Events and Training

Chattanooga Watchdog Workshop

Host: Chattanooga Times Free Press

IRE is bringing its highly rated Better Watchdog Workshop to Chattanooga.

We’ll offer several of our core sessions that will improve your ability to find information on the Web quickly, point you to key documents that will help you produce quick-hit enterprise stories and give you tips on the best approaches when conducting interviews or developing sources.

In addition, this workshop will give you tips on how to bulletproof stories, how to deal with freedom of information laws and public records, and useful Web sites and strategies for using Internet tools such as wikis, blogs, robots and RSS feeds.

These sessions are designed for reporters, editors and producers from small, midsize and large publications and TV stations and Web-only news sites and news blogs. Join IRE’s experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Better Watchdog Workshop April 13.

Expected speakers include Jack Gillum, The Associated Press; Judy Walton, Chattanooga Times Free Press; Phil Williams, WTVF-Nashville; Bruce C. Bailey, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. Aaron Diamant, WSB-TV and Jaimi Dowdell of IRE/NICAR. 

Get the tools and the tricks of the trade that you need to be a better, faster, watchdog journalist.

Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training

Sat., April 14, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Excel, a powerful electronic spreadsheet for deadline and beat reporting on budgets, salaries, and election data. Also learn how to dig deeper using the Internet and find valuable datasets for your stories. Class size is limited; register early to reserve a seat on a first-come, first-served basis.

Saturday's optional computer-assisted reporting training will take place at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Frist Hall, Room 203, 801 Oak Street, Chattanooga, TN, 37403.  Parking is available around Frist Hall.

PDF Registration

Use this PDF registration form to send credit card orders by fax (573-882-5431), or mail the form with your check or credit card payment to IRE, 141 Neff Annex, MO School of Journalism, Columbia, MO 65211. On-site registrations are accepted if space is available: bring completed registration form and payment.

Please note: You must be a current IRE member to register online. If you are not a current IRE member, please register via the PDF registration form.

Parking Information:

Friday: Free parking is available to attendees. There are two parking lots available across the street from the building, on both sides of Foster Street.   

Saturday: Parking is available at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga near Frist Hall.

Recommended Hotels:

Sheraton Read House, 827 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN  37402, (423) 266-4121

Chattanoogan Hotel, 1201 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402, (800) 619-0018


Time and place

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 E. 11th Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37403


Registration information

Registration for this event is open! Click here to begin.

Hurry! Registration closes on Friday, April 6 at 5 p.m..


Schedule details

  • Panel

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    9 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

  • Panel

    Digging deeper with data and documents

    Move beyond anecdotes and he-said, she-said journalism with data and documents. Advice on developing a documents state of mind, navigating public records, understanding records retention schedules, exploring key records on a variety of beats, and becoming familiar with key national data sets to produce high-impact local stories.

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

  • Panel

    FOI/Open Records

    How to use federal and state laws. How to write an open records request the right way. How to appeal and challenge denials. How to keep a steady flow of information and ideas coming into the newsroom by using FOI.

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

  • Panel

    Covering elections

    From backgrounding candidates to analyzing campaign finance data, this session will tell you what you need to know.

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

  • Panel

    Effective use of the Internet

    What reporters and editors need to know. From better search techniques to the invisible Web, how to find documents and databases on deadline and where to find reliable Web sites for enterprise stories. The craft of better searching and not wasting time. Handling issues of credibility and ethics online.

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

  • Panel

    The art of the interview

    Learn the best ways to approach sources, prepare and handle the interview process. Advice for conducting video interviews for your Web site. Plenty of tips and strategies for handling tough situations, ethical trouble-spots, etc.

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

  • Panel

    Investigating disasters

    We'll discuss resources to help your newsroom be ready to take your coverage to the next level in the event of a disaster. We'll also look at the documents necessary to investigate disaster preparedness in your community.

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

  • Panel

    Seminar Room, 2nd Floor

    5 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Hands-on

    Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training

    Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Excel, a powerful electronic spreadsheet for deadline and beat reporting on budgets, salaries, and Census data.  Also learn how to dig deeper using the Internet and find valuable datasets for your stories.  Class size is limited; register early to reserve a seat on a first-come, first-served basis. 

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    Frist Hall - Room 203

    9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.