The RAND Voices of Jihad Database “is a compilation of speeches, interviews, statements, and publications of jihadist leaders, foot soldiers, and sympathizers. Nearly all content is in English translation, and has been collected from publicly-accessible websites. Original links are provided, along with excerpts and full-text content when available.”
“The State and Metropolitan Area Data Book features more than 1,500 data items for the United States and individual states, counties and metropolitan areas from a variety of sources.” This latest edition of the book includes data on population, housing, cost of living, personal income, new businesses, bankruptcies, agriculture, natural resources, construction, finance, transportation, government employment and more. And you can download Excel files of the data.
Electionline.org gives a rundown of the voting systems used in each state, including the manufacturer and links to more information. Given recent history, from the 2000 presidential election to electronic voting machine foulups, this list could prove even important after election day. Another page outlines which states have statewide voter registration databases, a requirement of the 2002 Help America Vote Act.
p>Slate’s Jack Shafer took journalists’ self-regard and moaning about job cuts to task last week:
The idea that a newsroom should employ X hundred staffers because it has traditionally employed X hundred staffers ignores the changes technology has made in the news market. For instance, Tribune critics denounce it for cutting the foreign bureaus at the Baltimore Sun and Newsday, which it owns. But should every metropolitan newspaper keep its Moscow or Jerusalem bureaus when readers can click to Web coverage from the New York Times and the international press, especially when many of those papers are losing circulation? Something’s got to give.
Likewise, journalists don’t want you to know this, but thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to hunt down a story, capture it, and bring it back to the presses for printing. A middle-school student sitting at a Web terminal has more raw reportorial power at his fingertips than the best reporter working at the New York Times had in, say, 1975. The teenager can’t command an undersecretary of defense to return his phone call as the Times guy can, but thanks to Google he can harvest news stories and background information that would take the 1975 model journalist days to collect.
The young amateur can also tap hundreds of free databases serving up scientific, legislative, regulatory, and business information in an afternoon that a team of 1975 reporters couldn’t assemble in a week. Give him access to JSTOR, PubMed, Edgar, Nexis, Factiva, and other important sites and he’ll write three stories in the time the ’70s veteran reports one. Naturally, the kid might not have as good an idea of what to do with the information he’s collected, but you get my point: Technology has made today’s reporter more productive and more accurate than his forebears. So, if the Los Angeles Times peaked at 1,200 reporters and it’s down to about 940 now and Tribune wants to cut it further, it’s hardly proof that the corporate meanies are defunding the newsroom.
He also wrote a followup:
However appalling newsroom downsizing may be for journalists, it will ultimately reveal what the people who run and own newspapers really think their publications are for. Scratch a serious reporter, and he’ll offer volumes about the “public service” his newspaper performs in the form of investigations: It watchdogs government. It keeps corporations honest. It uncovers the dastardly deeds of foreign dictators and prevents genocide. It exposes quacks and charlatans. (It turns the common man into a Socrates if he reads the editorials!)
Newspaper people have enormous egos, if you get my drift, and don’t mind massaging the big hairy things in public. Yet the press is hardly the sentry and bulwark of society that reporters imagine it to be. I don’t mean to disparage reporters who put their lives on the line to file from Iraq, nor the sleuths who sift through databases to uncover wrongdoing by pharmaceutical companies, or any other enterprising reporter. But too many journalists who wave the investigative banner merely act as the conduit for other people’s probing …
It’s interesting to me that his articles didn’t generate a peep of comment on the primary discussion groups for investigative reporters: IRE-L or IREPLUS-L.
Google is meeting with federal agencies so they will make their information more easily available to its search engine, GovExec.com reported. The article quotes J.L. Needham, a strategic partner development manager at Google: “As much as 40 percent of the content on agency Web sites is invisible to Google’s crawlers, Needham said. This means that for a majority of Internet users who do not know how to look beyond a search engine site, that information is effectively invisible.”
A post on a journalism mailing list called Ms. Dewey the “future of search engines.” You’ll need sound to appreciate it, and when you get there, try typing “mainstream media” without the quotes. Or don’t type anything at all, and see what happens.
Newspaper reporting is often like this:
The Academic Blog Portal is a directory of academic blogs. It’s a wiki, so anyone can contribute a listing.