IRE News : February 2013

Covering the repurchase market and shadow banking

Veteran journalist Mary Fricker has put together a guide for the Reynolds Business Journalism Center on how to cover the repurchase market and shadow banking, which she says is "inherently unstable. It triggered the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. It’s a key reason that our recovery is weak. Yet in 2008, when the financial markets were collapsing, no one I knew had ever heard of it, including me. Now that’s a great story.”

The following elements are part of Fricker's coverage  guide:

Fricker has also helped put together ...

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IRE welcomes new Google Journalism Fellow

IRE is gaining a new summer fellow as part of the first ever Google Journalism Fellowship. Nicole Pasulka of New York University will spend 8 weeks with IRE, as well as a week with Google and a week with the Knight Foundation.

Pasulka is currently getting an M.A. in journalism at NYU in the Literary Reportage program. She has five years of experience in journalism working as a freelancer, an editor for The Morning News, and a fellow at Mother Jones. Last summer she received the 2012 I.F. Stone Award from the Nation Institute and a 2012 grant ...

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Last week to apply for free Total Newsroom Training

Time is running out for your chance to get free investigative training for your newsroom. The deadline to apply for Total Newsroom Training from IRE is by the end of the day on Friday, Feb. 22. 

TNT is meant to reach organizations that are hungry for customized investigative training but can't afford it. Training is tailored to the needs of your newsroom and is designed to increase your ability to provide watchdog and enterprise coverage for your community and to produce work that can lead to changes and improvements in those communities.

Custom sessions can include hands-on training using ...

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Seven IRE members honored with Polk awards

Seven IRE members were among winners of the 64th annual George Polk Awards in Journalism, announced today by Long Island University. The annual George Polk Awards in Journalism were established in 1949 by Long Island University to commemorate George Polk, a CBS Correspondent murdered in 1948 while reporting on the civil war in Greece. The following IRE members were honored in this year’s awards:

  • David Corn of Mother Jones won the George Polk Award for Political Reporting for his work securing and publishing video of  the “47 percent” remarks from 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. See the full story ...
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This Valentine's Day, background your date using public records

Don't let love get in the way of investigating. The old saying in journalism goes something like "if your mother says she loves you, check it out,” and if that's true for your mother then it's certainly true for your Valentine's Day date. So let's begin our walk through of how to make use of publicly available information to background your date.

First, checking property records, criminal records and civil filings is going to be much faster if you have access to Nexis. But if you don’t, you can still navigate your way to ...

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Behind the Story: How the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel learned about an ATF sting gone wrong

Credit: Lou Saldivar, Journal Sentinel Graphics Editor

John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge of the Journal Sentinel had an opportunity to gain rare insight into an undercover government operation in 2012. Their watchdog reporting on the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' sting operation in Milwaukee revealed the operation may have done more harm than good in the neighborhood it was intended to help. The operation’s problems raise further questions about  the agency’s competency in light of the Fast and Furious operation, in which agents sold guns to gun traffickers in Arizona from 2006 to 2011 ...

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Behind the Story: Tackling the unusual, problematic 'contract for deed' housing deal

Minneapolis Star Tribune photo
Ron Folger of Minneapolis lost his rental license last year city and began selling properties to low-income families on a plan known as a contract-for-deed transaction.

In January, Jeffrey Meitrodt, Investigations Editor at the Star Tribune, reported on problematic contract-for-deed sales of homes in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The sales are frequently used to sell homes to low-income buyers who have been unable to secure financing from a bank.  Since 2007, Minneapolis and St. Paul have seen a more than 50 percent increase in the number of contract-for-deed sales of property.  These homes may have existing ...

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Eight newsrooms awarded grants for data projects

IRE is pleased to announce that eight newsrooms will be awarded grants thanks to the $50,000 donation from Google Ideas. The grants will support data-driven investigations by providing journalists with access to data, new tools and necessary training. 

The fund's two broad priorities were to support specific investigative projects and to better equip news organizations to do data analysis work in the future.

"IRE has long been a force for new ideas and tools for doing investigative journalism, and the generosity of this grant from Google recognizes that tradition," said Steve Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism at ASU ...

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