2016 Houston Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: Houston Chronicle

IRE will offer several of its core sessions, designed to improve your ability to find information on the Web quickly, point you to critical documents and data for more depth in your daily work and help you produce quick-hit enterprise stories. Workshop sessions will also give you tips on how to negotiate for records, get sources to open up 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 Friday, August 5th from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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

This program is made possible thanks to support from the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting hands-on training

*This event is full please contact Tricia at Tricia@ire.org to be put on the waiting list

Saturday, August 6th from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

*You will need to bring your own laptop with excel already downloaded to participate in this hands on training. If you have questions you can contact training@ire.org

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.

Parking

Parking is available on the east and west side of the Houston Chronicle 

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 Computer-Assisted Reporting Training (hands-on)

Registration Information

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, select conferences and events on the left-hand side of the screen and the 2016 Houston Watchdog Workshop.

*This workshop is full, to be put on a waiting list please e-mail Tricia at tricia@ire.org.

Cancellations must be sent via email to Tricia Morgan, Tricia@ire.org. There is a $25 processing fee for professionals ($10 for students) for cancellations until the day before the event.

Refunds will not be given for cancellations on the day of, or after the event.

Workshop evaluations

Attendees can access the workshop evaluation online. We appreciate feedback from attendees as this allows us to improve the program and provide feedback to our funders.

Time and place

Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 - Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016

Houston Chronicle
4747 Southwest Fwy
Houston, Texas 77027



Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and overview of the workshop.

    Speaker: Mark Horvit of University of Missouri

    See printed schedule for room information

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    Finding stuff online: A journalist's guide to tracking down information.

    Speaker: Mark Horvit of University of Missouri

    There is more to Web research than Google (though Google is nice). In this fast-paced session you'll learn tricks for discovering information online using Google advanced searches, lesser-known search engines, deep web searches and more. 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.

    See printed schedule for room information

    9:15 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    The art of storytelling.

    Speaker: Ken Armstrong of ProPublica

    Where to start? How to nail that ending? What to put where? Storytelling vexes even the most experienced writers. In this session, Ken Armstrong will share lessons learned from writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.” Topics of discussion will include suspense, voice, shifts in perspective, jumps in time, and layers of reveal.

    See printed schedule for room information

    10:30 am - 11:30 am

  • Panel

    FOI/Open Records.

    Speakers: Jeremy Rogalski of KHOU-Houston; Joseph Larsen of Gregor Cassidy PLLC

    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.

    See printed schedule for room information

    11:40 am - 12:40 pm

  • Outside Event

    See printed schedule for room information

    12:40 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Panel

    Backgrounding candidates.

    Speaker: Sonia Van Meter of Stanford Caskey

    Learn the skills to thoroughly background politicians. Beyond the basics, this session will help you understand how to dig deeper with property records and more.

    See printed schedule for room information

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Conceiving, organizing and visualizing an investigation.

    Speakers: John Harden of The Washington Post; Lauren Sweeney of WINK-Fort Myers

    How to aim high and avoid the belly flop. Getting ideas and making sure the best ones float to the top. Strategies for taking an idea and turning it into a project. What you should do every time you start an investigation. Plus practical advice on how to stay on track, what questions to ask and how to make sure your stories are interesting.

    See printed schedule for room information

    3:10 pm - 4:10 pm

  • Panel

    Getting an investigative mindset.

    Speaker: Lise Olsen of Houston Chronicle

    Digging deeper with data and documents. 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.

    See printed schedule for room information

    4:20 pm - 5:20 pm

  • Panel

    Wrapup/What IRE can do for you.

    Speaker: Mark Horvit of University of Missouri

    See printed schedule for room information

    5:20 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Optional computer-assisted reporting training

    Speakers: Mark Horvit of University of Missouri; Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    *You will need to bring your own laptop with excel already downloaded to participate in this hands on training. 

    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.

    See printed schedule for room information

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm