2016 Salt Lake City Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: Brigham Young University School of Communications

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, October 28th 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

Saturday, October 29th, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

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

Directions: Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center

Map: Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center


Attendees should enter from 400 West between North Temple and South Temple (there is a light there) into the BYU Salt Lake Center Parking Terrace.  Please tell the attendant you are there for a BYU event and you will be allowed in.

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 Salt Lake City Watchdog Workshop.

If you are not a current IRE member, you can still register here for the workshop online.

Cancellations must be sent via email to Stephanie Sinn, [email protected] 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, Oct. 28, 2016 - Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

BYU Salt Lake Center Auditorium, Room 101
3 Triad Center, Suite 300
345 W. North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84180

Registration information

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

Hurry! Registration closes on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 12:30pm.

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and workshop overview

    Speaker: Jaimi Dowdell of Reuters

    Room 101

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    FOI and open records

    Speakers: Jeffrey Hunt of Parr Brown Gee & Loveless; Joel Campbell of Brigham Young University

    Learn how to use federal and state open records laws to draft records requests the right way. Covers ways to challenge denials and keep a steady flow of information coming into the newsroom with FOI.

    Room 101

    9:15 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    Web, search and social media for investigators

    Speaker: Jaimi Dowdell of Reuters

    Find documents and databases on deadline with better search techniques and the invisible Web. Learn how to locate reliable websites for enterprise stories and receive guidance on the best social media tools for your next investigation.

    Room 101

    10:30 am - 11:30 am

  • Panel

    Bulletproofing your reporting

    Speaker: Nate Carlisle of The Salt Lake Tribune

    Learn how to check the facts, assumptions and public records that underpin your story. Tips for making sure your reporting, including graphics and online components, say what you think they’re saying.

    Room 101

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Outside Event

    See printed schedule for room information

    12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Panel

    Art of the interview

    Speakers: Judy Fahys of InsideClimate News; Howard Berkes of NPR

    Learn strategies to prep for interviews, approach sources, handle tough situations, navigate ethical trouble-spots and more.

    Room 101

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Investigating the regulators

    Speaker: Howard Berkes of NPR

    Government agencies have the authority, means and responsibility to regulate and enforce, but that doesn’t mean they have the will. They have their own detailed data but don’t necessarily use it to enforce vigorously. We will show how to find the human impact of regulatory policy, using the agencies’ own data to pull back the curtain.

    Room 101

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Digging deeper with data and docs

    Speaker: Ron Nixon of The Associated Press

    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 national data sets to produce high-impact local stories.

    Room 101

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel


    Speaker: Jaimi Dowdell of Reuters

    Room 101

    5:15 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Optional computer-assisted reporting training

    Speaker: Jaimi Dowdell of Reuters

    Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Excel, a fairly simple but powerful spreadsheet application, to begin analyzing data for stories. We'll start from the beginning with basic formulas and work our way up to summarizing information using pivot tables and more. How do you think about data analysis as a journalist? How do you find the story within the columns and rows?

    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.

    Room 318

    9:00 am - 12:00 pm