Pop-up Panels

2015 Calendar

June 1 – June 4: Submit a session online.

June 5: Vote for sessions online.

June 5: Winners will be notified via email around 5 p.m. Sessions will be announced online and advertised on site at the conference hotel.

June 6: Pop-up panels take place from 4:50 – 5:50 p.m.

IRE Conference pop-up panels (formerly IRE by Design) are back for a second year! Questions? Email Sarah Hutchins at [email protected].

Here’s the idea: Even with more than 150 sessions, we often hear from attendees who wish we’d had just one more session on a topic we missed. So we saved some space in the program to try and rectify that. On Saturday afternoon, we’ve set aside four 60-minute panel sessions and we’re asking you to design the programming.

Here’s how it works: Come up with an idea for a session you’d like to present. You are responsible for contacting suggested speakers for your session and making sure they are available. Pitch your idea online between June 1 and 4. We’ll open up online voting on June 5 and give you one day to vote for the sessions you want to see. The four panels with the most votes at 4 p.m. on June 5 will earn spots on the schedule. We’ll email the winners and announce them on our website and Twitter. There will also be signs posted around the conference hotel. If your session is chosen, you’ll have 24 hours to prepare and line up speakers.



Vote for the sessions you’d like to see. The top four earn spots on the schedule. Cast your vote by 5 p.m. Friday.



I pitched a panel called “Managing your manager and wrangling your calendar,” which spoke to the busy beats that most reporters have these days. For the panel I recruited Newsday investigations director Matt Doig, NBC 4 investigative producer Rick Yarborough and independent journalist Nanci Wilson. We had two managers (Doig and Wilson) and two reporters (Yarborough and myself). With our wide experience in broadcast and print media, we were able to give advice I think even the panelists wished we’d had earlier in our careers.

– Kate Martin, The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)


We pitched a session on covering agribusiness and invited three of our media partners to discuss story ideas, data sources and human sources on agribusiness and related topics – such as the environment, labor and food. What worked for us is that we offered a topic not already well covered by IRE and experts who regularly cover these issues across different platforms – print, online and radio. We had about 15 – 20 attendees and our format was a quick 10-minute presentation by our experts and then open discussion.

– Pam Dempsey, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting


I moderated a #FOIAFriday session about reforming the law and what changes journalists should urge the FOIA Modernization Advisory Committee to consider. It featured a pair of journalists and a lawyer who discussed common roadblocks to getting plainly public information. I thought it would be a great way to get a small but passionate group in the same room together to figure out how to make FOIA stronger. We had an interesting conversation that, unlike most panels at the conference, was dictated by questions from the audience. This allowed us to explore very specific issues and problems. It also had the added bonus of boosting participation in #FOIAFriday on Twitter, which has been going strong every week since.

– Matt Drange, The Center for Investigative Reporting