engage and build trust with your audience. She demonstrates different tools to build quick data visualizations and animations.

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  • Reporting on farm bankruptcies in your own backyard

    Using a database created by Sky Chadde, the Gannett Agriculture Data Fellow at the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, you’ll be able to localize the impact of these bankruptcies and identify trends in your community.

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  • Google: Geo and mapping

    Maggie Farley, a former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent who now works with Google News Initiative, covers Geo and Mapping.

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  • Google: Verification

    In this webinar, Maggie Farley, a former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent, discusses verification.

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  • FOUNDATIONS: Sources are the key

    This session will cover diversifying sources and why it’s important, how to approach the people you need to know on your beat, and how to build mutually rewarding connections with sources.

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  • What is Storyful and how can you use it?

    A discussion of Storyful and how to put it to use in your newsroom.

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  • Investigating the internet

    This workshop uses case studies of BuzzFeed News investigations into misinformation and ad fraud, as well as tips and tutorials, to equip journalists with the basic skills they need to incorporate this data into their work.

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  • Advanced search techniques

    This primer on Google search includes tips for effective image searches.

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  • Advanced verification tools

    Watchdog training on advanced verification tools, focused on protest examples (exclusive to Gannett journalists through our relationship with Google News Lab).

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  • Investigative Reporting: From Numbers to Narrative

    Part one in a two-part webinar series will introduce useful sources of data for a variety of beats.

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