At DW Innovation we recently explored the use of company-related data in journalism and how journalists can be supported in this area. As one of six business case partners in the EUBusinessGraph project we developed the Screener Tool for journalists that is soon coming up for Beta release. A good reason to share some insights into our motivation and the key features of the tool.
Screener helps journalists to tell company stories faster, easier and better – by making some aspects of their work easier: company research and fact-checking, news monitoring and visual content creation. The way journalists work is changing. Support tools that provide data sources, templates and automation begin to play a role in journalistic workflows. They can help to free-up valuable time and improve accuracy, quality or diversity of storytelling.
Our wider motivation for developing the Screener Tool is related to three areas of journalism innovation: data-driven research, template-based creation and visual storytelling. We need solutions that reduce journalists’ pain points when it comes to
- Research across multiple, international open data sources
- Publishing small visual content items in a given corporate design
- Meeting the increased demand for visual storytelling.
It is becoming more common for journalists to use open data sources for research and fact-checking: Besides government websites there are a number of searchable databases and open data portals. They are run by investigative media divisions, civic groups, non-profit organisations or commercial data providers. Developments in the data economy led to an expansion of these sources, including scope, quality and cross-country integration. Template based content publishing is also on the rise, with more and more support tools becoming available. They make it more feasible for general journalists to create small visual items in a given corporate design – even under time pressure. High quality, attractive visuals are also important for any type of journalistic output: Not only for data stories, but also news articles, social posts or explainer videos. Due to the high demand in this area, we also see new types of tools for producing digital visuals quickly and easily.
It was our objective for Screener to bring solutions for these aspects together in one tool, with a focus on open company data sources and business journalism.
What is Screener?
The Screener Tool is a web-based application, designed to fit workflows and requirements of factual content and business journalists. Screener can be primarily used for company specific research and information monitoring but also for the production of data-related visual content items, ready for publication online and in social media. Via application programming interfaces (APIs), the Screener application provides access to company related data from
- EventRegistry – Empowers companies to analyse current and past news content, using AI
- OpenCorporates – The largest open database of companies in the world with more than 169 million companies
- DW’s own news articles
- BusinessGraph Marketplace, a new linked data source developed in the EUBusinessGraph project.
In addition, there are links to other business data sources for journalists and selected data tools. The tool aims to improve company and business-related storytelling by providing novel insights, reducing the time taken to conduct tedious research and offering multilingual data access.
At this stage, Screener focuses on business journalism, company information, specific associated company registration and news databases and visual company information boxes that can be produced semi-automatically, on the basis of a corporate design template. In future the scope of the tool could be widened in order to integrate further open databases (APIs), provide multiple visual content formats and related visual identity templates.
What are key features for journalists?
The tool covers three journalistic workflows: 1. Find and Fact-Check Data, 2. Monitor News and 3. Create Content. It combines the features listed below within one interface, avoiding many different open tabs:
- Finding and fact-checking specific company related information in multiple, international company registration databases.
- Finding news articles related to a company name in an international news database, including international multi-language results, source filter and article search collection.
- Automatic receipt of articles related to a company name into the email inbox, based on the setting of specific “watch-alerts” for continued news monitoring.
- Producing small visual content item in a given corporate design and ready for publication, e.g. a company information box based on company data from the database.
- Providing direct links to a curated set of further international databases for journalistic research and tools for visual storytelling, data analysis and data visualisation.
The Screener tool is under development and direct web-access is by invitation only. If you have more questions, suggestions or you wish to become a Beta test user, please get in contact with: firstname.lastname@example.org