If you want to find out what a particular newspaper journalist is writing about then click on to Journa-list a new website created by the Media Standards Trust. Search for, say, Polly Toynbee and this rather neat site will give links to her articles. It will also tell you which subjects she has been writing about (you can also search by subject keywords or news outlet). Journa-list says that Polly has written almost 30,000 words since May 2007 and most of it has been about ‘Labour’.
The Media Standards Trust is a journalism watchdog and it hopes that we will use Journa-List to keep hacks on their toes and to praise those that provide the best coverage. But I suspect that it will provide other uses. It strikes me that this is a great tool for guest-bookers and commissioning editors.
MST boss Martin Moore says that they have made the site’s software open source so other people may wish to take up the idea in their own way. One group is looking to track articles written by MPs, for example.
Another application would be to compare what journalists write with press releases. That would please Conservative blogger Neil O’Brien who cleverly spotted that the Independent’s recent front page on ‘EU Myths’ was an almost word-for-word copy of an Foreign Office press release.