Blue force tracker: Notes from the field for successful military reporting and investigations

  • Event: 2018 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Mike Hixenbaugh of NBC News; James LaPorta of Newsweek; Brandy Zadrozny of NBC News
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 15 at 5:00pm
  • Location: Crystal E
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

The military has its own unique culture, one that requires its own formal education. But despite its exclusivity, the Pentagon requires a consistent level of scrutiny from the working press on behalf of the American people as they too have problems we see in everyday society. 

From war on foreign battlefields and secret classified missions to sexual assault and post-traumatic stress, service members are voiceless as they are often discouraged from speaking candidly to the media. For the new or even seasoned reporter, the task of covering the largest U.S. government agency can be daunting. 

This session will be current " notes from the field" from experienced journalists on how to navigate these closed-off waters in order to effectively report on the U.S. military.

Speaker Bios

  • Mike Hixenbaugh is an investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle focused on exposing fraud and abuse in health care. Previously, he was a reporter at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., where his work on the military and veterans affairs was co-published with ProPublica, NBC News and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley.

  • James LaPorta is a staff writer and investigative reporter for Newsweek magazine covering national security and the Defense Department.

    Mr. LaPorta's past bylines and work have appeared on and in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC among others.

    Prior to journalism, he served in the infantry and intelligence communities within the U.S. Marine Corps. 

  • Brandy Zadrozny is a librarian turned award-winning investigative journalist based in New York. She covers politics, crime, and women’s issues as a reporter for NBC News. Brandy’s most recent reporting has focused on the intersection of people, their politics, and the technology that connects and divides them. Her latest work has revealed the secret online lives of politicians, extremists, school shooters, and foreign actors.

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