Reporter Tools

The following guides and reporting tools are resources for professional and citizen journalists. Reporting guides written by investigative reporters offer tips for interviewing, finding and using data, and covering specific beats. Tech tutorials offer step-by-step guides for creating multimedia journalism—audio, video, and web reporting.

Find more discussion on tips and techniques in our CIR Labs blog.

Reporting Guides

  • Journalist Security Guide

    "This guide details what journalists need to know in a new and changing world. It is aimed at local and international journalists of varied levels of experience. The guide outlines basic preparedness for new journalists taking on their first assignments around the world, offers refresher information for mid-career journalists returning to the field, and provides advice on complex issues such as digital security and threat assessment for journalists of all experience levels." - Committee to Protect Journalists

  • Gun Reporting Methodology

    This gun reporting methodology stems from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s investigation into one of the largest gun-theft cases in United States’ history. That research resulted in “Hot Guns,” a 1997 Emmy award- winning public television documentary on stolen handguns, starts with the story of a gun used to kill an innocent woman, a gun that the manufacturer said didn’t exist. The investigation traced the gun through a world of corporate neglect and criminal greed to a black market gun ring and ultimately to a massive gun theft.

  • Court records

    Check your county’s superior court periodically to find lawsuits against your university or court records for university leaders. Some courts keep records online; others require an in-person visit. To check on federal lawsuits, which include employment discrimination cases and bankruptcy filings, set up a free account on PACER to access a database of federal court records. Document downloads cost $0.08 per page.

  • E-Tools from the Exposé Reporters

    Reporting guides written by seasoned investigative reporters offer helpful tips for conducting interviews and using data.

  • Raising Hell: A Citizens Guide to the Fine Art of Investigation

    This guide is an introduction to how and where you can use libraries and public records for facts about individuals, government, corporations and ownership of property. You will want to check many other records, books, publications and people not mentioned here. They are all ballast to balance the secrecy of power with the public’s right to know the truth.

Tech Tools

  • J-Learning: Your How-to Site for Community Journalism

    This comprehensive, step-by-step tutorial guides the aspiring community or citizen journalist through the process of making their voice heard on the internet. From planning and building a website, to using multimedia to tell your story and then promoting it: this is a great starting point for DIY reporting.

  • Knight Digital Media Center Tutorials

    The motherlode for learning how to use specific equipment, software and skills. There are categories for video, audio, photography, web design, Flash, reporting and mash-ups, with practical tips for beginners to pros.