2019 IRE Conference

Reboot your skills, recharge your watchdog batteries and reconnect with the world’s largest network of investigative journalists during this year’s gathering in Houston. Choose from more than 175 panels, hands-on classes and special presentations. Learn how to improve reporting and storytelling across all platforms. Celebrate the best of investigative reporting during our IRE Awards luncheon. Mix and mingle with the best in the business. Learn. Share. Connect.

All at #IRE19, which opens at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 13, and runs daily until 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 16.

Sign up for our 2019 IRE Conference email list to receive details as we announce them. We'll let you know any time we make a major announcement, update you on the planning process and remind you of key dates/deadlines surrounding the conference.

Additional details on the conference can be found here.

Time and place

Thursday, Jun. 13, 2019 - Sunday, Jun. 16, 2019

Marriott Marquis Houston
1777 Walker St.
Houston, Texas 77010


Registration information

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

Hurry! Registration closes on Sunday, Jun. 16 at 12:30pm.


Schedule details

  • Special Event

    Texas Foyer

    7:30 am - 6:00 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas Foyer

    7:30 am - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Welcome first-timers: Get a button and conference tips

    Speakers: Doug Haddix of IRE and NICAR; Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    Welcome to the conference! Get a special button for first-time attendees and hear from IRE staff about tips and tactics to navigate our conference like a pro. Also, you'll learn about key resources that IRE offers once you're back home.

     

    Texas D

    8:30 am - 8:50 am

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Thursday #1

    Speaker: Megan Christie of ABC News

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: 30 ideas in 60 minutes

    Speakers: Susan Batt of WTHR-Indianapolis; Josh Hinkle of KXAN/NBC Austin

    Looking for story ideas? We’ve got 30 stories from broadcast investigative reporters that can be done in any market. You’ll walk away with a tipsheet full of ideas that can keep you busy for months. Come early and grab a seat. This panel is not to be missed.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Business Track: Debunking economic impact promises large and small

    Speakers: Austin Carr of Bloomberg Businessweek; Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First; Noah Pransky of independent journalist; Karen Weise of The New York Times

    Whether it’s Amazon and Foxconn megadeals, or the pro teams and corporations lobbying for your community’s tax dollars, you’re likely to come across robust economic impact claims. But are the politicians really landing great deals? Do the corporations even need tax breaks in the first place? How to find great stories amid the public relations garbage.

    This session is sponsored by Bloomberg. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Demo

    Court records are filled with untold stories: A PACER deep dive

    Speaker: Seamus Hughes of The George Washington University

    PACER, the federal court records system, is antiquated and hard to navigate. Using skills developed over years, Seamus Hughes has helped the media break national stories about topics ranging from terrorism and public corruption to corporate espionage. Hughes will give reporters tips and suggestions on how to use PACER to tell a story.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas D

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Energy & Environment Track: Covering climate change's winners and losers

    Speakers: Robert Benincasa of NPR; Rebecca Leber of Mother Jones; Kendra Pierre-Louis of The New York Times

    We’ll look at how government policies, structural inequities and economic incentives intersect to determine who is affected by climate change, and how. We’ll discuss deregulation, disaster response, and industry behavior from the perspective of several recent projects that explore the human costs of a changing climate. We’ll maintain a practical focus on how local reporters can track the effects of climate change in their own communities.

    Texas G

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Hands-on

    Excel 1: Getting started with spreadsheets

    Speaker: Eleanor Klibanoff of Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

    In this introduction to spreadsheets, you'll begin analyzing data with Excel, a simple but powerful tool. You'll learn how to enter data, navigate spreadsheets and conduct simple calculations like sum, average and median. 

    This session is good for: Data beginners.

    River Oaks B

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Hands-on

    Google Sheets: Scraping without coding

    Speaker: Samantha Sunne of independent journalist

    Yes, you can scrape data without using code -- in fact, all you need is Google Sheets! We'll be using Excel-type formulas (don't worry if you don't know what those are, either) to make simple scrapers that automatically pull data into Google Sheets. It’s the best way to get around clunky websites and unhelpful PIOs!

