Your Thoughts Matter


According to Poynter's Al Tompkins, every journalist should develop an “online state of mind.” It is not enough to know where to find information, you must also set high standards for only using information from reliable sources, and quotable sites:

· What are your standards for using material you find on the Web?
· How do you advocate for training your staff to learn how to use the Internet?
· How could you encourage “internal experts” on your staff to teach others?
· How do you reward people who are willing to share their best information, sources, and sites?
· How easy is it for journalists in your organization to access the Web?
· How easy is it to capture and use information you find (especially for television)?
· How do you manage up your bosses who most likely do not know as much as you (or your staff) about using online resources?

One of the best ways to,
a) teach others to use the net
b) manage up, is by using this resource daily, hourly to improve your journalism.

The following are some useful tools.

World Resources

Search for TV stations, radio, newspapers, government contacts in countries around the world:

World Factbook:

World Net Daily

World News from

Middle East Search Engines:


World Search Engines by Region:

Search Engines-broken down into 8 types:
News Search Engines:…

Translation tool:

Translate Text:

Translator in many languages

Translator English to Arabic/Arabic to English

Arab News in English

Internet Radio Stations Worldwide:

Terrorism and WTC/Pentagon Attacks

Southeast Asian Journalists Assoc:

Gov’t and Military Contacts including State Department, Embassies worldwide, Forts and Military bases:

Military unit size-terms:

What is Taliban and who is Bin Laden:

Making a War Plan for Your Newsroom:

Planning for a trip to Pakistan? A How to:

Worldwide Weather:

Prepare for Bomb Threats:

Telling Victims Stories:

Guidelines for Telling Victim Stories

Accuracy and Arabs

Embassies Worldwide –

Worldwide Government Links

World Gov’t on the Web;

Worldwide Phone Directories:

American and World Gov’t Databases:

Useful Search Tools for Journalists - one of the best journalism sites on the web. is a fast and easy to load site that summarizes the leading headlines for hundreds of newspapers and online news sites around the world.

RefDesk-Al’s Current Favorite all purpose site:

WayBack The Internet Archive Wayback Machine puts the history of the World Wide Web at your fingertips.The Archive 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present.

Search 5,000 news websites for stories by topic:

Newshub a news search engine

Here is a State by State list and links to every newspaper in the country that is online:

Look at information on any publicly traded company by using 10K Wizard. Also, a great place to learn about executive compensation, lawsuits and inside trading since all of that is disclosed in SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) documents.

CBS News’ Disaster Page fast links to resources ranging from storms, earthquakes and airline disasters

This is the largest collection of public records and databases. More than 5,000 databases searchable by state:

Finding People/Businesses Fast

Quick and easy general guides:

InfoSpace (

WhoWhere (

Internet Address Finder (

Yahoo! People (

MESA, MetaEmailSearchAgent (

Usenet Address Finder (

Free Email Address Directory (

Addresses (snail mail and e-mail):

Find a person or business:

Zip Code lookup and address information

List of US Naval ships mailing addresses from the US Navy


Internet Address Finder – E-mail Directory

area code listing, by number

Privacy: What information about you is on the net

Easy to find state and national links to over 1,600 searchable public records databases Who owns your state lawmakers, what conflicts do state lawmakers have with the legislation they are considering or agencies they regulate?

Pay Sites to get Private Information
Computer Spy tracks every keystroke on your computer

Tracking Government

State and local governments:

Data on every county in America:

State facts-updated constantly:

See a state by state map to check the actual filings lawmakers must file to disclose a conflict of interest. Many states require net worth statements too.

The 50-state project by the Center for Public Integrity, a watchdog group: A two-year investigation found startling conflicts of interest and other
flaws in the system of state government, affecting policy decisions on everything from education to nuclear waste, taxes to health care

The Entire U.S. Code:

May We Tape? A listing of laws about how and when it is legal for you to tape a phone conversation or an undercover conversation from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Juvenile Court laws-a state by state guide:

What are your rights as a reporter to get into public places and/or private places

Calculators and Tools

Cost of Living Calculator. Uses the Consumer Price Index and is useful in comparing budgets, income, spending from one year to another.

Online Conversion – tons of other calculators

Everything from distance to weights and measurements wind chill.
Try this site for calculating percentages- (what is _% of __.)

More help figuring percentages.

How much do people earn in their jobs?

Automatically converts numbers to Roman Numerals

Driving distance between two cities calculator:

Calculate blood alcohol levels. All you need is weight of person, how long they drank and how many drinks they consumed. Plug them in:

How old is somebody in dog years?

Is that person dead? A place to look. They also list names of people who have been reported to be dead, but are ALIVE

Find a grave site (2.8million listed)

Biographies of famous people. This dictionary covers more than 28,000 notable men and women who have shaped our world from ancient times to the present day.

Search crime stats by state (clickable map) county or even zip code. This is a powerful tool.

The best national crime stats page I know of: it is a great place to find campus crime stats, crime rates, historic data and national links.

Other Crime Stats direct from the gov’t. Everything from Hate Crimes to Most Wanted from FBI.

