Computers have changed the landscape of both gathering and disseminating information throughout the world. As journalists quickly move toward the 21st century and perhaps, a new era of electronic journalism, resources are needed to understand the newest and most successful computer-based news reporting strategies. Written to serve that purpose, this book is designed to show both professional journalists and students which of the newest personal computing tools are being used by the nation's leading news organizations and top individual journalists. It further describes how these resources are being used on a daily basis and for special projects.
In recent years, computers have taken on new and dominating roles in the process of news analysis, newsgathering, and news processing. Today's forward-thinking journalists often seek guidance over what they can do to strengthen their ability to be society's information processors and managers. This volume focuses upon how successful journalists are using computers through a major national computer-assisted reporting (CAR) study of daily newspapers. The study included two national surveys and a series of personal interviews with many of the nation's leading CAR specialists. Several current examples of stories used for successful database- and online-oriented news assignments are provided as part of a series of case studies incorporated throughout the book. The additional depth of description and the presentation of portions of stories themselves should help readers to understand the complete process involving CAR-oriented journalism.
Substantial analytical detail is used to discuss the extent of computer use in newsrooms, computer training, CAR projects, CAR in daily reporting, hardware and software most commonly used, levels and types of online services used in news research, and portable hardware and software. The book concludes with the author's assessment of the effects and impact of personal computing in the newsroom and the future of personal computer applications in newsgathering. Explaining and defining advanced applications or terminology for readers, the approach to the book assumes a minimal familiarity with computers, but no advanced knowledge of computer operation.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. Successful Use of Computers in Newsgathering and Processing. Computers in the Newsroom. Projects and Daily Computer-Assisted Reporting. Hardware Tools for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Software Tools for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Online Services and the Internet. Portable Computer-Assisted Reporting. Moving Toward 21st Century CAR. Appendices: 1994-95 Research Questionnaires. Muskegon Chronicle Jail Crowding Case Study. Miami Herald Crime and No Punishment Case Study. CAR Software Publishers' Technical Support Hotlines. Internet Distribution Lists for CAR Journalists. Internet World Wide Web Sites for CAR Journalists. Plain Dealer FAA's Unreliable Air Records Case Study.
"Computer-assisted reporting [CAR] and analysis is so new and changing so fast that it's a moving target. However, Bruce Garrison has managed to hit the bulls-eye with his new book. Garrison not only tells us who is doing what with computer analyses in the news business, he also says what they're doing and what equipment and software they're using to do it. This is an excellent primer for those just getting started in setting up a CAR operation in their newsrooms. For veteran CAR specialists, it's an excellent guide to measure how their newsrooms stand against others that are moving forward in this essential area of journalism."
—Neill A. Borowski
Director, Computer-Assisted Reporting/Analysis, The Philadelphia Inquirer