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Screener: Simplifying the Use of Company Data in Journalism

Screener Homepage "Tell Company Stories. Better"

At DW Innovation, we recently explored the use of company-related data in journalism, and how journalists can be supported in this area. As one of six business case partners in the EUBusinessGraph project, we developed the Screener Tool for journalists that is soon coming up for internal Beta release. A good reason to share some insights into our motivation and the key features of the tool.

Screener helps journalists tell company stories faster, easier and better – by making some aspects of their work easier: company research and fact-checking, news monitoring, and visual content creation. The way journalists work is changing. Support tools that provide data sources, templates and automation are beginning to play a role in journalistic workflows. They can help free-up valuable time and improve accuracy, quality or diversity of storytelling.

Why Screener?

Our wider motivation for developing the Screener Tool is related to three areas of journalism innovation: data-driven research, template-based creation and visual storytelling. We need solutions that reduce journalists’ pain points when it comes to

  • Researching across multiple, international open data sources
  • Publishing small visual content items in a given corporate design
  • Meeting the increased demand for visual storytelling.

It is becoming more common for journalists to use open data sources for research and fact-checking: Besides government websites there are a number of searchable databases and open data portals. They are run by investigative media divisions, civic groups, non-profit organisations or commercial data providers. Developments in the data economy led to an expansion of these sources, including scope, quality and cross-country integration. Template based content publishing is also on the rise, with more and more support tools becoming available. They make it more feasible for general journalists to create small visual items in a given corporate design – even under time pressure. High quality, attractive visuals are also important for any type of journalistic output: Not only for data stories, but also news articles, social posts or explainer videos. Due to the high demand in this area, we also see new types of tools for producing digital visuals quickly and easily.

It was our objective for Screener to bring solutions for these aspects together in one tool, with a focus on open company data sources and business journalism.

How does it work?

The Screener Tool is a web-based application, designed to fit workflows and requirements of factual content and business journalists. Screener can be primarily used for company specific research and information monitoring, but also for the production of data-related visual content items, ready for publication online and in social media. Via application programming interfaces (APIs), the Screener application provides access to company related data from

In addition, there are links to other business data sources for journalists and selected data tools. The tool aims to improve company and business-related storytelling by providing novel insights, reducing the time taken to conduct tedious research and offering multilingual data access.

At this stage, Screener focuses on business journalism, company information, specific associated company registration and news databases and visual company information boxes that can be produced semi-automatically, on the basis of a corporate design template. In future the scope of the tool could be widened in order to integrate further open databases (APIs), provide multiple visual content formats and related visual identity templates.

What are key features for journalists?

Screener lets you…

…find company data, in this case about the company Unilever, across many datasets filtered by faceted search via euBusinessGraph:

Screenshot - integration of euBusinessGraph
…monitor news and set alerts which go directly into your mail inbox:

Screenshot - create E-Mail alerts
…easily create content, such as a Company Infobox in your corporate design to enrich publishing:

Screenshot of an Infobox

The tool covers three journalistic workflows…

  1. Finding and fact-checking data
  2. Monitoring news
  3. Creating Content

…and combines a lot of useful features in one interface:

  • Finding and fact-checking specific company related information in multiple, international company registration databases.
  • Finding news articles related to a company name in an international news database, including international multi-language results, source filter and article search collection.
  • Automatic receipt of articles related to a company name into the email inbox, based on the setting of specific “watch-alerts” for continued news monitoring.
  • Producing small visual content item in a given corporate design and ready for publication, e.g. a company information box based on company data from the database.
  • Providing direct links to a curated set of further international databases for journalistic research and tools for visual storytelling, data analysis and data visualisation.

Say goodbye to a plethora of open tabs!

If you have questions or suggestions regarding Screener, please get in contact with: kay.macquarrie@dw.com

Date

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

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