Delving into crime data and finding flaws

By Zachary Matson and Meredith Turk Steve Thompson, from The Dallas Morning News, speaks during the panel “Juking the stats? Delve into your police department’s FBI crime data to find flaws” on Thursday. Photo: Travis Hartman. When it comes to FBI crime statistics, “I can’t think of a number that means more to a community…

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Fraud in the classroom: Cooking the books to make grades better

Test scores rocketed and plunged over several years at Annette Officer Elementary School in East St. Louis, Ill., often a telltale sign of tampering. The school district determined that cheating was “accepted practice. Photo: Hyosub Shin, AJC In Atlanta, 35 educators were indicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, all but three of whom…

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A case for why journalists should learn statistics

Last weekend I flew to Phoenix for the IRE boot camp in statistics hosted at Arizona State University.  Three days and 52 cups of coffee later, I can spot statistical significance. I can run a linear regression on a dependent and independent variable, and I might even be able to tell you what an R-Square…

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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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Transparency Watch: Yearlong quest for open records yields story on million dollar spending

This is the first post under Transparency Watch, 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 Laura Bischoff, The Dayton Daily News The Dayton Daily News published a hard hitting Sunday story on…

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Behind the story: Who Can Vote?

By Leonard Downie Jr. Weil Family Professor of Journalism, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication                 The News21 national investigation of voting rights in the U. S., which was launched August 12 on its own website, votingrights.news21.com, and in news media around the country, began early this year with a video-conferenced spring semester…

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Improve your skills with data-focused sessions at IRE ’12

If you’re planning to come to the IRE Conference in Boston next month, we’ve got a strong line-up of data-focused panels and hands-on training sessions that you won’t want to miss. A major focus of Thursday — the conference pre-day — is dedicated to computer-assisted reporting. We’ll have sessions on negotiating for data, analyzing unstructured…

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IRE Showcase Panel: The ethical landscape after News Corp.

After News Corp.: How Far is Too Far in Investigative Reporting Don’t miss this Showcase Panel at the 2012 IRE Conference next month in Boston. Join panelists Alan Rusbridger, executive editor of The Guardian; David Carr of The New York Times; Brian Ross of ABC News and moderator Leonard Downie Jr. of The Washington Post…

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April membership drive winners announced

Thank you to everyone who participated in our April membership drive.  Congratulations to the three members listed below whose names were drawn.  1st place – John Christie, the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting Complimentary registration to the 2012 IRE Conference in Boston and 3 night’s hotel accommodations  2nd place – Doug Iten, WFTS-TV Tampa-St.…

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