    This session is good for: Beginners who want to start using data for their stories.

    River Oaks C

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Hands-on

    Immigration Track: Finding the story: Immigration (intro)

    Speakers: Silvia Foster-Frau of San Antonio Express-News; Lomi Kriel of Houston Chronicle

    The numbers surrounding immigration can be daunting and hard to track down. And then there’s the alphabet soup for the agencies arresting, detaining and deporting migrants and their children: CBP, ICE, DHS, EOIR, HHS, ORR.

    In this session, we’ll break down those acronyms and explain who does what. We’ll show you where to find data, and how to interpret it. And then we’ll talk about how to use that data to get leads on local and national stories — and what to do when the government’s not providing you the numbers you need.

    This session is good for: Anyone. No technical skills are needed for this workshop.

    River Oaks A

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Workshop

    Master class: Becoming a public records sleuth **pre-registered attendees only

    Speakers: David Cuillier of The University of Arizona; Jennifer LaFleur of Investigative Reporting Workshop

    This half-day workshop will cover the essentials for becoming a public records power sleuth – the key elements for mastering the art of access. David Cuillier, associate professor at the University of Arizona and co-author of The Art of Access, and Jennifer LaFleur, data editor at Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, will lead you through the fundamentals, as well as the latest research and tools, including: 

    • Cool records/data and how to find them, including online resources for identifying records and dozens of examples of data worth dipping into
    • Art of the ask: Learning the law, effective request techniques and online tools to assist, such as iFOIA
    • Overcoming denials: How to use psychological strategies, effective appeals, and how to go about suing, even on your own

    You'll dig into hands-on activities such as trying the online tools, brainstorming ideas, and workshopping request language. You'll leave as a master public records sleuth with a plan for requests to submit when you get back home.

    Please bring your laptop fully charged if you have one.

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited. 

    ** This class is full. Add your name to the wait list. **

     

    David Mitzner

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Workshop

    Master class: Leading an investigations team **pre-registered attendees only

    Speakers: Leslie Eaton of The Marshall Project; Steve Riley of Houston Chronicle

    Experienced editors will share practical tips on how they’ve run their teams to produce high-impact investigations and blockbuster projects — even when newsroom resources are tight. Leslie Eaton, senior editor of The Marshall Project, and Steve Riley, interim executive editor of the Houston Chronicle, will discuss how they became I-team leaders and detail how they helped their reporters excel.

    Topics will include:

    • How to run a team to create the best work
    • Managing up: handling expectations from bosses (and avoiding drive-by editing)
    • Picking stories, producing packages, and bullet-proofing everything
    • The pros and cons of rolling investigations versus long-term projects
    • Maintaining relationships around the newsroom 
    • Managing your time and organizing the work

    This class is ideal for reporters who are looking to break into leadership and existing editors who want tips on how to manage effectively.

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

    ** This class is full. Add your name to the wait list. **


    Clear Lake

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Local watchdog showcase

    Speakers: Erin Mansfield of Tyler Morning Telegraph; Alex Hall of KQED Public Radio

    Learn new and old reporting tricks as two reporters highlight a selection of great local watchdog journalism from the past year. Hear firsthand presentations by local reporters from across the country on how to expose wrongdoing in your community.

    Texas C

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Commons

    O’Brien Fellowships: $65,000 in support of nine-month investigative reporting projects

    Speaker: Dave Umhoefer of Marquette University

    Reporters and editors affiliated with the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism discuss the award-winning projects produced by journalists selected for the program at Marquette University. Projects have tackled issues around criminal justice, education, the environment, health, science, government secrecy and more. O’Brien selects three to five fellows annually. Find out how to apply.

    Montgomery B

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Commons

    Reinventing local TV news

    Speaker: Mike Beaudet of Northeastern University

    Traditional local television news needs to adapt to emerging practices and the sensibilities of digitally native video news, which is often preferred by younger audiences on web and mobile platforms. Mike Beaudet, a professor of the practice at Northeastern University and investigative reporter at WCVB-Boston, will discuss his research report into how local broadcasters might rethink story segments to create a more engaging news product for their audiences, particularly with regard to hard news stories. 

