By ANDRES CORREA
One of the most important aspects of being a journalist, if not the most, is gathering the correct information.
However, going to courthouses and squeezing out the latest news from public officials can also be the most difficult and draining part of the journalistic process. It is for this reason that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is using modern technology to simplify the process. It has recently launched an application called “RCFP FirstAid” to give journalists quicker access to quality information.
The way that this application works is by breaking down records into categories including Court Access, Public Records, and Public Meetings. Once the journalist clicks on one of these categories they can easily find the types of information that would fit their needs. This can assist the reporter to find anything from arrest records to jury questionnaires and much more. The application also contains hotlines, the main one leading directly to the Reporter’s Committee itself. However, RCFP also had hotlines set up in Tampa for the Republican National Convention and Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention to aid reporters in covering the election.
While the application is, potentially, a breakthrough for journalists, it is also only two months old. Therefore, the RCFP still has much work to be done. This is why the application currently contains a “Feedback” button that allows reporters to give their opinions on what needs to be improved.
“RCFP FirstAid” is currently available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android for free. While the application is definitely still a work in progress, it is also a tool that most journalists should try out. Smooth and easy ways to gather information through “FirstAid” and other similar applications is the future of research in the journalism profession. It will be exciting to see what new features appear on the app once the RCFP gets more feedback, especially during this election season.