Web Investigator 2014


    Open source intelligence gathering - using social networking sites as an investigative tool

    Room NAB 104 (first floor), New Academic Building, Goldsmiths, University of London
    15 November 2014

    This course is now fully booked. However, to register your interest in a future course, please fill in the online form.


    Murray Dick is a lecturer on multi-platform journalism. He was previously Information Officer at the CIJ and prior to this was a trainer in online research at the BBC.

    His reseearch interests concern the application of online tools in journalism, which spans; advanced online search and newsgathering, forensic online search, writing for the web, social media, multimedia, information design and management and SEO.

    Course Outline

    Advanced Online Search and People-Finding
    This workshop introduces various advanced and lesser-known search methods for finding people online. Find whistleblowers and experts in esoteric fields using a number of methods that can help both improve accuracy while saving time during lengthy investigations. Participants are introduced to the ‘hidden web’ and other subscription, free, and non-indexed sources (including directories and archives) that can help in advanced online search. Advanced search syntax is introduced and explored in terms of finding people. The application of various social applications are demonstrated and their application to the field of investigative journalism explored.

    Outcomes: Delegates will learn to an intermediary level how to use Google, Twitter and various third-party applications towards finding people, and establishing facts.

    Verifying Online Sources
    This workshop introduces advanced methods in how to verify the reliability of a range of online sources. Some examples concerning the ethics of social media practice will be explored, and a range of online sources and tools that can be used to help verify materials online, will be demonstrated.

    Outcomes: Delegates will learn methods, both editorial and technical, to help cope with difficult online reporting situations.

    Newsgathering Online
    This workshop will offer a practical look at aggregation, data mining (for static content), and filtration, as well as forward planning and reactive story-finding online. Some basic search theory will also be explored. In advance of this session, delegates are asked to have acquired Feedly (feedly.com) and Yahoo (yahoo.com) accounts.

    Outcomes: Delegates will learn how to apply a range of online newsgathering tools towards creating an online (and social media) ‘beat’.


    10:00-11:00 Advanced online search and people-finding online

    11:00-13:30 Newsgathering online

    13:30-14:00 Lunch

    14:00-15:30 Verifying online resources

    15:30-16:00 (and on if necessary) round-up and look at individual issues.

    16.00-16.30 Wrap up and Q&A