IRE Radio

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.

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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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IRE Radio Podcast | The dark side of the oil & gas boom

Think oil and gas stories are just for reporters in a few key states? Think again. There are more than 1.1 million active oil and gas wells in 36 states. On this podcast we’ll explore the dark side of the oil and gas boom with journalists who have investigated elements of the industry. Here’s the lineup:

  • Bob Marshall of The Lens discusses his reporting on "Losing Ground," a multimedia project that visualizes and explains the deterioration of the Louisiana coastline.
  • Blake Morrison of Reuters talks about an investigation into Chesapeake Energy Corporation.
  • Ed Williams of KDNK, a ...
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AUDIO: The data-driven story from start to finish

New to data reporting? Anthony Cormier, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Jaeah Lee, Mother Jones; Rob O’Dell, The Arizona Republic; and Shawn McIntosh, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution walked journalists through their tips at the 2014 IRE Conference.


Make it your job to develop good reporting habits. Keep track of data in relation to your reporting, like bankruptcy filings for business reporters or communication logs from cop cars if you cover crime. Cormier explains:

Instead of only being familiar with open-records laws, also check out the rules that regulate what you’re reporting on, Cormier said. With banks, that could be financial regulation laws ...

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IRE Radio Podcast | Scrutinizing your schools

This week we bring you an education-themed podcast in two acts. First we’ll talk about campus coverage, specifically investigations into Title IX and sexual assault. In Act II we’ll turn to K-12 education with a piece on school segregation. Here’s the lineup:

  • Paula Lavigne and Nicole Noren of ESPN talk about their investigation into Title IX complaints on college campuses.
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica discusses the state of school segregation 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

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

 

EPISODE NOTES

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IRE Radio Podcast | Beyond Breaking News

When a story breaks, speed is key. But so are depth, context and accuracy. So how do you cover the news while simultaneously digging deeper? This week we’re talking about investigating breaking news. Our speakers will cover everything from identifying sources on the scene to developing a plan for watchdog coverage. Here’s the lineup:

  • Scott Friedman from KXAS-TV in Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas explains the station’s three-step process for turning breaking news coverage into an ongoing and in-depth investigation.
  • Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of the Washington Post, talks about how the paper got creative to find ...
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AUDIO: The FERPA exception every reporter should know

Sexual assault cases are never easy to cover, and when a university is involved, the challenges become even greater. Victims are sometimes reluctant to talk. Administrators often refuse to do interviews, citing FERPA. But that doesn’t mean these cases are impossible to cover.

At the IRE Conference in San Francisco this summer Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times offered some tips for reporting around FERPA. The first step, he said, is to focus on the system, not the individual. A reporter’s goal shouldn’t be to prove that someone did something wrong. Journalists are better off investigating ...

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IRE Radio Podcast | Building chemistry in your newsroom

A good reporter-editor relationship can make or break your investigative project. This week is all about building chemistry in the newsroom. Here’s the lineup:

  • Alexandra Zayas and Chris Davis of the Tampa Bay Times talk about working together on the 2012 series “In God’s Name.”
  • Alison Young and John Hillkirk of USA TODAY walk through some of the key moments in their work on “Supplemental Shell Game,” a multi-platform project on dietary supplement firms run by people with criminal backgrounds.
  • Kate Martin, Nanci Wilson and Matthew Doig share tips for pitching investigative stories and managing project time.

You ...

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