Journalist’s Toolbox: Addendum

Journalist’s Toolbox: Addendum

Beyond what we covered in the textbook chapters, there are many more websites and databases around the world to find data for news, business, sports and other stories. This collection will get you started.

Drones and AR/VR
If you’re pursuing these areas, you should first explore the ground-breaking work by Matt Waite with the at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For virtual reality, visit,,, a collection of VR journalism projects, led by USC Professor Robert Hernandez and his students.

Drone Journalism Lab Operations Manual
Produced by Matt Waite at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

CJR: The New Drone Rules: What Journalists Need to Know
August 2016 article going over new FAA rules.

Includes many resources on drone piloting, including legal issues.

NPPA: Drone Journalism Ethics Code

University of Wisconsin Center for Journalism Ethics: Drone Journalism
Download a full report on how newsrooms can build trust with audiences using drone journalism.

Global Investigative Journalists Network: Drone Journalism Resources

RCFP: Drone Journalism Begins Slow Take Off
A 2013 article about the early work in drone journalism.

RJI: Mobile Phone Apps to Help With Your Drone

Video: Drone Storytelling: Changing How We Capture the World
From the Reynolds Journalism Institute: Matthew Borowick shares his advice, methods and passion for drone storytelling.

Drone Registration Site
Global airspace intelligence. Get TFRs and more.

Drones and Privacy: What are My Rights?

Easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems, DJI quadcopters like the Phantom are the standard in consumer drone technology.

Use this site to study airspace classifications and restrictions for drones.

DJI: Drones on the Beat — The Future of Journalism

Some good drone management apps to use: DJI Go 4, KittyHawk, Airmap and DroneLogBook

VR, AR, Photogrammetry and 360 Journalism

Robert Hernandez VR Journalism Class
Syllabus for the ground-breaking course. Plenty of readings and helpful resources.

This Knight Lab tool from Northwestern University turns your collection of panoramic and VR-ready photos into a slideshow of navigable scenes, allowing you to create unique 360° narratives. A simple-to-use editor allows you to order your photos, add descriptions and add text.

Knight Lab: How to Use Photogrammetry for Journalism

Adobe Aero
Mobile app and desktop tool to create AR videos and experiences

ONA: Journalism 360
Partnership with ONA, Google News Initiative and the Knight Foundation. It’s a global network of storytellers accelerating the understanding and production of immersive journalism. Their mission is to help news organizations, journalists, technologists, content creators and journalism educators experiment with all forms of immersive storytelling, including but not limited to 360 video, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality.

ONA Journalism 360 Guide to Immersive Ethics
Created by Jayson Chesler and Theresa Poulson.

The Artificial Creativity Landscape
More than 180 AI tools in a downloadable PDF. Just click on the icons to find your next AI tool for creative and knowledge work.

ONA Journalism 360: A Guide to Photogrammetry Photography

ONA Journalism 360: A Guide to AR and XR in Journalism

ONA Ethics: Virtual Reality Journalism

PBS Frontline: Guide to VR Journalism Best Practices

Booz Allen Hamilton: Guide to Immersive Technology
A beginner’s guide to AR. Approach is from a marketing perspective but has some helpful resources for journalists. Download the guide for free.

Immersive Journalism
A look at 3D and immersive storytelling. Put the reader in control of the story. Some interesting concepts on this site.

GuriVR is a free, open source project created to allow anyone to make virtual reality experiences with the lowest possible learning curve. Guri provides a quick and easy online editor that creates virtual reality from your words.

NY Times in 3D: Reconstructing Journalistic Scenes in 3D

ONA: Guide to Photogrammetry Photography

ISOJ: How Photogrammetry, VR and AR Are Adding New Dimensions to Storytelling

Frontiers: Ethics Guidelines in Immersive Journalism

NPR Ethics Handbook: Visual Journalism

The Ethics of Virtual Reality Storytelling
Post by David Cohn from 2015.

An Ethical Reality Check for Virtual Reality Journalism
Post by Tom Kent from 2015.

