On the Road : February 2009

Custom training provides inroads to good journalism

When asked why, during a slowing economy and troubled time for newspapers, Rob Dean decided to provide customized IRE training for his staff and other journalists from across New Mexico and Colorado, the managing editor of The Santa Fe New Mexican said he wanted to inspire young journalists to embrace and pursue their craft. See our slideshow above for more from Dean, along with some photos from the customized training, which occurred Feb. 5-7.

Santa Fe paper focuses on watchdog work

Only a local news organization can hold institutions and individuals in a community accountable, so journalists need to be equipped for the job, says Rob Dean, managing editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican. That’s why the newspaper sponsored custom IRE training for its staff in early February. "In the last three days, I think we’ve gotten a set of skills that allows us not to be intimidated by the enormity of the project or the pressure of time," Dean said. "Using the tools of the information age, data that’s available, we can get deeply into a ... Read more ...

New to CAR? Share your data, get feedback

If you're new to plumbing spreadsheets and databases, it's likely that you might exhibit some anxiety about your new found skills. But take it from a seasoned professional, Maurice Tamman of The Wall Street Journal, don't hesitate to share your data and check your work. Even if it means phoning up a competitor to see if you are drawing fair conclusions about a particular dataset, it's better to get feedback than to publish a story on a poor assumption. Listing to Tamman give his advice to journalists just starting out in the realm of computer-assisted reporting ... Read more ...

Be fair to sources, don't rough them up

When conducting an interview — or attempting to extract information from public officials who are less than forthright — it's essential to be fair and upfront about your needs. While Tisha Thompson, a reporter for WTTG in Washington D.C., doesn't hesitate to sit herself on public officials' door steps at 6 a.m. to get the story, she tries very hard to make sure it doesn't come to that. Listen to Thompson share more of her tips on the art of the interview and dealing with a tight-lipped source. Related posts: Handling anonymous tipsters.

Maurice Tamman: CAR really bulletproofs a story

At the New Haven, Conn., Better Watchdog Workshop, Maurice Tamman of The Wall Street Journal shared his thoughts on why skills in computer-assisted reporting can help strengthen and legitimize a story. At the IRE workshop, which provides journalists with instruction on the tools needed to be better watchdog journalists, Tamman provided participants with an introduction to computer-assisted reporting and explained how using electronic files and databases provides readers with a fuller account of an issue without relying solely on anecdotal evidence.