This feature celebrates one of SPJ’s four guiding principals: We are champions for journalists. For nearly 90 years, the Society of Professional Journalists awards have honored journalists and outlets for their crucial contributions to the profession. The awards are designed to recognize the very best in professional journalism across print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics and online.
April 12th, 2021 • Featured, Toolbox, Quill Archives
SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tool of the Month: Scraping a .PDF
I loathe .PDFs of public records with the power of a thousand suns. They’re a tease. They’re full of data tables but useless to most data journalists in the .PDF format. And government officials love to share them with us because they know a .PDF
A goal of American newspaper editors to achieve newsroom diversity that matched the racial and ethnic diversity of the country was considered so ambitious they set the deadline more than two decades out. Twenty years after the deadline, the goal still hasn’t been met, but the urgent need to do so remains, highlighted by the recent Atlanta-area killings of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to cancel a half-dozen eagerly anticipated trips I’d planned as incoming Society of Professional Journalists president. I had booked flights to Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah, Illinois, Indiana and Washington, D.C. — three for regional SPJ conferences and three others for leadership training, a board meeting and our Sigma Delta Chi Awards.
DuJuan McCoy began his career in Indianapolis selling TV advertising spots door-to-door. More than three decades later, the media mogul has managed, owned and operated various networks, at one point becoming the only Black person to own and operate a Fox affiliate in the United States.
Government websites love to bury data in tables on web pages. Why? It satisfies legal requirements for making document public under sunshine laws, but it renders the data useless. You can’t sort or filter the data to look for trends, do math calculations to find rates and averages, and other things journalists need to find stories.
Rachael Eyler was confident she was prepared to start her career as a multimedia reporter at a small Wisconsin TV station back in the spring. She had a new journalism degree, experience from internships and campus media, and was coming off a multimedia fellowship at The Wall Street Journal in London.
Reporters hate transcribing notes and they often ask me during newsroom training what tools work best. They want speed and accuracy with the transcriptions, and they want it free (or very cheap). I’ve listed many tools on the Toolbox’s Transcription Tools page, but here are my three favorites for speed, use and cost: Otter.ai:
Note: This story was published in Quill in 2020, prior to Marty Baron’s retirement announcement. It’s been a bumpy year so far, but Marty Baron makes sure to wear a helmet for the ride. Baron, a regular cyclist, is executive editor of The Washington Post and plans to edit the publication at least through the 2020 election.
Editor’s note: This is the first of what will be monthly posts about how to use digital and data tools on Journalist’s Toolbox. Check back each month for new tools, tips and tricks. Google launched its Dataset Search tool in November 2018 to help researchers locate data that is freely available for use.
UPDATE: The CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan lists the media as essential workers to be given the vaccine in Phase 1c. This places them after people aged 65 years or older and other essential workers including healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store workers, public transit workers and teachers.
For the past three years, Madeleine Baran and the team behind the “In the Dark” podcast have worked to uncover the truth behind the case against Curtis Flowers. Flowers was convicted for the 1996 murders of four people inside the Tardy Furniture store in Winona, Mississippi.
It was 229 years ago, on Dec. 15, 1791, that this nation adopted the 45 words of the First Amendment. And that set the foundation for everything our free press has done since. On that same date, in 1971, my parents welcomed me into the world and named me after Henry David Thoreau — and set the foundation for everything I’ve done since.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has been reporting on race, education and segregation for decades, picking up the MacArthur Fellowship, Polk and Peabody awards along the way. Now at The New York Times Magazine, where she created The 1619 Project, she said she’s “doing exactly what I’ve worked my entire career to do … The only reason I ever wanted to become a journalist was to write about racial inequalities.”
Victor Hernandez preaches the gospel of newsroom productivity, whether he’s working with his reporters in the Crosscut newsroom in Seattle or training journalists at conferences around the country. Hernandez’s philosophy is simple: Think trends and not tools when finding digital resources that can make you more productive.
No one would have faulted veteran investigative reporter Les Zaitz if, after retiring from The Oregonian in 2016, he’d kicked back at his east Oregon ranch with his wife and watched the world go by. What did a man who’d covered the Mount St.