Google Hosts First "TechRaking" Conference for Investigative Journalists

IT Management

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Google and the Center for Investigative Reporting are hosting a conference today at Google headquarters dubbed "TechRaking" 2012. The conference was meant to "inspire muckraking by exploring tools that help reporters tell stories with greater interactivity, opportunities for long-form journalism to thrive in new mediums, best practices for verifying information and fact-checking online, and much more..." according to a post on the official Google blog.

The Center for Investigative Reporting summarizes its view of the conference on its site:

Investigative reporting will always be a necessity in society. As we move into the future, technology and muckraking will be intertwined. Reporters will need to know how technology can help their reporting and the presentation of their work to the public. Technologists will will need to understand the art of storytelling in the public interest. Our fates are joined.

Problems and opportunities abound in this space. We believe that through communication and mutual education, we can form a more perfect union between these two crafts.

The invite-only conference has a day-long schedule, featuring talks from journalists and engineers. Events at the conference can be followed on the Center For Investigative Reporting's Google+ page. An early panel discussion took place with California Watch, the Los Angeles Times, and Bradford Cross, co-founder of FlightCaster. Seminars were held on topics as diverse as using "Hackerspace," global entrepreneurship, experimental filmmaking, and "Tacogate."

One of the highlights of the conference was a Google+ Hangout featuring journalists from around the world. Guests in the Hangout included Sree Sreenivasan, Dean of Student Affairs for Columbia's Journalism School; Amna Nawaz, NBC News' Pakistan bureau chief; Nic Robertson, CNN International senior correspondent; Sarah Hill, news anchor for an NBC affiliate in the midwest; and Krishna Bharat, founder of Google News.

I don't know what Google or the Center for Investigative Reporting hope will come from the conference, but I'm glad it's happening. Journalism, whatever we take it to be, is changing faster than any business model can keep up with. And with reporting and data-gathering happening nearly as fast (or faster) than news can be read, technology will be required to help parse the never-ending stream of information.