Investigating wildlife issues

  • Event: 2018 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Rachael Bale of National Geographic; Rene Ebersole of National Geographic; Lee van der Voo of independent journalist
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Jun. 14 at 9:00am
  • Location: Oceans 3
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Covering wildlife isn't just for animal lovers. These are stories about crime, sustainability, community and economic development, politics, and big money too. Reporters will explain how they investigated the seafood industry, alligator poaching in Florida, and the international illegal wildlife trade, among others. The panel will focus on how and where to find sources, public records and datasets, story ideas that you can pursue in your own community, and how to tell these stories in a way that anyone — even people who aren't particularly interested in animal issues — will find compelling.

Speaker Bios

  • Rachael Bale is an investigative reporter for National Geographic's Wildlife Watch project, which aims to shine a light on wildlife crime and exploitation. She writes about poaching, wildlife trafficking, exotic pets, hunting, and similar topics. Previously, she was on the data and the environment teams at Reveal/The Center for Investigative Reporting. @rachael_bale

  • Rene Ebersole writes long-form investigations about science, health, and environment for a variety of mainstream media outlets. For National Geographic's Wildlife Watch crime series her stories have ranged from eel trafficking and alligator poaching to dead hummingbird love charms. She is a professor at New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) Master’s program.  

  • Lee van der Voo is an independent journalist based in Portland, Oregon, focused on enterprise and investigative journalism. She is a former Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow and author of The Fish Market - Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate. She runs collaborative journalism projects on contract at InvestigateWest, the Seattle and Portland-based nonprofit journalism studio.

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