Master Classes

Hone your writing, interviewing and editing skills with our new IRE Conference Master Classes. Veteran reporters and editors will share their tips and strategies during these half-day workshops. Space is limited for these small-group classes.

How to register: You can register for these workshops when you complete your conference registration. Already registered for the conference and want to add a Master Class? Email

Cancellations must be sent via email to All cancellations must be in writing. There is a $15 processing fee for each class until May 25. Refunds will not be given for cancellations after May 25 due to the limited seating in these classes.


Master class: Mastering the interview (Print focus)

**This class is full. Please add your name to the waiting list.

Thursday, June 14, 2:30 – 6 pm

Cost: $25

Teacher: Ken Armstrong, ProPublica

When it comes to interviewing, some reporters are naturals. ProPublica’s Ken Armstrong isn’t one of them. He’ll share the (many) mistakes he’s made and what he’s learned from them. This workshop will move from getting the interview, to conducting the interview, to capitalizing on the interview when it’s time to write.

Topics will include:

  • How — and when — to land a tough interview
  • The power of silence
  • The power of sincerity
  • Interviewing people who have been hurt, and interviewing the people who hurt them
  • How to interview someone who won’t talk to you (and yes, this can be done — sort of)

We will venture, ever so briefly, into the mysterious realm of emotions (open mind, open heart). We’ll challenge some of the conventional wisdom surrounding interviewing (pure hooey, some of it). And we’ll watch outstanding interviewers at work, studying what they do — and, more important, what they don’t do.


Master class: Editing the data story

Friday, June 15, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cost: $25

Teachers: Maud Beelman, The Associated Press; Jennifer LaFleur, Investigative Reporting Workshop

Managing a data project presents challenges for any editor. No matter your comfort level with data, this half-day workshop will give you the foundation you need to help make sure your reporters aren’t running with scissors or spinning their wheels on data projects. Two veteran editors, Jennifer LaFleur of Investigative Reporting Workshop and Maud Beelman of the Associated Press, will guide you through the ins and outs of data journalism from an editor’s point of view, including:

  • How to help reporters find focus for their data stories
  • Being skeptical of data and finding potential pitfalls
  • Verifying analyses and bulletproofing data stories and apps
  • Using data to find human sources and characters for stories
  • Planning the best data workflows for your newsroom

No data experience is necessary for this workshop. Editors/producers and those interested in newsroom management are welcome. Please bring your own laptop.


Master Class: The advanced art of the TV interview (Broadcast focus)

**This class is full. Please add your name to the waiting list.

Friday, June 15, 2:30 – 6 pm

Cost: $25

Teacher: Tisha Thompson, ESPN; Lea Thompson, independent journalist

Handling deniers, liars, whistleblowers, blabbermouths, know-it-alls, media-trained automatons, murderers, celebrities, children, victims and those “taking the fifth.” Using real behind-the-scenes examples, we’ll share techniques on how to plan, prepare and execute the most difficult interviews in investigative reporting, including formats that are often overlooked but need real planning, like hidden camera, news conferences, sit-down confrontations and anonymous interviews.

This class is good for: Those both on and off camera, as we’ll hit on what reporters, producers, MMJs and photographers all need to be thinking about during both one camera and two camera interviews.



Master class: Writing the investigative narrative

**This class is full. Please add your name to the waiting list.

Saturday, June 16, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cost: $25

Teacher: Maria Carrillo, Tampa Bay Times

You’ve gathered data, docs and human sources. Now it’s time to turn your reporting into a story — or a series — that packs a punch. If you’re new to investigative storytelling or want to up your writing game, this workshop is for you.

Veteran editor Maria Carrillo has led some of the best narrative teams in the country. In this half-day workshop, she’ll cover the entire story lifecycle, from reporting to writing to planning for publication. Topics include:

  • Understanding narrative
  • Reporting for story — How to gather the details and scenes that will give your piece emotional power
  • Focus and framing – Finding your way through all that material
  • Self-editing tips and techniques
  • Developing a story team — How to get photographers, artists, designers, digital producers and editors unified behind a common vision

We’ll look at examples of successful stories, pulling back the curtain to see how they came together.