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#Tip: Check out these resources for investigating international business

Journalism students are routinely told to “follow the money” when training, and although initiative and cunning should be the key tools in the toolbox it never hurts to just be told where to look.

At the recent Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Paul Radu, of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in Romania, and the University of Missouri’s Marty Steffens gave a presentation on some of the best tools for tracing transactions, uncovering the business deals and researching international business.

Brazilian Journalism student Amanda Rocha originally wrote it up for the conference website in Portuguese and it has now been reposted at the University of Texas in English.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Tablet and mobile news interaction studies

October 25th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Top tips for journalists
Copyright: C. Regina on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by C.Regina on Flickr. Some rights reserved

It is worth taking a look at some recent studies which have researched the way users interact with news on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, and could help with the development of news products on digital platforms.

Studies include eye-tracking research by Poynter, which released further findings from its study last week, on how users engage with news on tablets, which hoped “to determine best strategy for news on tablets”. Find out more on the project here.

And earlier in the month MediaShift reported on a Pew Research Center study on mobile news, which MediaShift said “offers context that could help community news publishers hone their mobile strategy”.

See the Pew study here.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.


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Help PhD research into women in journalism

February 6th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

A former newspaper reporter is appealing for women working in journalism to take part in a survey to help her PhD research.

Amanda Geary, a lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland, hopes to gather information from women who have worked in different types of journalism, between 1970 and the current day.

She says:

The information gathered from this study should help provide a clearer knowledge and understanding of the experiences of the professional lives of female journalists working in the UK since 1970.

The 10-minute survey can be found here, and all personal information collected will be kept confidential.


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Is your blog in this PR database of 1.3 million blogs?

Press officers have long relied on databases of journalists in order to approach them for stories. PRs are now increasingly targeting bloggers, recognising their reach. One start-up has seized on this trend, creating GroupHigh, “a research engine” which crawls 1.3 million blogs in real-time.

Launched in April 2011 in Boulder, Colorado, the software allows PRs to search by keyword, location and blog traffic.

Listed in the Next Web’s top 20 social media tools of 2011, GroupHigh gets a ringing endorsement.

13. – If you haven’t tried GroupHigh yet, the next sentence might encourage you to do so. Ready? is the best blogger outreach research and engagement tool on the planet. The latest update (version three) makes it even easier for you to discover the most relevant blogs by keyword, style and receptiveness. Brilliant.

PRs who pay for access can ask the database for “a list of every mum blog out there”, co-founder of the start-up Bill Brennan told You can then ask the software to “tell me the ones that have written about baby formula or home schooling in the last year”.

When I tested the software and searched for “UK bloggers”, left-leaning political blog Liberal Conspiracy was listed at number one (see screen shot below).

The location search works by “triangulation”: crawling the blog, its Facebook page and Twitter feed, Brennan explained.

Users can also filter by page rank, Facebook shares or Twitter followers and export the data to Excel.

Version three of the software lists blogs not bloggers, Brennan said.

We’ll probably add contacts for individual bloggers at each blog as part of version four.

GroupHigh is the co-founders’ second start-up. Their first foray was recipe search engine Recipe Bridge, which they sold to an Australian ad network.

Confident in their ability to build software to crawl the web and realising “it’s difficult to make money [from] advertising”, the pair “started to tap into the blogosphere”, Bill Brennan said, noting a changing trend within the PR industry.

It seemed like blog outreach was really becoming a staple of campaigns for their clients.

Brennan added that PRs were finding the big bloggers, such as TechCrunch, but “they were not tapping in to what we call the ‘magic middle’” of less well-known blogs.

The cost of using the software is likely to preclude bloggers from satisfying their curiosity and checking if their site is crawled. An annual GroupHigh licence for PRs costs $3,000 (£1,926), plus $1,000 (£642) for each additional user.

Below is a video demo of how GroupHigh works.

GroupHigh 3 Video Overview from Andy Theimer on Vimeo.

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Guardian study finds just 22.6% of journalists are female

December 6th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Journalism

The New York Times newsroom in 1942. By Marjory Collins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 The Guardian today published the findings from its research into gender in the press, based on “a simple count of newspaper bylines” and those appearing on the Today programme on Radio 4.

