Putting your community under a microscope--and keeping it there

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: James Barragan of The Dallas Morning News; Morgan Cook of San Diego Union-Tribune; Chris Hepp of The Philadelphia Inquirer; Brett Murphy of USA TODAY Network
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Jun. 24 at 11:30am
  • Location: Grand Canyon 8
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

**Moderated by Brett Murphy, Naples Daily News

Three journalists will show you the best ways to hold local institutions to account – with new and old tricks. They'll discuss finding investigations, mining underappreciated public records and building your own databases.

Speaker Bios

  • James Barragán is a state government reporter at the Dallas Morning News, covering immigration, border security, policing and voting issues. Prior to that, he was a community affairs reporter at the Austin American-Statesman where he covered gentrification, homelessness and nonprofits. He has a deep interest in covering Latino issues and telling the stories of that community in relevant ways. @James_Barragán

  • Morgan Cook is a member of The San Diego Union-Tribune's investigative reporting team. She previously worked on the watchdog team at The Orange County Register, covering subjects including public pension systems, public utilities, campaign finance, healthcare, conflicts of interest, local and county government, municipal finance and transportation. At the North County Times, she reported for the public safety and regional news desks.

  • Chris Hepp is the deputy editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer's Investigative team. Specifically, he manages the Quick Strike Team of three reporters charged with quick turnaround investigations. Over 30 years at the Inquirer, he covered politics and City Hall as a reporter and been _ twice _ City Editor.

  • Brett Murphy (@brettmmurphy) is a reporter on USA Today’s investigations desk. He’s also an adjunct journalism professor at George Washington University. Murphy co-founded Local Matters, a weekly newsletter curating the best local investigative reporting around the country. Murphy has won numerous journalism awards and was a 2018 Pulitzer finalist for his series on worker exploitation in the port trucking industry. He is based in Washington, D.C.

Related Tipsheets

  • Putting your community under a microscope – and keeping it there
    Everyone here has more to do and less time to do it, so efficiency is key. Here are some key multi-purpose documents that can help you in a pinch – whether you need to quickly find details about systems in local government, you need to link together people or businesses, or you just need a quick-hit watchdog story to keep your editor off your back while you pursue larger investigations.