Where do investigative journalists go to dig up their dirt?

How do you rake through all the muck?

Alex Johnson, investigative reporter for msnbc.com, and Cheryl Phillips, Data Enterprise Editor at the Seattle Times gave us a guided tour through the vast jungle of data, telling us which plants are edible and which snakes may be poisonous (i.e. the FBI Uniform Crime Database only gives you the law enforcement side of the story).

This was the last installment of the Spring Continuing Ed series presented by the Society of Professional of Journalists – Western Washington, and it was definitely a diamond in the rough.

Alex and Cheryl are true professionals, and were very open about sharing the secrets they worked so hard to develop over the years.

In fact, Alex very kindly published his entire slideshow, it’s chock full of links that’ll get any gumshoe journalist through puberty overnight.
He also compiled a free reference dashboard that can serve as a great sidekick while you do research. (Seriously though, download the slideshow because there are wayyyy to many links to post here).

Besides the deluge of links to awesome databases, Cheryl and Alex showed off their Google-Fu and gave some tips on crawling like a ninja. (More …)