Computer Assisted Reporting

As is usually the way in the UK, we catch on to something the US has been doing a good 50 years after they started doing it.

Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR) has been around in The States since 1952, delivering raw information on local communities and making it searchable to others. CAR is a way of communicating data effectively and was originally developed from journalists using tools like databases and spreadsheets. It gets others involved in what you’re doing, while inadvertently helping you to cut down your workload. Instead of being the lowly intern who has to weed through 458,832 pages of MPs’ expenses, by using CAR other people can gain access to the material and you can sift through it together.

Freedom of Information Act requests make documents available to the public and can form the backbone of a great story. Data like restaurant inspections and police league tables show the public what is going on and local people can see how their community is performing compared with neighbouring ones. It’s a great way of getting the community involved.

By using a new tool we can revert back to the meaning of old journalism – getting information to the masses.

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