The bylines were said to have been taken from articles published in a total of seven newspapers from 13 June to 8 July. The Guardian reports that the research, led by Kira Cochrane, found that women journalists accounted for just 22.6 per cent, as opposed to 77.4 per cent for male reporters.

National papers were all shown to have large gender gaps in byline averages. The Daily Mail and the Guardian recorded the lowest male dominance at 68 per cent male and 72 per cent male respectively.

In its ever-open approach to data the Guardian has made all the data available as a downloadable spreadsheet and is asking its audience to get involved by posing the question: “What can you do with this data?”

Read more here.

Research published earlier this year, commissioned by the Women in Journalism group, found that almost three quarters of journalists working in the national press were male.

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mySociety publishes analysis reports on its own sites

June 15th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Non-profit, Politics

MySociety, the organisation behind some of the biggest democracy projects in the UK, has today made public two reports which it commissioned to gain greater understanding of two of its sites – TheyWorkForYou and WriteToThem.

As the site itself says: “We think transparency is a good thing for many reasons, but one of its rarely mentioned virtues is how valuable transparency can be for the people within the organisations which are transparent.”

And there have been some interesting discoveries. According to MySociety one of the reasons that both the sites were set up was to make representatives accessible to newcomers to the democratic process. So it was “heartening” to find, for example, that 60 per cent of visitors to TheyWorkForYou had never previously looked up who represents them, and two in five users of WriteToThem have never before contacted one of their political representatives, was a positive sign.

But, as you would expect with any properly neutral evaluation, it’s not all good news. Our sites aim to reach a wide range of people, but compared to the average British internet user, WriteToThem users are twice as likely to have a higher degree and a higher income. It also seems that users are disproportionately male, white, and over 35.

Find the reports here…

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#bbcsms: Call for news organisations and journalists to contribute ideas to research

Dr Claire Wardle speaks to at the end of the BBC‘s Social Media Summit today having called on those present to share their views for future research in the field.

I caught up with her at the end of the conference to discuss her dream for the short and long-term impact of the event.


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City University research shows rapid growth of personalised news services

May 12th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Automatic personalised news services in UK and US are growing at three times the rate of reader customisation services, according to new report.

Research published by City University today, as carried out by senior lecturer in electronic publishing Neil Thurman, suggests that from 2007 to 2009, personalisation by readers only grew by 20 per cent.

In comparison passive personalisation, where news websites filter and recommend articles based on user browsing behaviour “is outstripping active user customisation by a factor of three” with 60 per cent growth. And since then, Thurman told, a third study at the end of last year appears to show the trend continuing, with social media and mobile playing an increasing role in adding personalisation functionality.

The research was carried out through a series of interviews with senior editors of major news outlets in the UK and US, including Times Online and BBC News Interactive, as well as content analysis of the news sites of these organisations.

This included features such as widgets and SMS alerts, as well as homepage customisation and “contextual recommendations” where contextually-related links are automatically generated from individual stories to other content.

“Although some are saying that personalised news sites are ‘all the rage’, this research is a warning to new sites like Trove, that readers are reluctant to take on the role of editorial selection, and still enjoy serendipitous discovery,” Thurman said in a release today.

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Ofcom: The UK is leading internationally as a ‘digitally advanced nation’

November 20th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

A new Ofcom report, linked below, shows that UK consumers is globally ahead in its take-up of digital televisiona and mobile products and services.

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Ta-da! Insite goes live – a brand new online research website

October 10th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism is happy to announce that Insite, a new blog designed to bring users tips on ‘slick research, advanced internet research strategies and news about the best tools’, is now live.

First up is an interview with the founder of the new UK-based search engine MSE360, which has attracted praise from both sides of the Atlantic with a three-tier display, clean design and other unique features such as virus alerts.

Insite is the handiwork of’s consulting editor, Colin Meek.

Colin has been working on investigative and in-depth research projects for over 15 years as a journalist and policy analyst, and was founding editor of the online news channel on

Over the last three years he has delivered courses in advanced internet and investigative research.

Since starting as a freelancer 10 years ago, Colin has worked for many clients including Which?, Health Which?, BMJ (British Medical Journal) Knowledge, The Times, the Canadian Medical Association Journal,, the Pharmaceutical Journal, the RSPGB and many others.

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