    Montgomery A

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Solutions journalism + investigations

    Speakers: Michael Davis of Solutions Journalism Network; Susan Richardson of The Center for Public Integrity; Brent Walth of University of Oregon

    What’s more powerful than a great investigation? A great investigation that also takes away excuses — by showing how others are doing better. A solutions component can add big impact and engagement to an investigative series. 

    In this panel, investigative reporters will show how they bolstered their investigations of local wrongdoing by adding stories about other places doing better. And they’ll teach techniques for writing solutions stories with the same rigor and heft as the rest of the series.

    This session was planned in collaboration with the Solutions Journalism Network.

    Briargrove

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    The uncovered angles of guns

    Speakers: Melissa Bailey of Kaiser Health News; Brian Freskos of The Trace; Duane Pohlman of Sinclair Broadcast Group

    Mass shootings, shootings in classrooms, and those involving police and unarmed citizens dominate headlines with the risk of societal desensitization. How are journalists approaching covering a topic nearly every day in the headlines throughout the U.S. and how do we cover gun culture more thoughtfully in ways we haven't to show the impact of gun violence in our communities? Come learn from those who have taken different approaches. 

    Texas F

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Thursday #2

    Speaker: Sandy Breland of Gray Television

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Visualizing your investigation

    Speakers: Anna Hewson of KUSA/9News Denver; Bryan Staples of WTVF-Nashville; Evan Stulberger of WNBC New York City

    Every great investigation deserves stunning visualization. Don’t let your visuals be an afterthought. Join our skilled panelists as they provide inspiration, tips, and discussion on how to create investigations so eye-catching, you can’t help but get noticed. From the fundamentals of visual storytelling to creating impactful images that stimulate action – this session will send you home with ways to improve the look of your next investigation.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Hands-on

    Excel 2: Formulas & sorting

    Speaker: Lindsey Cook of The New York Times

    Much of Excel's power comes in the form of formulas. In this class, you'll learn how to use them to analyze data with the eye of a journalist. Yes, math will be involved, but it's totally worth it! This class will show you how calculations like change, percent change, rates and ratios can beef up your reporting.

    This session is good for: Anyone who is comfortable navigating Excel.

    River Oaks B

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Fast and furious investigations

    Speakers: Anthony Cave of KERA News; Tony Plohetski of Austin American-Statesman; Mc Nelly Torres of independent journalist; Jill Riepenhoff of InvestigateTV

    Quick-turn investigations you can do in 14 days or less. Jump off a breaking news event, a press release or a politician claim to do impressive accountability reporting. You’ll learn about source building to get good investigative tips, documents, data and see examples of powerful investigations done on the fly.

    Texas G

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Hands-on

    Finding the story: Campaign finance

    Speaker: Carrie Levine of The Center for Public Integrity

    A hands-on introduction to searching for, finding and using federal campaign finance data for beginners. This class will cover using the new Federal Election Commission website to find and download different types of campaign finance data. We’ll also review things to know about the data, including common pitfalls. 

    This session is good for: people who want an introduction to finding and working with federal campaign finance data. Knowing Excel will be helpful.

    River Oaks C

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Finding, cultivating and protecting sources

    Speakers: Erica Byfield of WNBC New York City; Ali Fegan of SVT (Swedish Television); Brant Houston of University of Illinois; Lindsay Moran of Environmental Investigation Agency

    This panel will share techniques and strategies essential to landing and protecting some of the most sensitive and delicate sources — sexual assault victims, government administrators, whistleblowers and insiders within criminal organizations.

    Texas D

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    How to cover prosecutors

    Speakers: Julie Brown of Miami Herald; Ted Gest of Criminal Justice Journalists; Scott Henson of Grits for Breakfast; Vivian King of Harris County District Attorney's Office

    Prosecutors are among the least covered and most important officials in the criminal justice system. There is a new breed of "progressive prosecutors" being elected around the country. This session will describe the trend and help journalists evaluate prosecutors and tell how good a job they are doing on all levels.

