IRE News

New video series highlights reporting tips, techniques

This week we launched Story Shorts, a new series of web videos designed to help journalists share tips and techniques they’ve used on a variety of investigative stories. We’ve paired the minute-long videos with related resources (tipsheets, stories, webinars and audio) curated by IRE staff. We’ve even made a few of our tipsheets free for a limited time.

Our first set of clips features KSHB reporter Ryan Kath, who filmed a “Behind the Story” video for us earlier this year. Kath’s series, “Trail of Dirty Deeds,” exposed a widespread real estate fraud scheme and was a ...

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Apply now for the 2015 IRE Knight Scholarship

2014 CAR Conference Knight Scholars and mentors pose for a group picture.

Applications are now being accepted from college students at several historically black colleges and universities for the Knight Scholarship to attend IRE’s 2015 data journalism and annual investigative reporting conferences. Apply online by Sunday, Dec. 7.

The 2015 conferences include our annual data journalism conference in March in Atlanta and the annual investigative reporting conference in June in Philadelphia. Both conferences offer great opportunities to learn, network with professional journalists and build new skills. More details about each conference can be found below.

Scholarships will cover travel ...

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Washington Post, Marshall Project collaborate with DocumentCloud to make note embeds responsive

This post originally appeared on the DocumentCloud blog.

On Aug. 3, The Marshall Project, a new nonprofit journalism organization focused on criminal justice issues, published an investigation in partnership with The Washington Post that revealed new evidence raising doubts about a high-profile Texas execution.

Tom Meagher, data editor at The Marshall Project: Our reporter, Maurice Possley, began working on this story months before most of the rest of our newsroom at the Marshall Project was even hired. By the time we were able to start helping, the story was mostly reported, so we dove into the documents to bring ourselves ...

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Behind the Story: How Chicago Magazine exposed the truth about the city’s crime rates

Chicago Magazine | June 2014

A story that helped change the way Chicagoans digest crime stats started with suspicion.

Immersed in a different crime-related piece, Chicago Magazine Features Editor David Bernstein and Contributing Writer Noah Isackson noticed something amiss with the statistics. When their trusted police sources voiced skepticism, the early trappings of an idea took hold.

In the spring of 2013, fresh off a year of 507 murders in Chicago, the most of any U.S. city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy started celebrating what the stats showed was a drastic turnaround in the amount of crime ...

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IRE remembers CNN photojournalist Sarmad Qaseera

2012 IRE Awards video

IRE is saddened to hear about the passing of Sarmad Qaseera, a photojournalist to whom we’d awarded an IRE Medal for his 2012 work in Benghazi. The 42-year-old was a longtime member of CNN’s Baghdad bureau.

Qaseera was hired by CNN to cover the war in his home country of Iraq in 2003, and in doing so risked his life, according to CNN’s story on his passing. He remained in Iraq until a “very specific death threat” forced him out in 2006. He fled to the U.S. to continue his work for ...

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NICAR Data Library to lower prices, offer free databases

The NICAR Database Library will be implementing some changes in the coming months: The first of these is a reduction in what we charge IRE members for most of our databases. Additionally, a handful of databases will be free to IRE members​. 

While the amount of work we put into each database remains the same, we also want to embolden the growing spirit of accessibility that exists promisingly in some government agencies, in places like Github where reporters share data and code, and on NICAR-L where all sorts of valuable information is shared on a daily basis. Our ultimate goal ...

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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 ...

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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 ...
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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 ...

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