How journalists cover crime and policing in the wake of Ferguson

By Reade Levinson Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri changed the way journalists cover law enforcement. At the 2016 IRE Conference in New Orleans, civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson joined reporters Oliver Laughland of the Guardian US, Errin Haines Whack of the Associated Press, and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post to discuss what’s next…

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IRE Radio Podcast | The Fairbanks Four

For nearly 15 years, a journalism professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been investigating the case of the Fairbanks Four, a group of men convicted in the 1997 beating death of a teenager. And he hasn’t been working alone. Each year, students in Brian O’Donoghue’s investigative reporting class picked up the case. Their…

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How to look inside the secret world of the juvenile justice system

By Tierra Smith Correctional facilities tend to document everything. But it can be difficult for journalists to get records from the juvenile justice system because cases and incidents involving minors tend to be confidential. Chad Day, a reporter for The Associated Press; Kim English of the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice; and Paula Lavigne, a…

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AUDIO: Tips for interviewing victims of trauma, sexual assault

By Allison Wrabel Reporting on sexual assault has been a topic of discussion in recent years, lately in regard to assaults on college campuses. Speakers participating in a panel at the 2015 IRE Conference discussed best practices for talking to victims, corroborating stories and striking an emotional balance. Sheila S. Coronel, dean of academic affairs…

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A conversation with Jo Ciavaglia of the Bucks County Courier Times

Jo Ciavaglia At the IRE Conference in Philadelphia, 2015 Knight Scholar Amber Johnson talked with attendee Jo Ciavaglia, a crime reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times in Levittown, Pennsylvania. The following Q&A has been edited for clarity. Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?  A: I’m a crime reporter! My favorite part of…

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IRE Radio Podcast | The Problem with Witness Protection

When the Washington, DC police chief bristled over a question about witness executions, Washington Post reporter Cheryl W. Thompson knew she was on to something. On this episode we’ll be talking to Thompson about her investigation into witness killings and intimidation. And for the second half of the show we dug into our audio archives…

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Behind the Story: How the WSJ uncovered a flawed system of reporting police killings

Rob Barry (left) and Coulter Jones (right) Rob Barry and Coulter Jones set out to analyze police killings, not poke holes in the system that tracks them. But when their sources started questioning the way they’d looked at the numbers – questioning, really, the numbers themselves – the two decided there was a more fundamental…

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Behind the Story: New Jersey reporter finds inconsistencies in 2008 death investigation

Chris Baxter Chris Baxter and NJ Advance Media wrestled out a compelling and untold story, let the digital presentation take the lead and came away with a “smashing” investigative success. Using a system he developed to keep tabs on lawsuits involving state police, Baxter came upon the stifled story of Kenwin Garcia, a Newark man…

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Behind the Story: How Chicago Magazine exposed the truth about the city’s crime rates

Chicago Magazine | June 2014 A story that helped change the way Chicagoans digest crime stats started with suspicion. Immersed in a different crime-related piece, Chicago Magazine Features Editor David Bernstein and Contributing Writer Noah Isackson noticed something amiss with the statistics. When their trusted police sources voiced skepticism, the early trappings of an idea…

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NICAR Data Library releases updated DOE campus crime data

The NICAR Database Library has updated the Department of Education’s ​Campus Crime data to include the most recent reports on alleged crime, arrests and discipline reported for 2012.  Buy it here.   What’s in it? The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal law that requires colleges…

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