Looking forward to the future of journalism

Web tools and apps to track weather emergencies in Texas

Storm clouds at Woodlawn Lake in San Antonio, Texas

Texas weather can be wild and dangerous, as Hurricane Harvey is showing us this week, so here are some techniques that have helped me track the impact of storms, floods and other natural disasters in San Antonio and other parts of the state: Weather forecasts and warnings The National Weather Service provides so much useful … Read more

A handy tool for journalists: Stabilize your shaky smartphone videos with Google’s photo app

Screen Grab of Google Video

Google quietly unveiled a new video stabilization feature in its Google Photos app a few months ago and it’s amazing. I discovered the usefulness of this feature when I edited video clips of our epic annual family road trip to Colorado. In between time-lapse videos of the drive, I added highlights of the main stops … Read more

How to transcribe with Trint: An interview with CEO Jeff Kofman

Trint

Buried in my desk drawer is a scratched-up relic — a mini-cassette recorder that I used all the time as a young reporter to transcribe interviews. Now it looks like a discovery at an archaeological dig compared to my high-tech smart phone, which lets me record interviews for hours and share files instantly. But even … Read more

What’s Evernote for? How about making a vast, searchable archive of all your files

Evernote

Evernote turns eight years old this week. But even after all these years, some people have trouble grasping what, exactly, this mystical app is supposed to do. Is it for taking notes? Saving bookmarks? Taking photos? All of the above? Everyone’s needs are different. But for me, Evernote really shines as a vast, searchable archive … Read more

Police reports about people who die in custody are late, missing in Texas

Texas Custodial Death Report

With so many controversial deadly force incidents in the news that raise questions about police tactics, wouldn’t it be great to have a reliable system in place to keep track of lethal police encounters to get a handle on how often they happen? The good news is, there’s a statewide system in Texas to track … Read more

New search tips for 2014 from Google research scientist Daniel Russell

I couldn’t attend the 2014 Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in San Francisco this year. But thankfully, Google researcher Daniel Russell was there. He gave another excellent presentation about search-engine strategies and posted his advice online. As the Uber Tech Lead at Google, Dan studies how people search the web. He started sharing little-known search … Read more

How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques

Dan Russell, Google

Daniel Russell stood in front of a crowd of investigative journalists in Boston last week and showed us this picture of a random skyscraper in an unknown city: Russell posed a riddle: What’s the phone number of the office where this picture was snapped? Let that sink in. He wasn’t asking for a phone number … Read more