VTDigger uses Document Cloud for original source material

Filing cabinet. Some rights reserved by mightymightymatze via Flickr

Filing cabinet. Some rights reserved by mightymightymatze via Flickr

VTDigger has long embedded links to the original source materials we use as the basis for our news reports.

Until now, we haven’t had a way to offer these documents in a user friendly, more readily accessible format.

Thanks to a third-party hosting service called Document Cloud, developed by the Knight Foundation and Investigative Reporters and Editors, we have created an archive of primary source data and documents.

We have archived more than 400 documents so far, ranging from budget spreadsheets to Freeman French Freeman’s report on plans for the state office complex to data regarding mentally ill inmates in Vermont’s prison system.

If you spend time perusing our library, you’ll find lawsuits, memos, requests for proposals, spreadsheets and reports we’ve collected over the last two and a half years.

You can also search archives created by other news organizations, including the New York Times, Al-Jazeera, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and dozens more.

In this post, we have published a “project” of documents from the CVPS-Green Mountain Power merger, including the response from Gaz Metro to the Public Service Board’s questions, the CVPS proxy statement and transcripts of PSB hearing testimony from utility executives, state officials and expert witnesses.

Document Cloud enables us to highlight passages and make notes in texts so that you can easily find the key information we’ve used in stories.

Hope you check out this new service.






Follow Anne on Twitter @GallowayVTD

Comments

  1. walter carpenter :

    Wow, this is great. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Josh Fitzhugh :

    Another clear advantage of what online news media can offer that newspapers could not. Thanks for …digging.

    • Steven Farnham :

      I do not understand why you characterize this as an “advantage of what online news media can offer that newspapers could not,” because I do not understand that newspapers cannot list links to their source material. (Though the reader does have to find a computer, and manually type in the links to see them.) But I do understand that while newspapers may be able to provide such a thing, there are apparently none that do.

      Either way, I agree that including these links adds to the value of online journalism, and I too, thank Vermont Digger for doing it.

      Cheers.

  3. David Usher :

    Thanks, Digger, for this archive. Will it always be available to Digger readers at no cost? How is it paid for?

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for asking.
      Document Cloud is free for now. I don’t know what their plans are for supporting it financially in future.
      From the DC website:
      DocumentCloud is funded by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We were a 2009 winner of a Knight News Challenge grant. Our grant runs two years and we’ll be soon be seeking sustaining funding.
      Anne

  4. Josh Fitzhugh :

    Steve, having been a reporter in the “paper only” days, we agonized whether to devote pages of ink to the text of an important document, like a Supreme Court opinion. Remember when the NYT published the entire Pentagon Papers? Now of course linking to text or websites with texts is common, but it is a whole lot easier for the reader when it is done from on-line sources, whether those sources are web original (VT digger) or adjuncts to historical paper media (BFP, TA, NYT etc.)

  5. Bob Zeliff :

    This is a great resource.

    Thanks VtDigger

    reading parts of the testimony was interesting.

  6. THANK YOU Vermont Digger. This is a democracy-building tool.

    This sort of access to original documents will help citizens educate themselves about issues, so that we are not reduced to hearing only summarized representations from interested parties.

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