IRE News

Behind the Story: How Kent State tracked student athletes missing class

By Karl Idsvoog, Kent State University

How do you get into college if you can only read at a grade-school level? Last January, CNN’s Sara Ganim answered that question in a powerful piece of reporting. In a few short sentences Sara personalized the reality of college athletics at the University of North Carolina as she told the story of learning specialist Mary Willingham. Sara writes: 

"Early in her career as a learning specialist, Mary Willingham was in her office when a basketball player at the University of North Carolina walked in looking for help with his classwork. He couldn ...

Read more ...

Mark your calendar for the IRE Chicago Meetup next month

The IRE Chicago Meetup crew is partnering with the Chicago Headline Club for its next happy hour. The Chicago Headline Club holds Burger Nights every month, and the next one is Sept. 12 at The Billy Goat (430 N. Michigan Ave). So, bring a colleague to introduce to the Investigative Reporters and Editors community and come down for some burgers, investigative reporting and meeting other reporters. 

Please join the Chicago IRE Meetup group if you haven’t already. No need to RSVP beyond the meetup website.

Do police have to release the name of the officer involved in the Ferguson, Mo. shooting?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Ferguson, Missouri police department’s decision not to release the name of the officer involved in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown. To get some legal answers, we turned to professor Sandy Davidson, who teaches communications law at the Missouri School of Journalism. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  • While an incident report is considered an open record under Missouri law, that document must legally include: The date, time, specific location, name of the victim and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or ...
Read more ...

Behind the Story: High-stakes testing in Norwegian schools subject to corruption

By Shazia Sarwar

A series of investigative reports by Verdens Gang (VG) in 2013 exposed that principals at all primary and secondary schools in Oslo, Norway’s capital, were given personal incentives and salary benefits in secret working contracts and on the basis of student results on national tests.

The investigation found a significant correlation between the number of students exempt from tests and the average scores. An associate professor at the University of Oslo reviewed the data and found that the more students exempt, the better a school’s score. Minority students and children with other special needs are ...

Read more ...

Improve your watchdog skills for just $10 this summer

It’s the best deal you can get in the nation’s capital. For $10, you can learn investigative techniques from some of the best journalists in the country. Yes, $10.

IRE’s Watchdog Workshop will be held in Washington, D.C. on August 13. The workshop will take place at the AAJA annual conference, but it’s open to all journalists and students. Non-AAJA members are welcome to attend and you don’t have register for the full conference.

Check out our full line-up here: http://www.ire.org/events-and-training/event/1513/

Petition offers journalists a chance to support Risen

Last month, more than 1,600 IRE members gathered in San Francisco for training and to discuss the biggest issues facing our craft. Chief among them was the threat of government actions against investigative journalists and their sources, as underscored by Lowell Bergman's keynote speech, a panel on whistleblowers including Daniel Ellsberg and a showcase panel on surveillance.

Following the conference, we got a lot of inquiries from members about what they could do, specifically about New York Times reporter James Risen, who was the focus of much of Bergman's speech. The federal government is trying to force ...

Read more ...

Behind the Story: How KATC exposed problems with early animal euthanasia in Louisiana

Video by KATC-Lafayette

You don’t need to work in a large newsroom to pull off an investigative story with impact. Earlier this year KATC-Lafayette’s Tina Macias and Allison Bourne-Vanneck revealed that in 2013 a Louisiana animal shelter euthanized a quarter of the dogs that passed through its doors in less than four days – the hold time stipulated by the parish’s animal control ordinance.

Macias, an investigative producer, used public records requests to track down documents on intakes and euthanasia drugs. When the shelter tried to charge the station thousands of dollars, Macias looked up the law and ...

Read more ...

How to break through the secrecy surrounding the death penalty

Journalists from four states recently joined IRE to discuss coverage of the death penalty and execution secrecy. Ziva Branstetter, Chris McDaniel, Brian Haas and Della Hasselle shared reporting tips, story ideas and more during the 45-minute Google+ Hangout.

Here are four tips from the chat:

  • When you look into lethal injection practices, don’t stop at the drug name. It’s also worth checking on how much of that drug gets administered, said Della Hasselle, a contributor to The Lens in New Orleans. In Louisiana, for instance, execution protocols call for 10 milligrams of midazolam. The same drug was used ...
Read more ...

Watch live: Google Hangout on execution secrecy

Today starting at 12 p.m. CDT we’ll be talking about how to investigate the death penalty and shed light on secrecy surrounding lethal injection practices. To watch the broadcast and submit questions, click here. You can also tweet us questions at @IRE_NICAR using the hashtag #IREHangout.

We’ll be joined by four journalists who have been covering executions: Ziva Branstetter of the Tulsa World, Chris McDaniel of St. Louis Public Radio, Brian Haas of The Tennessean and Della Hasselle, a contributor to The Lens.

After the broadcast, the recording will be posted to our Hangouts page.

Join us Wednesday for a Google Hangout on execution secrecy

Tune in Wednesday at 12 p.m. CDT to discuss coverage of the death penalty and the secrecy surrounding lethal injection procedures. We’ll be joined by four journalists who have been investigating executions:

  • Ziva Branstetter, enterprise editor at the Tulsa World and one of the witnesses to the botched Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett. You can follow her coverage of the case here.
  • Chris McDaniel, political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio. McDaniel has been involved in a lawsuit to free up information surrounding lethal injection drugs. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also recently won IRE’s not-so-coveted Golden Padlock ...
Read more ...