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Mid-America Press Institute offering watchdog journalism workshop in St. Louis

Using the Web for investigative stories and getting tips on quick-hit investigative pieces will be the heart of a one-day Watchdog Journalism seminar Sept. 26 at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, will lead the seminar, which is being sponsored by the Mid-America Press Institute, the Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky press associations.

The workshop will start with registration at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Sessions on open records and key documents for investigative pieces also will be included in the seminar.

Registration for the seminar is $40 and includes a box lunch. Registration must be made by Sept. 20 with John Ryan, MPI executive director, via email: jmryan@eiu.edu or phone: 217-581-7939.

Workshop Schedule

9 a.m. Registration: Coffee and newspapers will be provided.

10 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

10:15 a.m. Web for Watchdogs: From better search techniques for the invisible Web, how to find documents and databases on deadline and where to find reliable Web sites for reliable stories.

11:30 a.m. Break

11:45 a.m. Key Documents You Can’t Live Without: Move beyond anecdotes and he-said, she-said journalism with data and documents. Advice on developing a documents state of mind, navigating public records, exploring key records on a variety of beats, and becoming familiar with key national data sets to produce high-impact local stories.

12:45 a.m. Break

1 p.m. Working Lunch and Open Records: Advice on crafting records requests, tracking them and holding local officials feet to the FOIA fire. Includes strategies for dealing with excuses and obstacles from public officials who stand in your way of getting key documents and data.

John Russell and Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star.

2 p.m. Break

2:15 p.m. Quick-Hit Watchdog Investigations : Strategies, story ideas, resources and tips for watchdog stories on a variety of beats.

3 p.m. Adjourn

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