IRE News : January 2013

Behind the Story: Questionable border patrol shootings

In December, Tim Steller, a reporter and now columnist for the Arizona Daily Star, reported on the increasing number of shootings occurring between Border Patrol and illegal immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.  The victims in some cases appear to have been unarmed.  This fact and the lack of transparency in the investigations has cast doubt on the nature of the shootings, especially for victims’ families.  Steller’s investigation shows that in some incidents, the families’ concerns might be justified.

How did you get the idea to report on shootings by Border Patrol agents?
On Oct. 10, there was ...

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Money trail for Sandy begins as Congress approves $51 billion in disaster aid

On Monday Congress approved $51 billion in disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy, three months after the storm that killed more than 130 people and caused billions in damage to the Atlantic coast.

Follow the money with IRE's coverage page, Hurricane Sandy: Covering the Aftermath

The spending was heavily debated and at a time sparked bipartisan anger over the inability of Congress to provide timely relief. In addition to a reluctance to add to federal debt, concerns about the bill from House Republicans centered on trying to make sure the money was actually being spent on emergency needs ...

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Behind the Story: Post-Dispatch mapping finds 'hot spots' of pedestrian railroad deaths

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In December, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch released Death on the Rails, a special report on the surprising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred on railways.  Reporter Todd Frankel explains how he cross-referenced databases and resources to build his own map of the accidents, which he used to further investigate ”hot spots” of pedestrian death and injury.

You began investigating for the series after a pedestrian fatality in June.  What inspired you to look into these rail-related accidents?  Did you expect to discover so many when ...

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Introducing Total Newsroom Training, a new program from IRE

IRE is launching a new program and is looking for news organizations dedicated to doing watchdog work. This is your newsroom’s opportunity to have intense, in-house investigative training -- for free. If your organization is hungry for customized investigative training and can't afford it, apply today. Spots are limited.

Total Newsroom Training from IRE is designed to increase the ability of news organizations to provide watchdog and enterprise coverage for their communities and to produce work that can lead to change and improvements in those communities.

The program is meant to help small to medium-size news organizations, and IRE ...

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Diversity fellowships available for CAR Conference

Through the generosity of the Philip L. Graham Fund and the Chicago Tribune Foundation, IRE is pleased to offer Minority Fellowships to allow a limited number of professional journalists to attend the CAR (still accepting applications) and IRE conferences. These fellowships cover a 1-year IRE membership; conference registration fees; up to $600 for hotel accommodations and $500 reimbursement for travel.

Applicants for these awards should identify themselves with one of the minority groups listed on the application.

Conference Information:

Questions: Contact John Green at jgreen@ire.org or 573-882-2772

The 2012 IRE Awards contest deadline is today

The IRE Awards is our annual contest recognizing the best in investigative reporting by print, broadcast and online media. Enter the 2012 IRE Awards contest, now online! The official deadline for entries is Jan 11, 2013. Don't miss the chance to have your work honored.

For those of you whom are unaware of what happens to your contest submissions after all the awards are given out, here's a glimpse.
Stories entered into the IRE Awards, starting in 1979, have become part of IRE's historic story library. This collection is used by journalists worldwide to look at what ...

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Learn about online storytelling with data at Tapestry

Tapestry is a new conference about online storytelling with data. Tapestry is bringing together people from the worlds of design, academia and data journalism, each of whom has been thinking about data storytelling from a different angle.

The conference is invitation-only and limited to 100 people, but some openings remain available. It will be held on February 27, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. Keynotes are Jonathan Corum of The New York Times; Robert Kosara of the Eager Eyes blog, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Tableau; and Scott McCloud of Understanding Comics. There will also be short talks and ...

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2012 Philip Meyer Award winners announced

Three major investigative reports that used social science research methods to: Shine a light on Medicare billing errors and abuses; expose how the Medicaid system steered patients to use methadone; and revealed how race and privilege trumped justice in the granting of  pardons were named today as winners of the 2012 Philip Meyer Journalism Award.

First place is awarded to “Cracking the Codes” by Fred Schulte, Joe Eaton, David Donald and Gordon Witkin of The Center for Public Integrity. The series documented how thousands of medical professionals have steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over ...

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Remembering journalist Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer, a journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 as a foreign correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer, died this week from complications of lung cancer. Cramer's writing career spanned politics and sports, and in addition to the Inquirer his work appeared in magazines such as Esquire and Rolling Stone. Cramer authored several books, including What It Takes: The Way to the White House, an in-depth look at the 1988 presidential election.

This week, IRE pulled a 1991 Esquire story by Richard Ben Cramer from its archives:

George Bush: How He Got Here
"A life of ease ...

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FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2010 now available in NICAR Data Library

The NICAR Database Library has updated the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, one of the best resources for national crime statistics.

WHAT’S IN IT?
Law enforcement agencies around the country are required to submit reports to the FBI on what are known as "index" crimes: murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor-vehicle theft and arson. These crimes are meant to serve as an index for gauging fluctuations in the overall volume and rate of crime. The data include the number of crimes by agency and month. Region, state, county, city, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA ...
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