Sex Offender registry-for every state- click a state from the national map

Inmate finder many states list inmates and some, like Florida post inmate pictures and release dates. Search by state, name, alias.

Prison locators-death penalty laws links to every state correction department and shows you where prisons are located.

Federal Prisoner Search to 1982:

National Criminal Justice Reference Service searches 1,500 publications.

Most Wanted

U.S. Customs

Secret Service

by the U.S. Government

PoliceFind-a huge collection of cop links:

Who Owns What Website? Try

If you need to find a personal web page or an email this one is about the best.

Unravel IP addresses, host or name servers to figure out who is writing or hosting what. This is a one-stop shopping center.

Another all purpose website search tool if you have a website name and need to know who runs it. Also, useful if all you have is an ISP number, can trace backward to identify the user. Very useful in decoding who is posting to a listserv or bulletin board.

2000 Statistical Abstract-including state rankings on everything from infant mortality to average pay to number of physicians per population:

2000 City Rankings from Statistical Abstract

Covering the Census – a guide.
Finally, the Bureau will be releasing the “long form” data that comes from the questionnaire filled out by a sample of about one of every six households. This data covers all the census questions, allowing you to pursue a wide range of topics including income, education, immigration, workplace, commuting, and a variety of housing questions.

How Does a State rank on percent of children living in poverty, percentage of people on food stamps, or crime rate change over 10 years? This site uses government data, which it footnotes very well. Also includes a couple of hundred metro areas.

Kids Count-from the Casey Fund for Children. It is an annual ranking by state including maps.

Practically every High School in America

Does it say that in the Bible? Bible Gateway searches the Bible in 6 translations. You type in verse or type in keywords and it finds the verse. Very easy to use.
Especially useful when politicians or protestors try to quote from the Bible.

Denominational listings of major religions.

Disaster Finder – a Who’s Who of disaster resources, from comets that could hit the earth to how to deal with animals when you have a big fire, earthquake or hurricane. Great site.

Real Time Flight Tracking – see where an airplane is during flight. A remarkable mapping system that is great when you have to meet someone at an airport.,2096,1-1,00.shtml

The Exact Time-live

Who Makes What? Industrial Index:

Find Manufacturers by category:

25,000 Expert Witnesses who have testified:

Junk Science and Hoax Busters

Archeological Hoaxes:

Celebrity Myths:

Computer Virus Hoaxes: Learn about computer virus myths, hoaxes, urban legends, hysteria, and the implications if you believe in them. You can also search a list of computer virus hoaxes from A to Z.

Don’t Spread That Hoax:

Famous Hoaxes:

Health Hoax:…

Hoaxes and Scares:

Hoax Warnings:

Junk Science:

Myths and Legends:

Science Myths:

Skeptic’s Dictionary:

Urban Legends:


Urban Myths:

Viruses, Worms and Trojan Horses:

Everyday Tools for Journalists

I don’t know how to get to the scene of a breaking story-go to, type in the unknown address, click GET MAP, then click DRIVING DIRECTIONS (type in where you are i.e. your TV station) and the site will spit out how to get to where you want to go.

Something is going on, you don’t know what it is, but need to find out fast-go to which is a people finding resource. Look under the “white pages section” and click on REVERSE LOOKUP, scroll down to the address section and fill in the address you heard over the scanner, where all of the action is. Click the Find button. The search will spit out who lives at that address…but maybe you should not call there right now…Hit the “Back” button and to REVERSE LOOKUP…this time don’t type the house number, type in the street and city and state. The engine will send you all of the neighbors who live near the house where all of the action is.

A Database search Motherload-

A plane crashed in my area-I need information-quick-go to it helps to identify problems with airlines and with individual planes. This powerful site will give you pilot backgrounds, aircraft safety records, specific maintenance records of planes (if you have a tail number) and tons of other details. Get familiar with this one-you will use it. is a helpful site too. Also, try this site-

Here is a Poynter site that will help you learn how to investigate a plane crash on deadline. This site is a minute by minute log of how we investigated that crash.
5) Who is Dying from what-The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality weekly report-

This is the place where reporters first learned of the AIDS virus.

Charity Check-you need to know where all the money is going-every charity that takes in $25K has to file an I-990 form. They are the motherload of information and they are open for your inspection. Go to your local charitable solicitations board, your secretary of state or, now, online to see these forms. A great new site has thousands of these forms on file. They are constantly being updated and soon will include millions of I-990 forms.Also try this one from the BBB:

Great toolboxes for journalists – and, (excellent), and (my favorite) Duff Wilson’s site Sites are one-stop shops for news. Duff’s site includes people finding engines.

The single best place for great Reporters and Editors site-many free and extremely low cost government databases that have already been cleaned up.

“whatdoyahaveformetoday?” Here are some great places to find news and keep producers and bosses happy. is the Consumer Product Safety Commission and this is the site where they list all of the newest recalls. This is ideal for consumer reporters. is a newsgroup that alerts you to the latest scientific studies often days before they hit the wires. Often, the stories are medical in nature. The site offers phone numbers and graphics.

