SPJ offers useful online tools for journalists

By AUSTEN GREGERSON

While a section of our Web site may already be titled this, we may have been beaten to the punch on the name Journalist’s Toolbox. The site is an offshoot of the Society of Professional Journalists and serves as a one-stop shop for almost any source of information a journalist would need, aspiring or otherwise.

In essence, this site is what we look for in an online tool. If there’s a way to put everything we need to research a topic in one place, SPJ is on the right path. Journalist’s Toolbox is an online archive of web pages that intend to make life a little easier for journalists and, for the most part, it succeeds in doing so.

But that’s not to say that the website is perfect. Frankly, it’s far from it. The website itself is arranged rather cheaply, with only three columns of links and a header organizing the site. Help on topics ranging from agriculture to urban legends are categorized on the left-hand column on the screen, with the middle column devoted to the latest updates from the site. This column, with the exception of chronology, is disorganized and rather difficult to find specialized information. And on top of that, some of the links that appear on the home screen are dead, just further complicating the search for information.

So while an online “toolbox” for journalists would assuredly be a welcome addition for any reporter, it seems like the website in its current incarnation is missing an Allen wrench or two. But with an improved execution on the idea, the site can go from organized junk to an efficient tool fairly quickly.

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