Investigating Big Ag

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Nathan Halverson of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Brant Houston of University of Illinois; Mike McGraw of Kansas City Public Television (KCPT); Pam Dempsey of The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Jun. 24 at 3:15pm
  • Location: Grand Canyon 4-5
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

**Moderated by Pam Dempsey, The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Exploited migrant labor, trade wars, fertilizer and animal pollution, food safety, questionable federal farm energy subsidies -- these are just some of the issues that surround Big Ag today. Couple this with the Trump administration’s policies and practices, and the need for investigations into Big Ag's impact on farmers and consumers becomes even greater. Learn how to cover this topic through public data, documents and expert sources.

Speaker Bios

  • Pam Dempsey is the executive director of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. She is an award-winning journalist who has done investigative reporting and editing on topics including agribusiness, migrant farm workers, health, housing and Native American government. Dempsey, who is an online, print and radio journalist, has developed community engagement programs and investigative reporting workshops. @pamelagdempsey

  • Nathan Halverson is an Emmy Award-winning producer and reporter for Reveal, covering business and finance with a current emphasis on the global food system. He was the principal reporter on Reveal's story about the Chinese government’s involvement in the takeover of America’s largest pork company, Smithfield Foods. He has reported on the water crisis in Yemen, the sinking of California's Central Valley, and water mining in Arizona.

  • Brant Houston is the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois. Before Illinois he was executive director of IRE for more than a decade after 17 years as an award-winning investigative reporter in U.S. newsrooms. He is author of  "Data for Journalists: A Practical Guide to Computer-Assisted Reporting" and co-author of "The Investigative Reporter's Handbook." He works with nonprofit newsrooms and co-founded INN and GIJN. 

  • Mike McGraw is the Hale Center for Journalism's special projects reporter at Kansas City Public Television. He comes to KCPT after a 30-year career on The Kansas City Star's investigations team. He has covered issues as diverse as the business of college sports, art forgery, the beef industry, workplace safety and wrongful convictions.

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