Scanning articles with Poligraft seems to be huge time saver for investigative reporting

14 Mar

After experimenting with the media tool Poligraft, it seems that it does have use for investigative reporting.

Poligraft allows you to input a URL for a news story, and then it scans the article for political connections mentioned and gives a sidebar analysis of the links between the highlighted political topics. But the issue I found was that, just like with most searches, a lot of the links and connections it found seemed irrelevant.

But that doesn’t mean Poligraft is useless. What seem to be irrelevant links in one article could be analyzed to make a set of new connections that could begin a  fresh story. And because Poligraft does make all possible connections, there doesn’t seem to be any useful information left out.

Mostly, Poligraft seems to be a pretty good time-saving tool. Sorting through the information it presents is much less time consuming than sorting through public records to find campaign and contribution information.

The article I used to experiment with Poligraft was about the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday. The analysis Poligraft produced included all the candidates involved in the article and included contributions from Harvard and CBS, both of which were mentioned in the article, but it also displayed contributions from Norfolk Southern, which is a company not mentioned in the article. “Southern” was used to describe the area being talked about, but Poligraft used it to find Norfolk Southern.

With so many media tools available to journalists, it’s important to experiment with them and learn which are best for what situations and the extent to which they’ll help. With that information, technology is a huge time-saver.

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