    Briargrove

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Commons

    How to help your TV newsroom achieve a data journalism mindset

    Speakers: Taylor Mirfendereski of KING5 Seattle; Jake Whittenberg of KING5 Seattle

    Data journalism is a staple in many print newsrooms and for most investigative teams. But TV newsrooms have historically shied away from telling stories with data because it's complex, time-consuming and hard to explain in a visual and entertaining way. 

    Here's the good news: It doesn't have to be so daunting! Our team at KING-TV teamed up with data experts at Microsoft to find visually compelling ways to integrate data into the daily mix. We came up with a style that shines on all platforms. In this Commons session, we'll share key takeaways from our journey, swap practical tips for building a newsroom culture that embraces data storytelling, and we'll work together to remove roadblocks on your path to achieving the data journalism mindset.

    Montgomery A

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Hands-on

    Immigration Track: Finding the story: Immigration (advanced)

    Speakers: Silvia Foster-Frau of San Antonio Express-News; Lomi Kriel of Houston Chronicle

    On any given day, about 45,000 people are in immigrant detention, a number that has increased under the Trump administration’s policies and put government facilities at capacity.

    Prosecutions for illegal entry swamp federal courts, making up about 80 percent of the dockets of cases in districts along the border, and a record of more than 869,000 people are waiting for their cases to be heard in immigration courts, with an average wait time stretching longer than two years.

    During last year’s family separation crisis, parents were sent to a series of detention centers run by different government agencies while kids were sent to federal shelters run by nonprofits and private companies across the country making billions of dollars while facing little public scrutiny. Meanwhile, more than 12,000 migrant children who traveled here without their parents are in government shelters and the administration is trying to expand its capacity to hold more minors.

    What are the governmental agencies and private companies that run these facilities? How are they making their money and where are their contracts? And how does the Trump administration’s policies and practices affect the lives of those forced to live in them?

    Over the past two years, 22 immigrants have died in custody, the highest number since 2009.

    Building on the previous session, we delve into the intersection of criminal and immigration law, how to use court data to parse it, and examine ways to look into the secretive adult detention centers and the shelters holding migrant children.

    This session is good for: Anyone. No technical skills are needed for this workshop.

    River Oaks A

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Management Track: How to launch a successful investigative unit

    Speakers: Ziva Branstetter of The Washington Post; Mark Albert of Hearst; Manuel Torres of The Times-Picayune

    In an era of smaller newsrooms, investigative reporting is a team sport — but not all teams are created equal. We'll talk about how to put together efficient investigative teams, and how to organize their work to produce quick turns and long-term investigations. We’ll explain how to maximize exposure for your investigations by busting down silos within your media organization, crafting multi-platform strategies, and developing eye-popping digital elements that can build momentum before your story breaks and after it runs.

    Texas C

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Demo

    Technology & Tools Track: Doxxing for good: Tracing your online footprint before hackers can

    Speakers: Neena Kapur of The New York Times; Kristen Kozinski of The New York Times

    In this demo, Kristen Kozinski and Neena Kapur from The New York Times Information Security team will share their experience creating a doxxing education program in their newsroom. They’ll cover why doxxing is a threat to reporters, recommended tools and techniques for cleaning up your online footprint, and suggestions for implementing a doxxing program in your newsroom.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas F

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Demo

    Technology & Tools Track: Unlock hidden stories

    Speaker: Guy Ronen of Google

    Backlight is a new Google tool for investigative journalists that helps unlock hidden stories in large collections of documents. It can comb through hundreds of thousands of uploaded documents — from PDFs to emails to hand-written notes — to identify people, places, organizations, as well as the topics mentioned within those documents. 

    In this session we will introduce the tool, gather feedback from the audience, and provide early access to the tool.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Commons

    Voter registration story brainstorm

    Speakers: Matt Dempsey of Houston Chronicle; Eric Sagara of Big Local News

    The 2020 elections are coming up and it's past time to start planning. Join moderators Eric Sagara from Big Local News and Matt Dempsey from the Houston Chronicle as we discuss the reporting threads and challenges found in voter registration data. 

