ICFJ Knight Fellow Challenge: Steal My Tool!

Aug 162016

Known as media innovators, ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellows are creating tools and services that they are eager to share worldwide. They range from Aleph, software that searches large datasets for the names of people and companies, to Salama, an app that assesses a reporter’s risk and recommends ways to stay safe. And if you’re looking for outstanding investigative reporters working internationally, have they got the connections for you!

A group of Knight Fellows will showcase their innovations at a special event at the Online News Association annual conference in Denver, Sept. 15-17.

In case you can’t make it, here are five breakthroughs you don’t want to miss:

Salama: Journalists and bloggers can assess their risk level with this web app by answering questions about their physical and online security practices. ICFJ Knight Fellow Jorge Luis Sierra developed the tool, which also provides feedback on how journalists can improve their security rating. Salama is available in Spanish, English and Arabic.


Push Mobile App: ICFJ Knight Fellow Chris Guess developed this open-source Android and iOS mobile app for publications that don't have the resources to build their own. With Push, users can publish their newest stories and push new content directly to their users' phone lock screens. The app includes a feature to collect donations from users through PayPal, making it useful as a fundraising tool for smaller outlets. Guess has used Push to create mobile apps for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and its member centers, including Meydan TV and Rise Moldova.


Aleph is a tool used to index large amounts of text and tabular data. Built by Friedrich Lindenberg during his ICFJ Knight Fellowship, the tool was created with investigative reporting as a primary use case, and it allows cross-referencing mentions of well-known people and companies against watch lists. Following his ICFJ Knight Fellowship, Lindenberg used Aleph to power a data search feature for the OCCRP's Investigative Dashboard. This investigative tool lets reporters search more than 2.4 million documents and datasets from previous OCCRP investigations as well as official sources.


Grano: This open-source toolkit provides a series of tools that help extract and analyze data to help journalists investigate the connections between public and private officials. Created by Code for Africa, which was founded by ICFJ Knight Fellow Justin Arenstein, Grano also powers other investigative tools like Siyazana, a database linking political and economic influencers in South Africa, and OpenInterests.eu, a catalog of political and business influencers related to the European Union.


NarcoData: Explore four decades worth of data on organized crime in Mexico with this tool developed by ICFJ Knight Fellows Miguel Paz and Mariano Blejman in collaboration with Animal Politico, the most important digital-only news publication in Mexico. The project shows the emergence of the criminal networks, conflicts between the groups, their geographic expansion and their role in various criminal activities.