IRE News : December 2012

IRE & NICAR Office Holiday Schedule

Most of our staff will be in and out of the office during the holidays from Thursday 12/20 through Wednesday 1/2.

If you need assistance, please e-mail or leave a voice mail and your call will be answered as soon as possible.

We apologize for any inconvenience during this time.

Behind the Story: A source comes forward in the backlog of veterans' disability

In April,  Jamie Fox contacted reporter Aaron Glantz after losing her job at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Oakland office in 2008. Credit: Michael Short/Center for Investigative Reporting.

Aaron Glantz of the Center for Investigative Reporting was reporting on delays in veterans’ disability claims in Oakland, Calif. when a reader reached out to him.  Jamie Fox, a former Department of Veterans’ Affairs employee, had been fired in 2008 for “failure to follow instructions” and “misuse of time” after advocating for a veteran she believed had been unfairly denied disability benefits.  Fox’s case revealed that the Department of Veterans ...

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Several IRE Members Win 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards

Congratulations to the several IRE members, as well as all the recipients, on their 2013 duPont-Columbia Awards. Their hard work and dedication to good investigative journalism helps keep the public informed and educated on important topics that affect their daily lives and communities. 

Heather Catallo along with her colleagues at WXYZ-Detroit received a silver baton for their series, "Wayne County Confidential". "A model series of watchdog investigative reports that exposed local government corruption and resulted in criminal charges and an ongoing FBI probe".

Greg Phillips, Mikel Schaefer and Lee Zurik along with their team at WVUE-New Orleans were awarded a ...

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Resources for covering the federal budget, fiscal cliff

As the White House and Congressional Republicans inch toward an agreement before the fiscal cliff deadline, the opportunity remains for digging deeper into the federal budget and the impact of a deal -- or lack of deal -- on both the country's broad economic health and local communities. Find help in these links and resources.

Econocheck
A collaboration between IRE and the Sunlight Foundation, Econocheck is free to both members and non-members. It offers a wealth of data for covering the economy, including the following topics:

  • Jobs and Employment
  • Taxes, Government Finances and Debt
  • Health Care and Insurance 
  • Prices and Inflation ...
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IRE part of new Google Journalism Fellowship

Investigative Reporters and Editors is pleased to be part of a new opportunity Google is launching for college journalism students. 

It's an exciting program, and here at IRE, the selected student will have the opportunity to do meaningful work with data, gain a deeper understanding of investigative reporting, be part of the annual IRE Conference that attracts journalists from around the world, and much more. Students start the program with a week at the Knight Foundation in June and conclude things with a week at Google headquarters in early August.

Here's what Google has to say about the ...

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Covering the tragedy in Newtown, CT

Shootings, especially those involving children and schools, devastate communities and garner unprecedented media coverage. But with the flood of media attention, reporters must remember those who were affected by the terrible events and take the necessary precautions while covering such a delicate story.

In addition to the tipsheets and stories below, you can turn to the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, which has a page put together for how to cover a tragedy like the Newtown shooting

Related Tipsheets

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Behind the Story: The reality of Oklahoma's Quality Jobs Program

Last month, the Oklahoma Impact Team for KWTV News 9 in Oklahoma City and KOTV News on 6 in Tulsa, Okla., examined the much-touted Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program to see if it works as intended or amounts to a corporate giveaway. They found that three-quarters of a billion dollars in tax rebates have been awarded to approximately 660 companies, some of which have eliminated jobs or sent jobs overseas while collecting payments under the program. Companies met job-creation predictions about one-third of the time.

Alex Cameron and Jeff Raymond of the Oklahoma Impact Team for KWTV and KOTV sent IRE ...

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Best of Broadcast DVD for sale in resource center

If you're looking for award winning tips and tricks on how to make your broadcast video stand out from the rest you won't want to pass up this collection of interviews.

Included are interviews with Earl Nurse Jr of CNN for his work on the 2011 Tom Renner award winning piece: Death in the Desert, Donny Pearce of WVUE-New Orleans for his work on the IRE Award winning piece: Hiding Behind the Badge and Frederic Zalac and Kris Fleerackers of CBCNews for their work on the IRE Award finalist piece: Tamiflu: The Backstory of a Blockbuster.

Click here ...

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Behind the Story: The big business of 'green' buildings and LEED certification

Can a 50-story Las Vegas hotel be environmentally-friendly?  This is the question USA Today reporter Tom Frank sought to answer when he began reporting on the increase in construction of so-called environmentally friendly buildings.  Through his investigation, Frank found that green commercial construction has increased.  Non-profits are behind the movement, but few have assessed the real impact of their programs.  Often, green building improvements are simply cheap routes to large tax breaks.  Frank’s ongoing Green Inc. series explores the challenges non-profit groups face in helping for-profit businesses “go green.”

His investigation began with an online search of the U ...

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SBA disaster loan data updated in NICAR Database Library

In the wake of a disaster, individuals and business owners are often left with severely damaged property. Many turn for help to the Small Business Administration, which approves low-interest loans to help rebuild. For declared disasters in 2011 alone, the Small Business Administration approved over $1 billion in loans.

NICAR has updated the SBA database of these loans, which is now current through Sept. 2012. 

WHAT'S IN IT?
Disaster loans through the SBA are one of the primary forms of federal assistance for individuals and non-farm, private-sector businesses who have suffered losses. The data have information on the borrower ...

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