2017 Dallas Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Region III

*NOTE: This event is currently sold out. You can sign up for the wait list here.

IRE is bringing its highly rated Watchdog Workshop to Dallas in conjunction with the NABJ Region III Conference. 

This training will offer several of our core sessions that will improve your ability to find information on the Web quickly, and point you to key documents and data that will help you add depth to your daily work and produce quick-hit enterprise stories. 

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 afternoon, March 10 and Saturday afternoon, March 11. 

Expected speakers include Scott Friedman of KXAS/NBC5 Dallas-Fort Worth, Ellen Gabler of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tawnell Hobbs of The Wall Street Journal and Topher Sanders of ProPublica.

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

This workshop will take place Friday, March 10 from 1-5:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 11 from 1:30-4:15 p.m.

Friday's workshop will take place at Southern Methodist University; Saturday's workshop will take place at the Marriott Hotel Suites Medical Market Center.

Your registration covers both days of training. Those who attend both days of the workshop will receive a certificate of completion after the event. All are welcome. You do not need to be registered for the NABJ conference to attend the IRE Watchdog Workshop.

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

Registration/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)

$25 Professional (if attending NABJ Region III conference)

$55 Professional (for IRE workshop only)

$25 students

Register here

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, Mar. 10, 2017 - Saturday, Mar. 11, 2017

Southern Methodist University/Marriott Hotel Suites Medical Market Center
3300 Dyer Street/2493 North Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, Texas 75207

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and workshop overview

    Speaker: Megan Luther of InvestigateTV

    Umphrey Lee Hall Room 283

    1:00 pm - 1:15 pm

  • Panel

    FOI and open records

    Speakers: Jason Bloom of Haynes and Boone, LLP; Megan Luther of InvestigateTV

    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.

    Umphrey Lee Hall Room 283

    1:15 pm - 2:15 pm

  • Panel

    Art of the interview

    Speaker: Scott Friedman of KXAS/NBC5 Dallas-Fort Worth

    Learn the best ways to approach sources, prepare and handle the interview process. Advice for conducting video interviews for your website. Plenty of tips and strategies for handing tough situations, ethical trouble spots, etc.

    Umphrey Lee Hall Room 283

    2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

  • See printed schedule for room information

    3:15 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Source development

    Speaker: Topher Sanders of ProPublica

    Learn techniques to find, groom, and keep the kinds of sources that help you find amazing stories

    Umphrey Lee Hall Room 283

    3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

  • Panel

    Digging deeper with data and docs

    Speakers: Topher Sanders of ProPublica; Ellen Gabler of The New York Times

    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.

    Umphrey Lee Hall Room 283

    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Panel

    Writing the investigation

    Speaker: Ellen Gabler of The New York Times

    We will discuss how to outline, weave narratives throughout your investigation and avoid being boring. Learn how to keep your future writing in mind as you report and getting the details needed to create a high-impact investigation.

    Salon 3

    1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

  • See printed schedule for room information

    2:45 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Investigating education

    Speaker: Tawnell Hobbs of The Wall Street Journal

    The best education stories are seldom found in news releases. We’ll look at ways to take quick dailies and projects to the next level using various investigative methods. The session will also focus on where to look for stories and databases that education reporters should have on hand. We’ll also look at going beyond the budget to follow the money, while recognizing those pesky red flags.


    Salon 3

    3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

  • Panel

    Wrap-up/What IRE can do for you

    Speaker: Megan Luther of InvestigateTV

    Salon 3

    4:15 pm - 4:30 pm