How to Use Orbix 360 to Create 360-Degree Images

GuriVR is a free, open-source project created to allow anyone to make Virtual Reality experiences with the lowest possible learning curve. Guri provides a quick and easy online editor that creates virtual reality from your words. Guri even makes it possible to create a 360 panorama that works in the browser and with headsets like the Google Cardboard in seconds – just tweet a 360 panorama with a mention to @guri_vr.

Real news on virtual reality journalism.

Virtual Journalism: Immersive Approaches Pose New Questions
From the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

How to Make a VR Data Visualization

Tools for 360 Video


Productivity | Storytelling

NPR Hypothesis-Driven Design Guide for Editorial Projects

Find, create and share collections of new tools and apps.
Great tool for building a small database of links and resources

Create and publish web pages that collect tools and apps.

Simpler Story
Simpler Story is a no-code platform for data journalists, that lets anyone build a story with rich and interactive data visualizations, in minutes.
Tool for automating workflows. Good for autoposting social media.

Create a video from plain text in minutes. Good for creating a talking avatar

Nordis: Fact-Checking Tools Database
The database, which was conceived at a meeting during Global Fact 9 in Oslo, contains a list of tools connected to various parts of the fact-checking process, including the identification and verification of claims, as well as the distribution of fact-checks. 

Flashpoint: OSINT Tools Library

Artificial Intelligence in Local News: A Survey of US Newsrooms’ AI Readiness
Download a free .PDF of The Associated Press’ groundbreaking report that provides important insights into local news outlets’ understanding of artificial intelligence and their readiness to use AI to meet their journalism and business needs. The report is based on survey results from nearly 200 newsrooms across all 50 states.
A grassroots watchdog network connecting the dots between the world’s most powerful people and organizations.Its free database is a who-knows-who at the heights of business and government. Follow a candidate’s connections to lobbyists, PACs, donors, etc.

Dimensions of Difference Guide
From Trusting News and Spaceship Media, this downloadable guide is “designed to support your newsroom in creating better content by helping you to identify, understand and talk about your own differences internally.”

Chips App: Create Satellite Chips
An interactive web app for creating Landsat/other imagery chips for any location around the globe. The app was built using streamlit, geemap, and Google Earth Engine. The tool scrapes coordinates from a data file to grab available satellite pictures of your sites of interest. Just upload a KML or GeoJSON file.

Climate TRACE
Independent greenhouse gas emissions tracking. Explore the map and download the data.
Aims to be the biggest dictionary of campaign-finance jargon.
Practical data science tools for journalists.

Gist Mobile Search
Get quick cards of visual summaries with search stories. 

Caregiving Coverage Style Guide
Journalists should avoid “ageist” language that depicts older adults in offensive, dismissive, unflattering, or incorrect ways. These might be terms such as “frail,” “doddering,” or “over the hill.” The New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative, a coalition of universities and news partners in these two states, has developed this guide to help.

Labor Data Warehouse
Databases related to the US labor movement collected from government sources

Prison Newspaper Project Directory
A first-of-its-kind digital directory of operational prison publications that servse as a living document to catalogue prison reporting over time. A dedicated subsection of the project republishes standout articles from prison newspapers nationwide, most of which do not operate their own websites.

Create collections of full-page screenshots. It’s a paid web app but has a free version that allows up to 100 items maximum.
Create unlimited collections of bookmarks, files, PDFs, images, etc.

WeTransfer Collect
Create image and/or video collections by capturing online or by uploading. WeTransfer also helps you share large files with others without a server.
Create organized collections of articles, tools, or online resources.
Create and publish collections of articles from any source.


Create video collections of YouTube and Vimeo videos.

Create video collections of YouTube and Vimeo videos (directly playable)
Free version – allows collections with up to 1,000 items.

Organize and publish collections of videos from YouTube, Vimeo, etc.



Press Freedom Tracker: Incidents Database
A searchable and downloadable database from the US Press Freedom Tracker of attacks on journalists.

Our World in Data

Search for datasets in dozens of European countries

WHO: Global Health Observatory
Demographics, diseases, mortality, obesity, HIV/AIDS, immunization, tobacco control, by country by year.

International Monetary Fund: World Economic Outlook Data
A huge database of easily downloadable data on global financial stabilityStatista: Global Business and Data Platform
This paid site offers financial and COVID-19  insights and facts from more than 170 industries around the world. 

