The improvements in data accessibility and technology allowed journalists to dive deeper into certain topics, and use various applications and programs to better process, analyze and present immense amounts of material. However, these new possibilities come with additional challenges related to skills and time required for the collection and processing of data. Due to this fact, this type of journalism is often referred to as investigative or data journalism.
The goal of a data journalist is not only describing and discussing the facts, but in addition identifying their root causes and often seeking possible solutions. Therefore, we can distinguish a few characteristics of investigative journalism:
- Seeks new information or exposes new circumstances by finding links between various types of information.
- Collects information from various sources and utilizes various methods and technologies to process it.
- Thoroughly studies topics of interest of the society.
- While studying a topic, an investigative journalist looks beyond individual responsibility and looks for systemic causes/problems, and processes what might have caused the particular violation.
- Uncovers hidden facts and obscurities through comprehensive study of the topic;
- Reports the complete context and facts, and explains their causes.
In recent years, multiple public portals and websites have been established through which public data on various public policy issues are published periodically. Additionally, based on official data and websites, civil society representatives have created several important platforms based on official data and websites, which ensure effective monitoring of public institutions and high officials.
This toolkit will discuss a few of the above-mentioned platforms and offer practical tips about what to focus on while collecting and examining information on these websites. The first part of the guidebook covers relevant information on collecting and processing data regarding public procurement. This part of followed by an overview of online resources and mechanisms for monitoring public funds.
The toolkit was prepared within the grant for Good Governance for Georgia (3G) project from the global philanthropic organization, Luminate. The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) is responsible for the content of this document. Views expressed in therein do not reflect the position of Luminate.
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