Posts Tagged ‘Seattle Times’

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On a visit to Poynter earlier this week Bob Woodward of Watergate fame reflected on journalism and digital media and made the point that technology on its own is nothing without high quality, probing journalism.

Nowadays high quality, probing journalism involves harnessing digital tools and using them to mine vast amounts of data as well as the virtues and skills Woodward deployed in his day.

There’s no better recent example than the work of Seattle Times reporter Michael J Berens whose tenacious approach earned him the $20,000 Bingham Prize for investigative journalism.

Berens produced a six-part series that dealt with the treatment and exploitation of elderly and frail people in Washington State’s adult family homes.  Along the way he filed 50 state record requests, acquired and then analysed thousands of pages of health service documents and interviewed 250 people.

You can read a fuller account of the investigation here and if you’re interested in learning more about data journalism then Elena Egawhary at the BBC in west London  is a fount of wisdom on the subject.

On this topic, however, Woodward gets the last word with his acerbic world view: “I get up in the morning and I ask the question: ‘What are the bastards hiding?’…You get at the truth at night, the lies during the day.”


The growing importance of smartphones in breaking news coverage has again been underlined, this time by a finalist in the 2010 Online News Association awards.

The Seattle Times has already won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of a coffee shop shooting in which four police officers were killed.

Mobile played a major part in its reports on the hunt for a gunman who roamed the Tacoma area for 40 hours before he too was shot dead.

Lead producer Tiffany Campbell told Poynter Online “We made use of video apps like Ustream, Qik and Twitvid to stream live video.

“Whether it was 2am police press briefings or the neighbourhood scene after the suspect was shot and killed, we were able to go live at a moment’s notice.”

She said the paper was focused on smartphones as a primary production platform for live events, particularly when streaming video or social media updates were called for.

Campbell has an excellent presentation on the advance of mobile as a journalism tool: Smartphones = mobile, real-time news production