New Site Helps Journalists Sift Through The Clutter
Bill Hankes, based in Mountain View, CA, said created his new online venture, Sqoop, as a way to help journalists sort through the sometimes mountains of SEC fillings and other court documents to find the real news. He calls the existing manual process "both time consuming and painful."
Sqoop was actually started by Hankes and David Kellum, who sought a fast and easy way to alert journalists when public documents become available online--based on the companies and topics they choose to follow. After starting with patent filings and SEC documents, Sqoop is expanding to include alerts on federal court records.
Here's how Hankes explains it.
"Every week there are scores of stories written by journalists who've ferreted information out of companies' SEC filings, but sifting through reams of regulatory filings is both time consuming and painful. In addition, the Edgar interface [where lists of filings are available for public viewing] is so arcane that it's hard to quickly determine news value of a particular filing because of codes that aren't footnoted, and exhibits are difficult to access."
And if you want alerts, he said, that usually costs money many newsrooms are loathe to spend.
"That's why I created Sqoop, a data journalism site that lets you easily access the filings you want, quickly assess the news value by adding some intelligence on top of these filings, and save you time by letting you establish alerts for new filings. You never need to repeat the same Edgar search again!"
Here's how it works. Simply execute a search for a company, executive or interest, and Sqoop will deliver search results that click through to detail pages that are far more useful that those from Edgar. For the Form 4, Sqoop translates the codes and does the math so you don't need to. On all other forms, we provide filing along with any exhibits in expandable view, all within one page. Not only does this help you more quickly assess the news value, but it's also a better reader experience than linking to dumb Edgar pages where exhibits are inaccessible.
Finally, by clicking the green button on the left-hand side of the page, you can save that search as an alert so that every time there's a new filing, Sqoop will let you know instantly so you can jump on the story if you want.
Hankes said that more than 1,000 journalists have signed up to his Sqoop service in order to "save time, help them uncover stories they wouldn't otherwise find easily, and yes, sometimes even get the scoop."
With plans to continue to improve the service with new features like form type filtering and geographic search, he encourages journalists to give it a try at www.sqoop.com for free.
"Sqoop has an opportunity to help transform the news discovery landscape," Hankes told the website GeekWire. "There's been $850 million invested in news media outlets over the past two years because there's a gold rush to develop more original content. We have a net increase in reporters over the past two years for the first time in a decade, but no one is looking at what digital tools can help reporters be more efficient. That's where we think Sqoop has a first-mover advantage."
And it might just help you make that deadline after all!