A crucial duty of a journalist is to serve the public interest by acting as a watchdog on government and business. This duty has become all the more important at a time when governments are restricting the flow of information. At such times, broadcast and print journalists must redouble their efforts to use freedom-of-information laws to obtain public documents and help the public appreciate the value of such laws.
About the workshops
The Watchdog Workshop series brings affordable training to cities around the U.S. Use the schedule below to find a session near you, or contact IRE if you're interested in bringing one to your area. IRE's staff teams up with veteran journalists to lead the training.
Journalists who attend IRE Watchdog Workshops get their investigative batteries recharged. Reporters, editors and producers return to their newsrooms with:
- Hard-hitting story ideas.
- Databases and documents to explore on their beat.
- Useful websites and strategies for using Internet tools such as wikis, blogs, robots and RSS feeds.
- Techniques for more effective sourcing and interviewing.
- Advice on how to bulletproof stories for accuracy.
- Tips on dealing with freedom of information laws and public records in their state.
- Topic-specific training that changes depending on the news of the day and the needs of local news organizations.
Top-notch investigative journalists from around the country team with IRE trainers to provide a workshop filled with inspiration as well as tangible tips and resources. Previous speakers have included reporters and editors from The New York Times, WTTG-Washington, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and dozens of other news organizations.
Most workshops also feature hands-on spreadsheet training.
Jamie DeLoma, a news editor for WNBC.com in New York, described a Watchdog Workshop in Connecticut as well worth his time: “I was shocked at how quickly the day went by. It was really packed full of a very diverse and eclectic group of topics, ideas and insights.”
Find or schedule a workshop
Check the training calendar for a watchdog workshop near you, or contact IRE training director Jaimi Dowdell to discuss bringing one to your city.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, IRE is now gathering audio, video and other digital training materials from its latest season of watchdog workshops.
Tipsheets and presentations