Not a member? Sign up

AP's Overview tool helps DocumentCloud makes sense of text documents

by: Amy Gahran |

When you're tracking a story that involves reading a huge volume of text documents, it's a challenge to both manage and process the documents and see the big picture. Here's how two pieces of software can help.

A recent Knight Blog post explained how Associated Press reporter Jack Gillum used Document Cloud and Overview to show that showing that former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Congressman Paul Ryan had requested funds for his district from many federal programs which he criticized on the campaign trail as wasteful.

According to Knight, Gillum relied on two tools to tackle this daunting task:

  • DocumentCloud, to upload scans of documents, perform optical character recognition, and search the contents.
  • Overview, a data visualization tool created by AP that expands the functionality of DocumentCloud to automatically sort documents into topics and visualize the contents.

Overview is designed primarily to process English-language text documents. It's not the tool to use to process tables, data that's primarily numeric, or records exported from a database (unless they include a field containing plain English text).

Both of these tools are available as web applications available for journalists to use free of charge. Both are also previous Knight News Challenge winners. You need a DocumentCloud account to use Overview.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Amy Gahran

Amy Gahran is a journalist, editor, trainer, entrepreneur, strategist, and media consultant based in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to writing
Read More

Events
Submit an event

Leading Change Summit

September 3, 2014 - September 6, 2014

Engage with diverse voices to ignite new ideas. Activate your strategies with expert advice and planning tools. Change the way you create impact. All at NTEN's inaugural Leading Change Summit.

ASNE-APME 2014: Fast Forward

September 15, 2014 - September 17, 2014

The first joint conference of the American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors.

Collab/Space Chicago, September 24

September 24, 2014 - September 24, 2014

An all-day, hands-on workshop focused on media innovation and spotlighting cutting-edge media startups –  in the Chicago area and beyond. 

Online News Association 2014 Conference

September 25, 2014 - September 27, 2014

A rare opportunity to network face-to-face, and share best practices with peers from all over the map at the ONA annual conference in Chicago.

New Avenues in Journalism

October 10, 2014

To help independent writers negotiate the changing terrain of journaism, ASJA is bringing thought leaders and innovators to San Francisco for a two-day conference

LION Summit: Innovation for Local Digital Media Entrepreneurs

October 16, 2014

Local indie publishers and industry experts will convene in Chicago for the second LION Publishers Summit.

Submit an event

How Storyful connects social media users to news orgs

By Melissa Kaplan
7/9/2014 | 12:06 am GMT

A big hurdle facing news organizations that want to source content from social media users is the ability to verify...

New book studies challenges of small newspapers

By Michele McLellan
6/12/2014 | 9:18 am GMT

A new book, Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability, explores the challenges and opportunities that smaller local news organizations face...