Mobile apps for investigative journalists

Journalists can now carry many of the essential reporting tools — camera, voice recorder, notepad, phone, police scanner — with them in one hand-held device. But that same device can carry a police scanner, a document scanner, a photo editor, a video camera and a flight tracker. You can record audio and take time-stamped notes.…

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Behind The Story: Analyzing and mapping salary data for small-town mayors

In August, reporter Kate Martin of the Skagit Valley Herald analyzed salary data for mayors across Washington state and ended up with a story about mayors from small towns in her coverage area — Mount Vernon and Anacortes — who had salaries on par with mayors from cities several times larger. In reporting the story,…

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Bloomberg reporters find FOIA failures in Obama administration

Transparency Watch is an occasional series from IRE tracking the fight for open records. If you have a story about a quest for public records you’d like to share, email us at web@ire.org. By Danielle Ivory, Bloomberg President Barack Obama on his first full day in office ordered federal officials to “usher in a new era of open…

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Scranton Workshop: Invaluable investigative tools

By Christopher Dolan, University of Scranton From the art of the interview to “Facebook creeping,” we learned many invaluable investigative tools at IRE’s Scranton Watchdog Workshop. During the day-long event, various expert investigative journalists taught the tricks and techniques needed when hunting down a good story. Tisha Thompson from WRC-Washington had many tips for crafting a…

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Behind the Story: How the marketing of Oxycontin trumped science

For more than a year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has been investigating prescription drugs and the dangerous side effects of using opioids ot treat chronic pain. The latest installment of the series tracks the lives of chronic pain sufferers who praised the drug in a 1998 promotional video. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters John Fauber and…

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Philip Meyer Journalism Awards Call For Entry

Enter the 2012 Philip Meyer Journalism contest for your chance to win $500. Are you proud of a computer-assisted reporting story you’ve done this past year? Do you have a keen eye for great watchdog stories and the ability to combine that with social science research methods? If so, enter into the Philip Meyer Journalism…

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Finishing the CAR story, overcoming initial hurdles

By Laura KrantzGatehouse Media This summer I attended my first IRE conference, in Boston. I really wanted to learn Microsoft Excel skills and I did, thanks to patient IRE staff. But more importantly, I was inspired by all the ruthless journalists using creative ways to mine for data and writing compelling stories. I left itching to…

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Behind the Story: Disproportionate lending by race discovered with data

Photo credit:Joanne Lawton/Washington Business Journal It’s one thing to say African American entrepreneurs are recovering from the economic downturn slower than white entrepreneurs, it’s another to explain why.  That’s what Washington Business Journal reporter Bryant Switzky did using a database from the Small Business Administration and other datasets related to the Community Reinvestment Act. “The…

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Ghost Factories: Behind the Story and Interactive

By Anthony DeBarros USA TODAY In April, after USA TODAY published its Ghost Factories investigation into forgotten lead smelters, we heard from several people who wanted to know more about how the project came together — particularly the online package that included details on more than 230 of the former factories. The following is an…

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IRE members donate Pulitzer Prize money for training

Michael Berens and Ken Armstrong both had extraordinary resumes before winning the Pulitzer Prize last week. Each of the reporters for The Seattle Times had produced investigations that won a long list of prizes, including multiple IRE Awards. The work honored by the Pulitzer judges — “Methadone and the Politics of Pain” — had already…

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