On the beat: Police who cross the line

  • Event: 2018 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Maya Lau of Los Angeles Times; Topher Sanders of ProPublica; Lee Zurik of WVUE-New Orleans; Ben Conarck of The Florida Times-Union
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Jun. 16 at 10:15am
  • Location: Crystal AB
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Want to investigate the investigators? We’ll talk candidly about how we dug up information that police officers would rather you not know. We’ll discuss the origins of our projects (one started from a tip four years ago!), the tough conversations we had with editors, the twists our stories took as we reported them, and how we were able to corroborate hard-to-confirm facts. Some of us also surveilled police officers as part of our reporting – we’ll talk about why that was necessary and how we navigated safety concerns. There will NOT be any PowerPoints during this session! Only lively conversation and plenty of time for questions from the audience.

This session is good for: Anyone who wants to beef up their reporting about law enforcement (best beat ever).

Speaker Bios

  • Ben Conarck covers state prisons for The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. In the last two years, he has brought to light thousands of unfounded strip searches on female visitors and explained how the Department of Corrections has encouraged private companies to reap profits off prisoners and their loved ones, all while the agency takes a cut. Previously, he reported on the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. On Twitter @conarck.

  • Maya Lau is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times covering the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Her stories have revealed secret evidence of officer misconduct and spurred a D.A. to review past criminal convictions that relied on the testimony of those officers. In 2015, she was the lead writer on a series that won an IRE award for uncovering the business dealings of a powerful Louisiana prison warden.

  • Topher Sanders covers race, inequality and the justice system for ProPublica. @ReporterTopher

  • Lee Zurik is an Evening News Anchor and Chief Investigative Reporter at WVUE-TV in New Orleans and Director of Investigations at Gray Television and Investigate TV.  Lee has been honored with many of journalism’s top awards including the Peabody, duPont, and IRE Medal.  Before Hurricane Katrina, Lee was a sports anchor/reporter. He taught himself to be an investigative reporter by reading IRE resources (books and tipsheets) and attending IRE conferences. 

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