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News and Awards

The Marshall Project Partners With DocumentCloud for Upgraded Klaxon Site-Monitoring Tool

The Marshall Project originally launched the open-source reporting tool in 2016.

The Marshall Project has partnered with nonprofit news and document-sharing organization MuckRock to launch Klaxon Cloud, a newly upgraded open-source reporting tool integrated with DocumentCloud.

Klaxon Cloud allows reporters, editors and other researchers to monitor scores of websites, including data-heavy government and corporate sites, for newsworthy changes. Originally launched in 2016, Klaxon is web-based software built in The Marshall Project’s newsroom that has been used to keep track of death row cases, federal civil rights investigations and government budgets and spending.

When Klaxon finds a new update on one of the pages it watches, the user can receive an alert via email or through a designated Slack channel. Other news organizations around the world, including The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and many others have used the tool since its inception.

Klaxon has always been free and open-source, but thus far has required each newsroom to set up, configure and maintain its own server. To help broaden who can take advantage of this powerful tool, The Marshall Project and MuckRock collaborated to create Klaxon Cloud, a modified version of Klaxon that is incorporated into DocumentCloud. This means that newsrooms and individual journalists no longer need to set up or maintain their own software, a development that significantly lowers the barrier for those who want to benefit from Klaxon Cloud’s features.

“Over the years, Klaxon has enabled our reporters to stay apprised of news published online by hundreds of agencies,” said Tom Meagher, a Marshall Project senior editor and part of the team that built and maintained Klaxon. “During the early days of the COVID pandemic, Klaxon was indispensable in our work tracking the virus’ toll on thousands of people in prison. This tool has been a force multiplier for our investigative reporting, and we’re thrilled that — thanks to DocumentCloud and MuckRock — Klaxon Cloud will make it even easier now for more journalists to use it in their work.”

Klaxon Cloud can be used immediately with an existing MuckRock or DocumentCloud account, no verification required.

This is the first version of the rebooted Klaxon, and MuckRock is collecting feedback on how it’s being used and how it can be improved. The original Klaxon is also still available for use if you need to host site monitoring software on a personal server.