State rankings on everything from crime rates, population, average pay, teacher pay, infant mortality. From census Also, try Stately Knowledge which provides essential state facts and direct links to state pages:

If you need to find a web page that has been taken off line. It might have been a screwup or something big has happened and the site does not want to be found. try–click “cached” to find pages indexed-including pages that have been removed from their website.

Ask Jeeves – find answers to reference questions-uses real language such as “who is Edward R. Murrow?” and it will spit out some sites that will tell you the answer. A good starting point, but not as inclusive as many other sites. Contains the answers to 150 million questions.

I have to interview someone and need a bio fast- is the place to start, then, for safety, check and for general references and to see if the person has a website, then Altavista will double check to see if that person has been in the news.

Who is influencing my Congressman? run by the federal election commission. You can search individual contributors, individual candidates or races. The actual disclosure forms are available online. tracks PAC contributions by race, which helps to understand which special interest groups influence whom. In politics, follow the money.

How to find people if all you have are names? Many great search engines require only a last name and will search multi-million name databases to help you find the person. Here are four good engines-each one a little different. of an interesting site specifically for finding old friends in school-good if you are trying to background a person. search base-also can background companies and find people by e-mail or find e-mail of people you know. to above-but a little larger database. pay site-from $20 to $60 per search depending on the depth of the search.

Drug and Disease lookup-type in a drug and this site will give you the generic name/treatment/side effects. Type in a disease and this site will tell you about it.

Kids Health issues -updated daily- excellent and easy to use:
Also, Mayo Clinic has a daily health update with front-edge stories and trends:

I need an expert NOW- 11,000 experts and professors listed by areas of expertise, emails and phone numbers. These experts WANT to help that is why they signed up to be on profnet.

Snapshots and interesting trends-emailed straight to you-

Translate almost any language into almost any other language. If you are trying to read a Spanish language page in English, for example, try this.
also -nonprofit/non-partisan site-crunches Federal Election commission figures to show you who is giving and receiving what from whom. Put in your zip code and find out who is donating to the presidential campaign. -a nonprofit/non-partisan group- details how congressmen vote on bills and issues. Now they are tracking platform positions taken by candidates on state and federal levels. You can also track legislation-extremely useful site.

More than 200 tip sheets on everything from ethics to leadership to writing from The Poynter Institute

Need to Know something about a country fast? Visit the Library of Congress Country Studies at

Find any physician in the United States from AMA.

Supreme Court rulings and briefs-by searchable index-

You have the name of a website but you want to know who owns/runs it. Go to

Iping Cool tool-will call you and remind you of appointments, wakeup calls, will give you a wakeup call and read you news headlines. You program it.

What is everybody else looking at on the web? you can watch what key words other people are putting in-live. Refreshes every 15 seconds. Includes a filtered and unfiltered version. Choose carefully, the unfiltered version is no-holds-barred and gets pretty weird. you are starting from scratch on a subject and need to find out about it fast, this is a great way to start.

Great Online Directories, Resources and References

How stuff works if you need to know how a jet engine works, how people get diabetes, how landmines work, how people pick locks, this is the place. Enter in a key word and find it

This is not the Associated Press style-book, but it is a cheap substitute

Need help on a grammar question? Strunk’s Elements of Style is online

Who said that? Bartlett’s familiar quotations-look them up by key word. Familiar Quotations A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature

Which bone is connected to which? Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body features 1,247 vibrant engravings-many in color-from the classic 1918 publication

Search Shakespeare The 1914 Oxford edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare ranks among the most authoritative published this century. The 37 plays, 154 sonnets and miscellaneous verse constitute the literary cornerstone of Western civilization. Search by word, phrase or character

The World Fact-book Brought to you by the CIA-this is the U.S. government’s complete geographical handbook, featuring 267 full-color maps and flags of all nations. Each country profile tracks such demographics as population, ethnicity and literacy rates, as well as political, geographical and economic data. – Entire Encyclopaedia Britannica, free, all 32 volumes. Also, more than 70 newspapers and a directory of Web links, evaluated by Britannica editors.

Direct Search by Gary Price/George Washington University -
· state, county and local government databases
· campus crime stats from US Education Dept.
· federal list of research projects that are using tax dollars
· list of NIH is funding for medical research
· Price’s List of Lists includes – richest, most powerful, best run companies, census releases, law firms, court settlements, what pro sports teams are worth and hundreds more.

Spanish/Latino website QuePasa in English and Spanish,1490,1-2-105,00.html

· Newspaper archives from Special Library Association. Search newspapers by state. Some of the archives are subscriptions, some are free.
Meta Search Engines-search more than one engine at a time.

· The CIIR GovBot has gathered 1,594,012 web pages from U.S. Government and Military sites around the country. From the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval at the University of Massachusetts.

· Government search of government (fed) websites via Google.

· A fantastic search engine to find pictures and sounds via Lycos network. This is my favorite place to go to find pictures of stuff.

· Use 17 search engines at one time- By doing this, you hit big chunks of the web you might not get if you only use one or two engines.