Category Archives: Toolbox

6 Ways You Can Use to report

1. Form 990s on GuidestarMonitor your university’s Guidestar page. When a new 990 filing becomes available, ChangeDetection will send you an alert.

2. Home purchases with BlockShopperBlockShopper can track home purchases by buyer, such as a university. Monitor your university’s search result page to learn when the institution buys or sells property in the area.

3. Credit ratings with Moody’s. Rating agency reports on your institution’s debt can hold information about university financials. Track the search results page on Moody’s by typing in your institution’s name.

4. Your college or university’s financial audit. Some institutions post their financial audits online for donors to review. They’re less specific than 990s, but have more recent information than the tax filing.

5. Yearly Board of Trustees changes. ChangeDetection will alert you when members are added or dropped from your university’s board. Background the new members and learn about who is running your university. You can also speak with former members to learn why they separated from the university. They might also provide insight on how business is conducted behind closed doors.

6. Your university’s academic programs. Universities aren’t likely to announce a program or certificate is being discontinued. They will, however, remove it from the website. Monitor these changes to stay up to date on the programs and instruction your institution offers. They alert can also tell you when new programs are added to the curriculum.

HOPE AND CHANGEDETECTION: One way to stay on top of stories

Let’s face it: college journalists aren’t the best at following up on stories. I’ve been guilty of publishing an article, then proceeding to cover a different area of the university system. Months later, I’d remember an update to the original story was required, but find I had missed an important news event. When your college newspaper publishes three-week-old news because you weren’t doing your job, the embarrassment alone will convince you to get your act together.

Screenshot of
Screenshot of

It can also be difficult to keep track the release of news from outside sources. For example, our university has a habit of releasing university data and information to the web without informing the campus of its availability. Very important stories are sitting out on the Internet, but no one knows when or where to look.

There are tactics to counter these shortcomings. I’ve become better at time management and organization, a must for any journalist before they enter the “real world.”

College journalists should also create a network of sources who can alert them when news happens or something newsworthy becomes available. Working in concert with these strategies, the subject of today’s post has significantly helped me keep an eye on news at Webster University.

It’s called, a web service which monitors text changes on websites. While that may sound boring, creative reporters can use ChangeDetection and be alerted when their college or university makes news. The Journal has broken news stories thanks to alerts from ChangeDetection, including articles on bonuses, endowment figures and enrollment data.

Check out how you can use to stay up on the news in your community. Leave a comment if you can think of other ways the tool can help student media.

FEEDLY, THE BEAST: The news you consume is what you report

With the demise of the Google Reader, the RSS Reader Feedly (free) has become a clear favorite among news fanatics and journalist alike. In the wake of Google’s announcement that it would shutter the Google Reader, Feedly reported 3 million users had created accounts for its service, I being one of them. Since then, I’ve become a Feedly-addict and check it constantly for updates and story ideas.

My Feedly Home Screen
My Feedly Home Screen

Continue reading FEEDLY, THE BEAST: The news you consume is what you report