On the Road : August 2010

Be active with records requests

By Doug Haddix, IRE training director

Getting public records often takes far more effort than filing a written request and simply waiting for the juicy documents to arrive. “It’s reporting, not requesting,” says Shawn McIntosh, public editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The best reporters realize that a written public-records request usually is just one step to get the information they need, she told participants in an IRE Better Watchdog Workshop hosted by CNN in Atlanta. In most cases, reporters need to keep working sources, finding ways around obstacles and navigating through bureaucracies. She offered a variety of practical tips ...

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Sharpen your interviewing skills

By Doug Haddix, IRE training director

Studies have shown that the actual words account for only about 7 percent of communication between two people, according to Amy Herdy of the University of Colorado. Body language makes up 55 percent of communication, with tone accounting for the other 38 percent, she told journalists during a recent IRE Better Watchdog Workshop in Denver. For instance, she said, reporters and producers should not approach a reluctant source with a notebook or microphone in hand. Be aware that the tools of the trade can intimidate sources. Persuade them to be interviewed first, and only ...

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Fall webinar lineup

By Jaimi Dowdell, IRE training director

Tap in to practical training from your home or office with IRE's online sessions. This fall we're rolling out a series of webinars led by experienced journalists and IRE trainers. Topics include Broadcast investigations, Twitter for journalists, Doing great work with limited resources and Corral and analyze text with DocumentCloud. A brief description of each session is listed below.

For more information, or to register go here. Aug. 26, 2010 Broadcast investigations Join Tisha Thompson of WTTG-Washington, D.C. to find out how documents and computer-assisted reporting can juice up your stories ...

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Make chronologies easier with TimeFlow

By Jaimi Dowdell, IRE training director

If you've ever been involved in an investigative story or in-depth project, you understand how important chronology can be. I’ve often sketched timelines on notebooks, napkins or white boards. For trickier tasks or more data, I've turned to Excel, but I've never been completely satisfied with how it works.

TimeFlow, released last week, just might change all that. Funded by Duke University, the minds behind this project include IRE Board member Sarah Cohen, Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg. It’s free and open source; you can find it here. To ...

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