This week we see how satellite data can be used for storytelling, and we learn some ways that data reporting can improve breaking-news coverage.

PART 1: Storytelling with satellite images

The New York Times often incorporates satellite imagery into graphic presentations to tell far-flung stories in new ways. Graphics editor Derek Watkins explains how he and his colleagues gather and use these publicly available images.

Reporting by Katy Mersmann.

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PART 2: Data for breaking news

Analyzing databases is often reserved for lengthy investigations, but some news organizations are benefiting from using big data to inform breaking-news coverage. We get some tips from Stephen Stock, senior investigative reporter at NBC Bay Area; and Cheryl Phillips, Hearst Professional in Residence and data journalism lecturer at Stanford University.

Reporting by Tatiana Darie.

[To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

Resources useful during breaking news coverage:

  • Investigative Reporters and Editors maintains a library of databases specifically for use by journalists. The data sets are free to IRE members but also can be purchased individually.
  • is a free platform that allows users to locate pictures, videos and other multimedia elements around a particular location.
  • searches the Facebook public timeline without logging in. The site can be used to find victims, witnesses, neighbors, etc.
  • Banjo is a smartphone app that allows users to explore live events and breaking news through a collection of real-time posts from people around the world.
  • Capture offers publishers access to user material directly from social-media platforms and smartphone cameras.

Reuben Stern  
Director of NYC Partnerships

Rachel Wise  
Video Editor


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