Investigating disability issues (Sponsored by National Center on Disability and Journalism)

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Michael Berens of Thomson Reuters; Jennifer LaFleur of Investigative Reporting Workshop; Brian Rosenthal of The New York Times; Kristin Gilger of Arizona State University
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 23 at 10:15am
  • Location: Grand Canyon 1-3
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

Countless untold stories abound involving those with disabilities. From children to adults, spanning local transportation to state education to a federal program that relocates vulnerable people to less expensive places, panelists will reveal tips and techniques for how to tackle these stories in your own newsroom.


Speaker Bios

  • Michael J. Berens is a investigative reporter on the national team at Thomson Reuters. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2012, and has been a finalist three times, most recently in 2017, among many national honors. Newspaper ink runs his blood - The Columbus Dispatch, The Seattle Times & Chicago Tribune. He began as a copy boy, grabbing papers off the press, delivering the editor's lunch, and setting up the office Christmas tree.

  • Kristin Gilger is senior associate dean and Reynolds Professor in Business Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She oversees the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Cronkite School. She was previously deputy managing editor for news at The Arizona Republic, managing editor of the Salem (Ore.) Statesman Journal, and served in several editing roles at the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans, La. @kristingilger

  • Jennifer LaFleur is the Investigative Reporting Workshop's data editor and teaches at American University. She previously was a senior editor at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where she managed a team of data journalists, investigative reporters and fellows. She is the former data journalism director at ProPublica and has held similar roles at newspapers. She is a former IRE training director and serves on IRE's board.

  • Brian M. Rosenthal is a metro investigative reporter at the The New York Times. Previously, he covered government for The Houston Chronicle and The Seattle Times. He was part of the reporting team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. He also was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for a series that exposed that Texas was denying special education services to thousands of kids with disabilities. He is a member of IRE's board of directors

Related Tipsheets

  • Finding stories: Vulnerable and Voiceless
    Some information sources harbor countless story possibilities. Here’s a rough map to a rich trove of enterprise and watchdog stories – a destination different in each state – where X marks a little-known federal program devoted to the mass relocation of tens of thousands of vulnerable adults.

  • Investigating Disability Issues
    This presentation from IRE 2017 contains lots of useful information on law and transportation for reporting on disability issues.