    Montgomery B

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Commons

    A Chat with Adam Symson

    Speakers: Adam Symson of The E.W. Scripps Company; Matt Goldberg of NBCUniversal

    Join us for a one-on-one with the president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Co. as we discuss the state of the media, his vision for the future and perspective on investigative journalism. Symson’s career has given him experience working in radio, as a television investigative producer and executive producer. As a leader at Scripps, he has served as Director of Investigations, Director of Content and Marketing, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Operating Officer and has been the CEO since August 2017. From advice on what makes a great story to running a successful business, this session is sure to leave you inspired about the industry.

    Montgomery A

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Thursday #3

    Speaker: Dwayne Bray of ESPN

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: The women

    Speakers: Nancy Amons of WSMV-Nashville; Erica Byfield of WNBC New York City; Cindy Galli of ABC News; Darcy Spears of KTNV-Las Vegas

    Female investigative reporters face a unique set of challenges. How do we press for accountability without being called a b*#@$? How do we get answers in a friendly way without someone thinking we’re “using what we’ve got”? Both inside and outside the newsroom, our road to becoming established investigative reporters hasn’t been without pebbles (sometimes boulders) of sexism. You’ll hear from four veteran female investigative journalists about how they got their start in and now navigate a world where being tough is a prerequisite for the job.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Data visualization and storytelling with Flourish

    Speaker: Megan Chan of Google News Lab

    Learn how to use Flourish, a free, online tool to build custom visualizations from your spreadsheets, no coding required. Flourish grew out of Kiln, the award-winning data studio that has helped dozens of organizations to visualize and tell stories with data. 

    **You must sign up for a free account at flourish.studio to participate in this class.

    This session is good for: Anyone familiar with spreadsheets. No visualization experience required.

    River Oaks C

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    DIY database: The joys and hazards of building it from scratch

    Speaker: Paul Singer of New England Center for Investigative Reporting

    What happens when your story requires data that has not already been collected, packaged and dropped into a spreadsheet by somebody else? For investigative reporters, that’s where the fun begins, because if the database has never been built, it’s a good bet the story has never been written. But the next steps are also fraught with peril, as you begin to find and extract information that can be converted to reportable data.

    We’ll walk through a couple examples and start playing around with some congressional data that is a notorious challenge but also regularly produces good stories.

    This session is good for: anyone with at least basic spreadsheet skills.

    River Oaks A

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Excel 3: Filtering & pivot tables

    Speaker: Stephanie Lamm of The Dallas Morning News

    A look at the awesome power of pivot — and how to use it to analyze your dataset in minutes rather than hours. We'll work up to using a pivot table by first sorting and filtering a dataset, learning how to find story ideas along the way.

    This session is good for: Anyone familiar with formulas and navigating Excel or another spreadsheet program.

    River Oaks B

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Move past the campaign: Use campaign finance documents and data to cover policy and governance

    Speakers: Edwin Bender of National Institute on Money in State Politics; Matt Dixon of POLITICO; Carrie Levine of The Center for Public Integrity; Charles Lewis of Investigative Reporting Workshop

    Campaign finance reporting often gets forgotten when the politics end and the governing begins. But tracking campaign finance numbers can also be a great way to dig up stories for policy-oriented and government — not political — reporters. Spotting people who have no donor profile but are now giving five or six-figure checks should be a red flag. What do those donors want? When policy suddenly shifts, who benefits — and what did they give? These are the questions that can lead to great stories.

    Texas G

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Navigating hate crime and white supremacy coverage

    Speakers: Sarah Childress of FRONTLINE; Rachel Glickhouse of ProPublica; Jacquee Petchel of ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

    What's the best approach to covering hate crimes in your community? How can you cover white supremacists without giving them a platform? How can we best address the challenges and sensitivities of working on this beat? We'll provide insight and tips from reporters who have tackled the issue.

