World Wide Words logo

Computer-assisted journalism

Though a new term for most of us in the UK, it is increasingly common in the US newspaper world. It is an umbrella term for the use of computers in news-gathering. Journalists in the US now regularly search for relevant information in the electronic realm, including government databases and online archives. From it they derive ideas for stories, find contacts, get essential background information and check their facts, in an electronic analogue of traditional legwork. They use software tools such as spreadsheets and data mining programs to search, collate and process data. computer-assisted journalism (CAJ) is also known as computer-assisted reporting (CAR). None of these terms are likely to be taken up quickly in the UK, not because of doubts over the value of the technique or because British newspapers are generally less wired than their US equivalents and their staffs less computer-literate, but because the electronic information that is the lifeblood of American CAJ often doesn’t exist in Britain, and where it does it is frequently inaccessible as a result of the provisions of the Official Secrets Act.

Page created 12 Jul. 1997

Support World Wide Words and keep this site alive.

Donate by selecting your currency and clicking the button.

Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select a site and click Go!

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved. See the copyright page for notes about linking to and reusing this page. For help in viewing the site, see the technical FAQ. Your comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved.
This page URL:
Last modified: 12 July 1997.