Embedding notes makes it even easier for reporters to bring source documents right into the story. One of DocumentCloud’s primary goals is to make it simpler for news organizations to show their work — to invite readers to review the very same documents the journalists used to draw the conclusions in their reporting.
The latest addition to our toolbox, which we quietly rolled out last month, allows reporters to embed a single annotation in a story online, and we’ve been delighted to see newsrooms making excellent use of it.
City officials in Torrance, Calif., circulated a press release explaining their decision to exclude some categories of crimes from the city’s online crime map. The Los Angeles Times, whose prior reporting had raised the issue of missing crimes, posted a brief item online in which they embedded the annotated press release directly. Not only were they able to clearly distinguish the portion of their post that cited the city’s words, their readers had the opportunity to review the city’s complete press release on the subject and discuss it.
Meanwhile, when allegations surfaced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement intentionally misled local authorities about whether or not they would be able to opt out of a controversial enforcement program, Mother Jones shared 17 pages of correspondence between the legislator who raised the concern and immigration officials. In their reporting, they were able to highlight the particular passage that raised red flags for legislators. Mother Jones readers had the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not the particular passage was vague, damning, or being blown way out of proportion.
Beyond embedding notes, we’ve been working hard on the little stuff, too — improving our redaction tools, clearing up quirks in the annotation process, and giving everyone new ways to search our catalog.
What annotations would you like to see embedded?