Tools for investigative journalists

Many could agree that the current speeding pace of journalism and quick turnaround of articles creates a bigger need for investigative journalism. But do today’s journalists have to investigate in the same way they did it in the past? The”Tools for investigative journalists” workshop at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia provided the audience with the latest investigative devices that reporters can use to produce the investigative journalism we need. 

The workshop led by Ezra Eeman, Head of Digital at the European Broadcasting Union and founder of Journalism Tools, presented a selection of the best tools and devices for this type of journalism and insights for a generation of online journalists. According to Eeman, journalists should “make a selection of 10 tools to do 80% of the work” and “dare to experiment in 20% of their work”. These are the most relevant tools Eeman proposed for journalistic investigations.

Tools to share work and knowledge:

  • Google Docs is a service that allows users to share and store files in the cloud.
  • Dropbox Paper is a collaborative document-editing service.
  • WorkFlowy is a notebook for lists.
  • Semaphor is an encrypted group chat and file sharing.
  • XMind is a mind mapping and brainstorming app.
  • Go Moodboard is a website with free moodboards for sharing designs, inspiration, and ideas.

Tools to track stories – monitor news and alerts:

  • Feedly is a news aggregator application.
  • Nuzzel is a news (shared by your friends and connections) aggregator.
  • Tweetdeck is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter accounts.
  • Mention is a social media and web monitoring tool.
  • Versionista is a tool to track changes for any Web page.

Tools to search:

  • Private Browsing is a privacy browser that protects your information and blocks some websites from tracking your search behaviour.
  • Startpage is a privacy browser that doesn’t reveal your IP address and doesn’t store your search history.
  • Tor is a free software that enables anonymous communication.

Tools to research people:

  • 360 Social Me is a media browser plugin to find all relevant personal and social information from somebody.
  • Graph Tips is an experimental Deep Facebook Research engine.
  • Mention Map is an interactive map of Twitter connections.
  • Followerwonk is a Twitter analytics tool that allows users to gather and analyse information on Twitter users.

Tools to research documents and information:

  • Document Cloud is a software that allows users to upload, analyse, annotate, collaborate on and publish primary source documents.
  • Overview is a software that allows users to display, create, and interpret data from a variety of sources.
  • is a software that allows users to extract web data and use it in different ways.
  • Open corporates is a website which shares data on corporate entities.
  • LittleSis is a free database of who-knows-who within business and government.
  • Investigative Dashboard is a website that allows users to get started on follow-the-money investigative techniques.

Tools to research locations:

  • Banjo is a website that allows users to organise the world’s social and digital signals by location, giving an unprecedented level of understanding of what’s happening anywhere in the world, in real time.
  • Newspaper Map is a free webapp that helps users to find the daily production of world’s online newspapers.
  • FlightAware is a global aviation software and data services company.
  • Marine Traffic displays near real-time positions of ships and yachts worldwide.

Tools to verification:  

  • Truly Media is a collaborative online platform to find, organise & verify UGC.
  • TinEye is a reverse image search engine.
  • Veracity is an app that allows users to reverse image search on any image.
  • Google Maps is a useful webapp to check and compare locations.

Tools to structure stories:  

  • Visual Investigative Scenarios is a data visualization platform designed to assist investigative journalists, activists and others in mapping complex business or crime networks.
  • CaseFile is a visual intelligence application that helps users to determine the relationships and real world links between hundreds of different types of information.
  • is a tool for collaborative network analysis.

Tools to protect privacy and security:

  • Hushed is a tool that allow users to create temporary anonymous phone numbers.
  • Mailvelope a free software that allows users to encrypt their emails.
  • Signal is an encrypted communications application for Android and iOS.