SLA Conference 2004: More sessions

More sessions:

Since we are getting some response to session descriptions, here are a couple more I attended:

Legal research

Leanne Battle of LexisNexis talked about legal research for newsrooms. It’s a topic that news researchers need help with. Leanne’s talk laid it all out well. I hope her presentation goes online. I learned a couple things I didn’t know:

Martindale-Hubbell’s listings are purchased by the lawyers and law firms listed; that explains why some attorneys don’t show up there, and why we always need to check West too, even if the listings have less info.

Mealeys is a legal Web site I hadn’t heard of, with reports on recent litigation. You can search by state, type of suit, or just browse latest news.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to search a citation, Cornell’s citation page lists all the formats.

CAR in the newsroom:

Teresa Leonard talked about the News and Observer’s wonderful CARR fellowship program. Computer Assisted Reporting and Research has been integrated into the N&O;’s newsroom for years, and each reporter gets a chance at a fellowship to spend a few weeks learning it all from the research center’s crack training team. Wonderful example for all of us.

John Maines of the Sun-Sentinel talked about how well their setup works: although John is a reporter, his position in the research center gives him space to work on projects with everyone in the newsroom, without being tied to one desk.

Margot Williams of the Washington Post did a great job of breaking down the difference between computer assisted reporters and computer assisted researchers. She showed how compilations of names/dates in a spreadsheet, like the Iraq war dead and Guantanamo detainees, can end up being fodder for stories. Very interesting perspective.

Public Records access:

Useful discussion by Tom O’Hara of the Plain Dealer and Frank Gibson of the Tennessean about journalists’ right to public records access. It was good for researchers to get editors’ viewpoints on this, especially editors who have worked on state public records access audits (the one in Ohio included work by our own Jim Hunter). Although the eternal identity theft question came up, both editors reminded us that this usually comes from illegal activity, not the legal right to information access to public records.

So far I don’t see links to the presentations from these sessions, but hope they will be posted soon.

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