World Bank Open Data

Census: International Database
Population, growth rate, mortality, life expectancy and other measures for countries with at least 5,000 residents, from 1950 forward. Much of this information also can be found in Our World In Data.



An independent project to make data from the American Community Survey easier to use. It is unaffiliated with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Big Local News: Census Data
Stanford University’s Journalism and Democracy Initiative and collects local data to discover the regional or national patterns that will yield stories with impact.

Clery Center for Security on Campus
Campus crime data and compliance information.

US Dept. of Education: Campus Safety and Security
Download nationwide campus crime data.

National Center for Education Statistics Data Center
Nationwide data on colleges and universities.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Tracking Sexual Assault Investigations

Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool
Number of crimes, hate crimes, arrests, disciplinary actions and other safety date for each college, university and post-secondary program. Select “Download Data” and pick the most recent year.

Department of Education: Title IX investigations

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
Annual lists of incidents (with state ID); list of vaccines taken; list of symptoms

US Table of Overweight and Obesity (BMI)
Percentage of people by demographi in each state who are overweight or obese, by year, since 2011

National Inventory of Dams (US)
Data on dams on each state and nationwide

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid: Nursing Home Health and Fire Safety Inspections
Summary information for inspections in the last three years, including dates of the three most recent inspections and counts of citations

Nursing Home Penalties
Nursing homes nationwide that have been fined or denied payment over the past three years

CDC: County-Level Health Data
Percentage of people in each county with certain health problems (arthritis, cancer, asthma, etc.)  



Sports Reference
Audited stats for many US and international leagues.

Statista: Sports on US TV
Paid site. Top rated sports programs over the years.

The Intercollegiate: Division I-A Athletic Dept. FOIA Directory
Find the FOIA contact for college sports programs

Extra Points FOIA Directory
A collection of college athletics related open records (contracts, budgets etc), free for everybody, acquired via FOIA. Others can contribute as well

Journalist’s Toolbox Sports Data
A deep page of link to sports databases from around the world


SEC EDGAR Database
Look up quarterly and annual earnings reports and other data on publicly-traded companies. 

Violation Tracker
The first wide-ranging database on corporate misconduct. Produced by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First, it covers banking, consumer protection, false claims, environmental, wage and hour, safety, discrimination, price-fixing, and other cases resolved by federal regulatory agencies and all parts of the Justice Department since 2000 — plus cases from state AGs and selected state regulatory agencies.

Paid site lets you search Form 990s


ProPublica Non-Profit Explorer
Quickly search Form 990s for free.

Ranks charities and lists highest-paid execs, etc.

ProPublica: Dollars for Docs
Debunk those “faux experts” in medicine. Who is getting paid by the pharmaceutical companies and other corporations to endorse a medication or product?

ProPublica: Dollars for Profs
Debunk those “faux experts” by seeing who is receiving money from companies and non-profits.

FDA: Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts
Drugs and food (including pet food) recalled for health and other reasons. Search or download data since mid-2019

FDA: Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience Database (MAUDE)
Reports of adverse events involving medical devices (defibrillators, pacemakers, ventilators, etc.)

Safety alerts about medicines, biologics (blood), medical devices, cosmetics, food, etc.

Consumer Complaint Database
Complaints about credit cards, banks, loans, debt collectors. State and ZIP code of the complainant are listed but not the name.


Investigating Private Companies and Startups

Journalist’s Toolbox: Investigating Companies (Public and Private)
Track investments into startups, growing businesses, hedge funds, and private equity firms. They do this by sorting, filtering and extracting critical information from the hundreds of SEC filings (called “Form Ds”) filed each day. The site processes SEC filings on a real-time basis and often learns about new investments before newspapers and online publications. You can search for people, company names, specific industries, or focus on regions or cities.


Other Resources

Data for Editors
From Mary Jo Webster at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a series of slide decks, training videos and lessons to develop data editors. Targeted to assignment and managing editors who work with reporters on data-driven stories.

Create and publish music playlists based on Youtube and Soundcloud tracks

Build collections of documents, open-source content, etc.

Create document collections, libraries or bibliographies that can be publicly shared.