Kathryn Cramer is a fiction editor and anthologist by trade. Her weblog has led to a good deal of investigative journalism, as she's been tracking the strange world of private security firms and mercenaries.
At the recent Tinderbox Day, Cramer showed us a Tinderbox framework she has developed for tracking news stories.
Strikingly, it's very close to what you'd want to use when plotting a novel! There's even a category for MacGuffins.