A guide to mastering the investigative interview

Learn the rules, then break them. That’s how to excel in the not-so-delicate art of the investigative interview, according to Julian Sher, a producer of the CBC’s The Fifth Estate. Investigative journalists have their strengths: battling with officials for public records, digging through documents, analyzing Excel spreadsheets. But navigating tough interviews? Well, that can be…

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Tips for investigating child and family issues

Domestic violence, foster care and mental illness are important issues for journalists to cover. But anytime you’re dealing with families and children, there are ethical decisions to consider. We pulled some of our favorite tips and insights from a panel at the 2015 IRE Conference. IRE members can listen to the entire panel online.  …

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IRE Radio Podcast | The Toughest Interview of My Life

There are some phone calls that will always be hard to make as a reporter. Reaching out to grieving relatives in the wake of a death is one of them. On this episode, Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Jeff Meitrodt discusses what it was like to do that over and over again as he pieced together…

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IRE Radio Podcast | BONUS: Interviewing Liars

How do you get the truth out of a liar? On this bonus episode, experts weigh in on just that. You’ll hear from investigative reporter Matt Apuzzo, former CIA polygraph examiner Barry McManus, and former FBI counterterrorism agent Don Borelli. In this audio pulled from the 2015 IRE Conference, the three discuss how to develop…

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AUDIO: Tips for interviewing liars (and everyone else)

The CIA’s former chief polygrapher, an ex-FBI counterterrorism expert and a Pulitzer-winning reporter walk into a bar. Ok, that’s not true. But the three did come together for a panel at IRE’s 2015 conference in Philadelphia called “Interviewing Liars.” Matt Apuzzo, a New York Times reporter who was on the Associated Press team that revealed…

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How to get interviews while staying human

At the 2015 IRE Conference in Philadelphia, Scott Friedman, Keli Rabon, and Scott Zamost gave their best tips for convincing unsure or powerful sources to sit down for television interviews. Here are excerpts from the panel that outline their best pieces of advice. Scott Friedman, a Senior Investigative Reporter at NBC5/Dallas-Fort Worth, spells out his…

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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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How to build trust and get reluctant sources to talk

By Laura Rena Murray Ellen Gabler of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tony Kovaleski of NBC Bay Area, Ellen Weiss of Scripps Washington Bureau and documentary producer Andrés Cediel discussed cautionary steps to consider when identifying sources and offered advice on getting reluctant sources to speak at the IRE Conference in San Francisco. Key recommendations for…

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Behind the Story: How USA TODAY pieced together a confidential FBI database to count fugitives who go free

Brad Heath Lamont Pride was a wanted man the day he fatally shot a New York City police officer during a 2011 robbery. Officials had already passed up opportunities to lock up Pride, who was wanted in connection with a North Carolina shooting. And when the fugitive appeared in a Brooklyn court on a drug…

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In a big freelance project, a little organization up front goes a long way

By the time I sat down to write the 6,000 word article I’d been reporting for the past several months, I was ready to quit. I had over 50 interviews, thousands of pages of documents and reports, contact information and source names all stored across my phone, random word documents, email drafts, and actual paper…

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