Digital detectives
Nov 3rd, 2005 by JTJ

those interested in the forensic process — and in this case, computer
forensics — be sure to check out this fine, fine piece of digital
detective work by Mark Russinovich, a computer security expert with
Sysinternals.  He
discovered evidence of a “rootkit” on his Windows PC.

We don't think journalists need to know how to DO this kind of
deep-diving probing, but  we should be aware that it is possible
and, broadly speaking, the methods if only to know the appropriate
search terms.

Through heroic forensic work,
he traced the code to First 4 Internet, a British provider of
copy-restriction technology that has a deal with Sony to put digital
rights management on its CDs. It turns out Russinovich was infected
with the software when he played the Sony BMG CD
Get Right With the Man by the Van Zant brothers.

Here's WIRED Magazine's take on the story, “The Cover-Up Is the Crime

And here's what Dan Gillmor had to say about it, with additional links.

We should be talking to — and learning from — each other
Nov 3rd, 2005 by JTJ

Another example of how journalists can learn from other disciplines comes to the surface in the form of an LA Press Club meeting Nov. 9.

Digging deep: What reporters can learn from and about private investigators,” is the topic, and the panel of speakers, though large, seems rich with potential.

Here at the IAJ we also value the well done blog, “PI News Link,” run by Tamara Thompson.  Check it out; enter it in your blog harvester.

What's behind the curtain? "Private Warriors"
Jul 7th, 2005 by JTJ

We're pleased that the PBS program “Frontline” is keeping up the good fight to produce important journalism.  And thanks to the Librarian's Index to the Internet for pointing us to:

Private Warriors

This Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Frontline program looks “at
private contractors servicing U.S. military supply lines, running U.S.
military bases, and protecting U.S. diplomats and generals” in Kuwait
and Iraq. Website features discussions of the appropriateness of
outsourcing, whether privatization saves taxpayer money, and the role
of contractors. Includes contractor profiles, interviews, a FAQ, video
of the program, and related links.

Subjects: Government contractors — United States | Public contracts — United States | Private security services | United States — Armed Forces — Management | New this week

Created by
je – last updated Jul 6, 2005

Be sure to drill down to the section, “Does Privatization Save Money.”  A nice example of a reporter asking the right questions.

Canadian information commissioner reflects on his seven years in the post. And it ain't good.
Jun 18th, 2005 by JTJ

Our fellow traveler Bill Dokosh in Canada tips us to this article in the Toronto Star, “Don't tell anything to anybody,”
discussing what the Canadian information commissioner learned after
seven years on the job.  The post is, essentially, responsible for
ensuring that Canadian citizens get access to government

a former Liberal cabinet minister, former opposition backbencher and
former lobbyist for a powerful national association, John Reid thought
he knew what he was getting into when he was named Canada's Information
Commissioner, seven years ago.  
   He was wrong, Reid now admits.
had no inkling that senior bureaucrats reached top-level decisions
verbally to avoid leaving a paper trail. He never expected to fight an
all-out court battle for access to something as innocuous as the Prime
Minister's daily schedule.    Most of all, he did not realize how
hard it was for ordinary Canadians to get scraps of ostensibly public
information, gathered on their behalf with their tax dollars


Journalism Students Reluctant to do the Heavy Lifting?
Jun 9th, 2005 by JTJ

Floyd J. McKay,
a journalism professor emeritus at Western
Washington University, and a regular contributor to the Seattle Times
editorial pages, suggests that today's journalism students lack the
right stuff to do difficult reporting.  In “
The hardscrabble roots of investigative journalism,” he says: “Journalism students, at least in my experience, are less interested in
hard-scrabble reporting and more interested in supporting roles.”

He also says:

“…The cost of uncovering a big story can be stupendous, often
involving lawyers and computer experts as well as reporters,
photographers and editors.

Most papers would rather spend the money on airplane tickets to
cover their region's NFL or NBA teams, or so entertainment writers can
make pilgrimages to Hollywood. These investments are more likely to
attract readers, which in turn attract advertising dollars. The
intensely bottom-line newspaper chains rarely appear on the honor roll,
but always appear at the top of the profit-margin charts.

More of these investigative awards are won through the use of
computer-assisted reporting, often involving the use of complex
databases. A prize-winning team typically includes at least one
journalist who specializes in this work, and often another who
specializes in displaying the product graphically.”

From the Center for Public Integrity: The Lobbying Industry
Apr 7th, 2005 by JTJ

Special Report
Shadowy lobbyists ignore rules and exploit connections

By Alex Knott

“WASHINGTON, April 7, 2005 —
Special interests and the lobbyists they employ have reported spending,
since 1998, a total of almost $13 billion to influence Congress, the
White House and more than 200 federal agencies. They've hired a couple
thousand former government officials to influence federal policy on
everything from abortion and adoption to taxation and welfare. And
they've filed—most of the time—thousands of pages of disclosure forms
with the Senate Office of Public Records and the House Clerk's Office….”

Initial published description of the RRAW-P process
Mar 2nd, 2005 by JTJ

It was in the early '90s, when JTJ began thinking about and researching
the process that results in the journalist's product.  It
eventually boiled down to the RRAW-P process:
Research–>Reporting–>Analysis–>Writing and finally
Publishing/Producing/Packaging.  The attached paper first appeared
in the Social Science Computer Review in 1994.

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