The Disappearance of Quitobaquito Springs: Tracking Hydrologic Change with Google Earth Engine (Bellingcat)

Bellingcat: The Disappearance of Quitobaquito Springs: Tracking Hydrologic Change with Google Earth Engine. “Establishing a direct causal relationship between ongoing construction work and a system as interconnected and complex as an aquifer is also extremely difficult. Those responsible for the border wall construction project also deny impacting Quitobaquito Springs. When contacted by Bellingcat, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said ‘monsoonal and leaks with the existing liner of the pond’ were more likely behind the falling water levels. Fortunately, open source investigative methods can provide us with valuable information to help address these questions and hypotheses. Not only can we measure the loss of water in the pond from satellite imagery, we can also use other public data sets to evaluate explanations such as drought and agricultural water usage.

Washington Post: Public records requests fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic

Washington Post: Public records requests fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic. “With most government employees still working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, the disclosure of public records by many federal agencies and local government offices nationwide has worsened or even ground to a halt…. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which provides legal support for journalists, has catalogued more than 130 instances in which state and local officials in 39 states and the District of Columbia cited the pandemic as a reason to curtail access to public records.”

Digital investigations: New online course teaches journalists how to follow the digital trail of people and entities (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas)

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: Digital investigations: New online course teaches journalists how to follow the digital trail of people and entities. “The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is offering the free online course, ‘Digital investigations for journalists: How to follow the digital trail of people and entities,’ to help journalists obtain the tools necessary to investigate and monitor people and entities behind social media accounts. The MOOC (massive open online course) will be held from Oct. 5 to Nov. 1, 2020, during four weeks, on Journalism Courses, the distance learning platform of the Knight Center.”

BuzzFeed News: Blanked-Out Spots On China’s Maps Helped Us Uncover Xinjiang’s Camps

BuzzFeed News: Blanked-Out Spots On China’s Maps Helped Us Uncover Xinjiang’s Camps. “China’s Baidu blanked out parts of its mapping platform. We used those locations to find a network of buildings bearing the hallmarks of prisons and internment camps in Xinjiang. Here’s how we did it.”

Poynter: The tracking of disparity: Here are 5 places to find accurate data on COVID-19’s toll on people of color and the poor

Poynter: The tracking of disparity: Here are 5 places to find accurate data on COVID-19’s toll on people of color and the poor. “The most compelling stories about the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on minorities and the poor combine local voices with hard data that confirms a broader reality. One without the other too often leaves an incomplete picture for readers and viewers who are overwhelmed by the volume of information or for some reason skeptical of the greater risks facing Black and Hispanic residents, and low-income families. But where do journalists find the numbers confirming the disparities in their states and communities, particularly if their news outlets don’t have sophisticated data operations? Here are five places to start.”

EPFL: A secure, decentralized search engine for journalists

EPFL: A secure, decentralized search engine for journalists. “An EPFL laboratory has developed Datashare Network, a decentralized search engine paired with a secure messaging system that allows investigative journalists to exchange information securely and anonymously. An scientific article on this subject will be presented during the Usenix Security Symposium which will be held online from August 12 to 14.”

Online Journalism Blog: A journalist’s introduction to network analysis

Online Journalism Blog: A journalist’s introduction to network analysis. “Network analysis offers enormous potential for journalism: able to tease out controversial connections and curious clusters, and to make visible that which we could not otherwise see, it’s also often about relationships and power. It is both a data journalism technique and an open source intelligence (OSINT) technique — and yet it is relatively underused in both, most likely because the tools to do network analysis have only become accessible in the last few years.”

Online Journalism Blog: How Wayback Machine and a sitemap file was used to factcheck Dominic Cummmings

Online Journalism Blog: How Wayback Machine and a sitemap file was used to factcheck Dominic Cummmings. “Here’s how it was done — and how journalists can use the same tools in their work, whether it’s to verify a claim made about the past, a claim about what was not said in the past, or to uncover details that may have been unwittingly revealed in earlier versions of webpages.”

NiemanLab: VizPol takes a cue from bird-watching apps to help journalists identify unfamiliar political symbols

NiemanLab: VizPol takes a cue from bird-watching apps to help journalists identify unfamiliar political symbols. “Built by researchers at Columbia University’s journalism and engineering schools and launched as an invite-only beta this week, VizPol can currently recognize 52 symbols. Many are associated with right-wing and white supremacist organizations, but the app also includes insignia used by libertarian, anti-fascist, hactivist, and other groups considered political but not extremist.”

ProPublica: I’m an Investigative Journalist. These Are the Questions I Asked About the Viral “Plandemic” Video.

ProPublica: I’m an Investigative Journalist. These Are the Questions I Asked About the Viral “Plandemic” Video.. “My brother is a pastor in Colorado and had someone he respects urge him to watch ‘Plandemic,’ a 26-minute video that promises to reveal the “hidden agenda” behind the COVID-19 pandemic. I called him and he shared his concern: People seem to be taking the conspiracy theories presented in ‘Plandemic’ seriously. He wondered if I could write something up that he could pass along to them, to help people distinguish between sound reporting and conspiracy thinking or propaganda So I watched ‘Plandemic.’ I did not find it credible, as I will explain below.”

First Draft: How to analyze Facebook data for misinformation trends and narratives

First Draft: How to analyze Facebook data for misinformation trends and narratives. “There is a mountain of data that can help us examine topics such as the spread of 5G conspiracy theories or where false narratives around Covid-19 cures came from. It can help us analyze cross-border narratives and identify which online communities most frequently discuss certain issues. While Twitter’s public data is accessible through its Application Programming Interface (API), it can be much more complicated for researchers to access platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Facebook-owned platform CrowdTangle is the most easily accessible tool to handle three of the most important social networks — Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit — and it is free for journalists and researchers.”

GIJN’s Data Journalism Top 10: Weird Maps, ‘Out of Control’ Airbnb, Augmented Reality Graphics, Russian Doctors, Brazilian Data (Global Investigative Journalism Network)

Global Investigative Journalism Network: GIJN’s Data Journalism Top 10: Weird Maps, ‘Out of Control’ Airbnb, Augmented Reality Graphics, Russian Doctors, Brazilian Data. “What’s the global data journalism community tweeting about this week? Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from February 17 to 23 finds geographer Tim Wallace collecting some amusingly unusual maps, The Guardian analyzing the effect of Airbnb on home ownership in Great Britain, and former Ogilvy & Mather chief creative officer Tham Khai Meng sharing how a Japanese newspaper utilized augmented reality to animate graphics.”

Techdirt: Federal Agencies Are Still Abusing Their Favorite, Super-Vague FOIA Exemption Thousands Of Times A Year

Techdirt: Federal Agencies Are Still Abusing Their Favorite, Super-Vague FOIA Exemption Thousands Of Times A Year. “The Freedom of Information Act was supposed to result in, you know, the freedom of information. Obviously, not everything the government produces paperwork-wise can end up in the public’s hands, but far more should be turned over to the public than has been. Using a proprietary blend of stonewalling and excessive fee demands, countless government agencies have managed to keep public documents away from the public. It takes a lawyer to win FOIA lawsuits, which may be why corporations are getting their hands on far more documents than American citizens.”