News Media & Early Online Information
by Brian McGuinness 8-04-2010

I have attended dozens of investigative seminars over the years and have always been a proponent of continuing education. If you are a private investigator, it is required to keep up with technology, methodology and for developing contacts both nationally and internationally.

One of the more interesting conferences that I have attended was in Philadelphia at the Investigative Reporters & Editors annual conference. There were over 800 print and media reporters in attendance. This was over twenty years ago!  IRE had an amazing vendor area at their conference including VuText and  DataTimes representatives and computer demonstrations. If you are an investigator reading this, these names may sound familiar and/or you may have subscribed to these early services. They were the early media searches, where for a fee, you could retrieve news articles that could assist you in certain cases, either in developing background information or locating witnesses.

I joined VuText and for a number of years had a leg up on my competition until they started seeing the advantages of buying a computer and subscribing to various services. I had an advantage as I was brought up in a large IBM family. I bought a computer in 1985 when I opened my agency. It was a Panasonic XT with an amber screen soon followed with an IBM XT with a whopping 20 MB hard drive. At that time, I was “high tech”!


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