Tag Archives: DocumentCloud

Using DocumentCloud to shine a light on sources #ahcj13

Photo by Pia Christensen

“Turn documents into data,” is the tagline for DocumentCloud, a free Web tool for journalists who want to search, analyze, annotate, publish and publicly share certain primary source documents.

Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters & Editors, which operates DocumentCloud, gave an hour-long workshop on what the tool does and why it’s useful for journalists on Thursday, the first day of Health Journalism 2013.

Basically, the site allows journalists to take PDFs – the largely unalterable file format of most government documents – and make them as easy to work with as a normal Microsoft Word document.

Horvit said the goal is to put public documents in the hands of everyday people and in a useful way.

“We talk a lot about transparency as journalists,” he said. “DocumentCloud provides transparency in two different ways. First it allows you to help government and business be more transparent by taking their documents, posting them and making them available to your audience. But it also provides transparency for the work that you do. In other words, readers no longer have to just take your word for it. You can post all the source documents for your story, so that your audience has a chance to see what you got.”

Among the features of DocumentCloud that Horvit highlighted:  Continue reading

Las Vegas Sun’s Allen a finalist for Goldsmith Prize

AHCJ member Marshall Allen, with Alex Richards, is a finalist for the 2011 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting for their two-year investigation into preventable infections and injuries in Las Vegas hospitals.

Marshall Allen

Marshall Allen

The Las Vegas Sun reporters reviewed 2.9 million records for the reporting of “Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas.”

Allen recently wrote an article for AHCJ members about making some of those inspection reports available for readers to see, using DocumentCloud. The technology allows readers to see the breadth of inspectors’ findings, including those that may not grab headlines but are just as important to the public.

Allen reports on health care for the Las Vegas Sun. As a member of the inaugural class of AHCJ Media Fellowships on Health Performance, he is exploring whether transparency about hospital quality improves the quality of care for patients. He has won Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism for his body of work in 2007, in the limited report and medium newspaper categories in 2008 and for his body of work in 2009. He was a member of the 2009 AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowship Program.