Posted on October 16, 2018 Read the other articles

3 Reasons to Use the WHOIS Database in Your Journalist Practice

When your job is getting to the bottom of a situation and figuring out how to make it into a story, you need to utilize all the proper tools. The WHOIS database can be quite an effective tool for journalists, so if you’re not using it yet now is a good time to start. Here are some of the things you can do with WHOIS data to help your journalist practice.

1.Contact Info

This is the main reason journalists use WHOIS data. If you want to write a story about a particular website but don’t know who to contact, a quick look at the WHOIS database for that website can give you the information you need. If the website doesn’t use private WHOIS information, you can find the owner of the website including his name, phone number, mailing address and email address, which is more than enough to get in touch with them and have a chat.

How to gather WHOIS information as a journalist

Unfortunately, you can’t always get contact information by looking up WHOIS data for a website as many website owners have privacy settings turned on, which prevents ICANN from displaying the actual information about the individual.

2. Sleuthing

As a journalist, a large part of your job is having a nose for stories and sniffing them out. Sometimes you have to do a little bit of investigation to figure out what your angle is going to be. Querying the WHOIS database is a great way to do this investigative work. If a website looks like a scam and is selling fake insurance to local residents, you can check that WHOIS data to figure out where and when that website was actually created. It could be that it’s run from an entirely different country – something that the people need to know.

3. Verification

Another great use of WHOIS for journalists is simply verifying information. You always want to be sure you get all your facts right, and one easy way to do that is to look at the WHOIS database for a website.

Verifying website owner as a journalist

Does the name on the WHOIS page match the name the website’s owner gave you? Is the phone number a real one or will you get an error message when you call? These are the types of questions you can answer by looking up the WHOIS data for a specific website. At a time when fake news is heavily scrutinized and the media villainized, it’s more important than ever to get your facts straight.

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