On the Road : September 2010

Dig into local leaders

By Doug Haddix, IRE training director

Reporters should make one to three calls a day to sources whom they don’t need for a deadline story. That’s the most effective way to develop sources who’ll come through for you later with ideas and help, according to Ryan Gabrielson of California Watch. Gabrielson spoke during an IRE Better Watchdog Workshop last weekend at San Francisco State University. He covers public safety issues at California Watch, a project of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. While working at the East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Ariz., he and reporting partner Paul ...

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IRE census training in Vegas plus webinars

Investigative Reporters and Editors will present a half-day census workshop Oct. 4 during the SPJ national convention in Las Vegas. Full details are online at http://www.spj.org/c-halfday.asp. USA TODAY database editor Paul Overberg and IRE training director Doug Haddix will lead the in-depth sessions. You’ll leave with story ideas, a better understanding of how to use the data, and details about the ongoing American Community Survey for rich demographic information down to the neighborhood level. In addition, IRE has scheduled two full-day census workshops this fall: Read more ...

Quick fix to tame PDFs

By Jaimi Dowdell, IRE training director

A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching at a computer-assisted reporting boot camp in San Diego. The class had been through spreadsheets and databases, and I was finally demonstrating how to deal with pdf's. After showing some online options, I walked the class through my old stand-by: XPDF.

If you've used it before, you know that once you get the hang of it, it's quite simple. But learning it for the first time can be a bit daunting, as it uses the command line. That's right, I said: The ...

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