Introducing Sqoop

Changes to the news media industry over the past decade and a half have been well documented: there are now fewer reporters being asked to develop more original content. Although there has been a resurgence in media over the past two years with more than $850 million invested in both online and traditional outlets, the pressure for more content has not diminished; in fact it has gotten worse because publishers have learned how to drive more eyeballs with social media.

The race for content, however, has not yielded many useful digital tools to help reporters, especially in the news discovery process. The reporters we met with identified one process as particularly painful: gathering company information in public records sites like the SEC , the Patent Office , the FDA and a long list of others.

One problem is that none of these sites offer a modern search interface. It’s not like going to Google, or my old employer Bing: reporters need to drill down four or five layers to get to the source documents—for every single search across all the sites they’re interested in—just to find out what the document is about. They don’t get a simple search result that summarizes what’s on the other side of the blue link.

Another problem is that the web search engines don’t do a good job of inferring journalist intent and providing public records in their search results. The public records that are even indexed are unlikely to be returned for all but the most specific queries.

Worse yet, reporters can easily miss the scoop, or the story all together, if they don’t stay on top of these searches.

Until now. Sqoop lets you search SEC filings and Patent Grants and Applications, and presents results so that you can see at a glance what the filing is about.

The most significant feature is the ability to set alerts so that every time there is a new filing, Sqoop will send you an alert so that you can jump on the story. Simply conduct a search, and click on the green alert button to set the frequency with which you’d like to receive the alerts.

Although we have been testing the site with reporters for only a few months, the usage is clear: dozens of reporters from some of the most respected names in journalism are using the site every day, receiving alerts, and increasingly, filing stories based on Sqoop Alerts—or Sqoops.

GeekWire and Motley Fool have even graciously credited Sqoop in the stories themselves.

We will regularly be updating features, so we’d welcome your ideas! Until then, enjoy Sqoop.