2014 Iowa City Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication in conjunction with the Mid-America Press Institute

This training will offer several of our core sessions that will improve your ability to find information on the Web quickly, and point you to key documents and data that will help you add depth to your daily work and produce quick-hit enterprise stories. In addition, this workshop will give you tips on bulletproofing stories, digging deeper on the Web with social media, search engines and much more.

These sessions are designed for reporters, editors, and producers from small, midsize and large publications, TV, radio stations, Web-only news sites and news blogs. Freelancers, students and journalism educators are also encouraged to attend.

Join IRE's experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Watchdog Workshop Saturday, April 5. Saturday's training will take place in the English-Philosophy Building, 251 West Iowa Avenue, Room 107, on the University of Iowa Campus.  

Get the tools and the tricks of the trade that you need to be a better, faster, watchdog journalist.

Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training

Sunday, April 6, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  

*Sunday's optional hands-on training will take place in the Adler Journalism Building on the University of Iowa Campus in room W340.

Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Excel, a powerful electronic spreadsheet for deadline and beat reporting on budgets, salaries, election data and more. Also, learn how to dig deeper using the Internet and find valuable datasets for your stories. Class size is limited; register early to reserve a seat on a first-come, first-served basis.

Campus Map

Locations for both Saturday and Sunday's trainings can be found on the University of Iowa campus map.  

Parking

Parking for Saturday is available in the lot west of the main library.  This is a paid lot.  

Workshop Fees (includes a one-year IRE membership, if you are a current IRE member, your membership will be extended by one year. Attendees must meet IRE membership terms)

$55 Professional

$25 Student

$30 Optional Advanced Hands-on Spreadsheet Training

Registration

If you are a current member, please complete your registration online by logging into your member profile.  Once you have logged in, click on my profile, next to the welcome and your name.  Once you are in the members-only side of the database, select conferences and events on the left-hand side of the screen under my profile, then select the 2014 Iowa City Watchdog Workshop.  

If your membership has expired or you are not currently an IRE member, you can still register for the workshop online.  Click here

Workshop Evaluations

Attendees can access the workshop evaluation online or we will have paper copies available at the registration desk on Saturday if you would like to complete it the day of the workshop.  We appreciate feedback from attendees as this allows us to improve the program and provide feedback to our funders.

Time and place

Saturday, Apr. 5, 2014 - Sunday, Apr. 6, 2014

University of Iowa
251 West Iowa Avenue
Iowa City, Iowa 52242


Registration information

Registration for this event is open! Click here to begin.

Hurry! Registration closes on Sunday, Apr. 6 at 9:00am.


Schedule details

  • Panel

    Intro and The Web for investigations

    Speaker: Mark Horvit of University of Missouri

    What reporters and editors need to know. From better search techniques to the invisible Web, how to find documents and databases on deadline and where to find reliable websites for enterprise stories. The craft of better searching and not wasting time. Handling issues of credibility and ethics online.

    English-Philosophy Building - Room 107

    9:00 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    The art of the interview

    Speaker: Lisa Parker of NBC 5 Chicago

    Learn the best ways to approach sources, prepare and handle the interview process. Advice for conducting video interviews for your website. Plenty of tips and strategies for handling tough situations, ethical trouble spots, etc.

    English-Philosophy Building - Room 107

    10:30 am - 11:30 am

  • Panel

    Investigating caregivers

    Speaker: Meg Kissinger of Columbia University

    How does your health care system stack up against others? Learn how to quantify care. What measures add to a better understanding? Which ones do not? What do you do with the information once you've got it? Learn how to put a human face -- or (even better) many human faces -- behind those numbers. 

    English-Philosophy Building - Room 107

    11:40 am - 12:40 pm

  • Panel

    Fighting successful open records battles

    Speakers: Erin Jordan of The Gazette (Cedar Rapids); Stephen Berry of University of Iowa; Mark Horvit of University of Missouri

    How to use federal and state laws. How to write an open-records request the right way. How to appeal and challenge denials. How to keep a steady flow of information and ideas coming into the newsroom by using FOI.

    **Moderated by Mark Horvit, IRE

    English-Philosophy Building - Room 107

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Transparency in action: Pinpointing influence of money in state politics

    Speaker: Denise Roth Barber of National Institute on Money in State Politics

    The massive, free database of campaign contributions in all 50 states at the National Institute on Money in State Politics provides an invaluable resource for journalists, and the Institute is launching a new, easy-to-navigate website. Learn to mine the resources at FollowTheMoney.org. Develop story ideas on the spot. Explore and investigate elected officials' connections to lobbyists and their client companies, special-issue groups and influential individuals. Pull back the curtain to reveal powerful influences on state politics and policy. Add depth to 2014 elections stories, and keep your blog fresh with free APIs, widgets, and data downloads.

    English-Philosophy Building - Room 107

    3:15 pm - 4:15 pm

  • Panel

    Documents you can't live without/Wrap-up

    Speaker: Mark Horvit of University of Missouri

    Move beyond anecdotes and he-said, she-said journalism with data and documents. Advice on developing a documents state of mind, navigating public records, understanding records retention schedules, exploring key records on a variety of beats, and becoming familiar with key data sets to produce high-impact local stories.

    English-Philosophy Building - Room 107

    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training

    Speaker: Mark Horvit of University of Missouri

    Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Excel, a powerful electronic spreadsheet for deadline and beat reporting on budgets, salaries, election data and more. Also learn how to dig deeper using the Internet and find valuable datasets for your stories. Class size is limited; register early to reserve a seat on a first-come, first-served basis.

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    Adler Journalism Building - Room W340

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm