IRE Radio

3 ideas for covering America’s booming prison population

The United States is a world leader in incarceration, with more than 2 million people in prisons and jails. At the 2014 IRE Conference Barry Krisberg, a senior fellow at UC Berkeley Law School, discussed a handful of trends for journalists to follow in the coming year. Here are three to keep an eye on:

1. Lawsuits and conditions stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act

Every correctional facility is subject to the ADA, but officials are still figuring out how to comply with it. Journalists can keep tabs on the resulting lawsuits – cases Krisberg says will be a "slam ...

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Audio from 2014 Watchdog Workshops now available for download

Participants at the Jacksonville Watchdog Workshop. (Photo courtesy of Tracey Eaton)

Couldn’t make it to one of our Watchdog Workshops this year? We recorded audio from many of our panels and, thanks to a generous grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, have made it available for download online.

We have recordings from the following workshops: JacksonvilleBuffaloPortlandWashington DCTucson, Wyoming, Los Angeles, Iowa City, and New York (limited).

Get tips on covering minority communities from Los Angeles Times reporter Anh Do and MSNBC anchor Richard Lui. Listen to USA TODAY reporter Brad Heath talk ...

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IRE Radio Podcast | Navigating Nonprofits

Americans donate about $300 billion a year to charities, with about 30 percent of that taking place in December. But not all charities are good stewards of donated dollars. For our last podcast of 2014 we’re talking about how to investigate nonprofits and charities. Here’s the lineup:

  • Justin Elliott of ProPublica talks about investigating the American Red Cross’ Superstorm Sandy relief efforts
  • Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic explains how he exposed major problems with the nonprofits running the Fiesta Bowl

You can find and download previous podcast episodes on iTunes or our Soundcloud page.

We’ll be ...

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AUDIO: How to find specific forgotten victims

At the 2014 IRE Conference, a panel of three journalists, moderated by New England Center for Investigative Reporting senior investigative reporter Jenifer McKim, talked about finding how they found forgotten victims and tackled overlooked issues. Senior citizens in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Detroit citizens unfairly affected by the city’s recent bankruptcy, black lung-afflicted coal miners unable to receive their medical benefits, and abused children whose voices go continually unheard were all discussed at length by the panel.

While uncovering information about unexpected victims of Detroit’s recent bankruptcy, Azmat Khan, reporter and senior digital producer at America ...

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IRE Radio Podcast | Housing Horror Stories

It’s a special Halloween episode of the IRE Radio Podcast, and this week we’re telling some housing horror stories. Here’s the lineup:

  • Marisa Kwiatkowski of The Indianapolis Star talks about her story "The exorcisms of Latoya Ammons," which became the most-read story in the Star’s history.
  • Kate Berry of American Banker explains "zombie foreclosures" and offers tips for reporters looking to track them.

You can find and download previous podcast episodes on iTunes or our Soundcloud page.

 

EPISODE NOTES

Looking for links to the stories, resources and events we discussed on this week's podcast? We ...

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AUDIO: How to track and report on gun violence

There is no perfect or universal way to classify a mass shooting. As such, reliable, nuanced data on the topic is sparse. And further complicating the reporter’s job is the way even the most human stories can become fuel for the right-versus-left fire.

It’s with these challenges in mind that three reporters and researchers came together at the 2014 IRE conference. Patricia Carbajales, who has worked on Stanford University's journalist-friendly database on mass shootings that dates back more than 45 years, and Mark Follman, a senior editor at Mother Jones who led an award-winning investigation on mass ...

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IRE Radio Podcast | Hazardous Health Care

It's not easy prying information out of hospitals and health departments. On our podcast this week we’ll hear from journalists who successfully negotiated for the data or documents they needed to fuel an investigation. Here’s the lineup:

  • Gary Dotson of the Belleville News-Democrat shares the paper’s 2012 story about the state’s failure to investigate after disabled adults living at home died from abuse or neglect.
  • Robin Fields of ProPublica explains how she successfully argued for data on dialysis facilities across the country.
  • Ellen Gabler of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses “Deadly Delays,” an investigation that ...
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AUDIO: How to structure your story

You've done all of your reporting and now it's time to write, but how do you structure your story?

Jacqui Banaszynski, winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing, explored this issue during the 2014 IRE Conference in San Francisco, demystifying the process and offering insight on how to think beyond the traditional inverted pyramid format.

One useful structuring device is the broken – or woven – narrative, which allows journalists the ability to weave together narrative material (scenes, characters, dialogue) with expository information. Banaszynski cites Alex Kotlowitz’s book “There Are No Children Here” as an example of ...

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IRE Radio Podcast | Policing the Players

You don’t have to be a full-time sports reporter to investigate athletes. This week we’re looking at sports investigations on several levels: college, military and professional. Join us for tips on getting around secretive athletics departments and digging deeper when players get in trouble. Here’s the lineup:

  • Tom Roeder of the Colorado Springs Gazette discusses “Broken Code,” his investigation into the Air Force Academy’s athletics program.
  • Jill Riepenhoff of the Columbus Dispatch explains how she tracked speeding tickets of Ohio State athletes.
  • Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today Sports talks about investigating football team doctors.

You can ...

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AUDIO: Tips for getting key sources to talk

Investigative reporters spend months on story basics, building data and documents. But without the right sources, even the most telling facts can read a bit, well, boring.

With that in mind, four battle-tested investigative reporters spoke at the 2014 IRE Conference on the topic of building trust with sources. Ellen Gabler, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Tony Kovaleski, of NBC Bay Area; and Andres Cediel, who produced the recent documentary “Rape in the Fields,” used their own experiences to discuss strategies for getting people to talk.

Kovaleski stressed the importance of building a relationship by meeting as many times as ...

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