    Texas F

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Reporting on recovery

    Speakers: Shoshana Walter of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Teri Sforza of The Orange County Register; Maia Szalavitz of independent journalist

    As the opioid epidemic has swept across the country, the addiction recovery industry has surged along with it. And like other businesses, the rehab industry can be rife with fraud, predatory tactics and questionable treatments. Panelists will cover how to navigate sensitive topics and legalities surrounding addiction recovery.

    Briargrove

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Demo

    Social media sleuthing

    Speakers: Jodie Fleischer of NBC4 Washington; Nate Carlisle of The Salt Lake Tribune

    When news breaks, you need to be nimble in finding sources, backgrounding people, verifying what's real vs. fake, and staying ahead of the competition. We'll discuss strategies on how to quickly build a digital dossier on someone.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    The art of confrontation

    Speakers: Alanna Autler of KTVT-Dallas; Dave Boucher of The Dallas Morning News; Corey Johnson of Tampa Bay Times

    Aggressive, confrontational officials and other subjects of investigations pose special challenges for journalists. Learn key ways to prepare for a tough interview, whether it's scheduled or spontaneous. Get advice on effective preparation, as well as how to conduct and protect yourself during a hostile interview. Hear tips on handling confrontational interviews as a solo journalist and also when you're joined by a photographer or videographer.

    Texas D

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Commons

    Work Better Track: Reporting while parenting

    Speakers: Shaun Courtney of Bloomberg Government; Eric Flack of WUSA9 Washington

    Let's have a frank discussion about the challenges of competitive newsrooms, work-life-balance, and how to be a journalist and a parent. 

    Montgomery B

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Year in international investigations

    Speakers: Catalina Lobo-Guerrero of Global Investigative Journalism Network; Rana Sabbagh of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ); David Kaplan of Global Investigative Journalism Network; John Bones of SKUP Norway; Steve Stecklow of Reuters

    Come hear how your colleagues abroad are fighting back with extraordinary stories, holding power to account despite the worst kinds of corruption, crime and outright deceit. The panel will give a rapid-fire tour of inspired muckraking from the Middle East, Latin America and worldwide. 

    Texas C

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Commons

    Journalists of color in the newsroom meetup

    Speakers: Caroline Chen of ProPublica; Monica Rhor of Houston Chronicle; Francisco Vara-Orta of IRE and NICAR; Disha Raychaudhuri of NJ Advance Media; Kendra Pierre-Louis of The New York Times

    The data speaks for itself — newsrooms have lost more journalists of color and we are back to 1989 levels. While percentage-wise JoCs have made some gains, journalists of color only make up an estimated 17 percent of most U.S. newsrooms. Why is that? How are you bucking those trends? IRE will provide a forum for journalists of color to come together for community building to talk about their successes and challenges in navigating the field. Join us in a more relaxed setting to recharge amid the bustle of conferencing. Lunch will be provided by the Knight Foundation.

    To create an open forum for frank discussions, all meetup sessions are off the record. 

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Montgomery

    12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Workshop

    Master class: Trump, the First Amendment, and media law for investigative journalists **pre-registered attendees only

    Speakers: George Freeman of Media Law Resource Center; Jeff Hermes of Media Law Resource Center; Katie Townsend of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

    This four-hour workshop will begin with a discussion of threats to the First Amendment under the Trump Administration and then move into a discussion of specific areas of the law affecting your reporting process and content, including libel, invasion of privacy, confidential sources, subpoenas, and copyright issues. Attorneys from the Media Law Resource Center and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will cover some of the biggest pitfalls and how to avoid them. Reporters, producers, editors and other managers are welcome.

    This class will cover:

    • Threats to “open up” libel laws and White House attacks on the press
    • Strategies to avoid getting sued for defamation and invasion of privacy
    • The ins and outs of libel cases, including common law and constitutional defenses, privileges for opinion and using public records, and the effect of corrections, denials and using anonymous sources
    • Leaks and working with confidential sources
    • Subpoenas for source identities and newsgathering materials
    • The fundamentals of copyright, fair use, and licensing
    • Special legal issues relating to digital media, including the embedding of content and the use of material published on social media platforms

    *Please note: This session starts at 2 p.m., a half hour before the main conference schedule. There will be breaks during the workshop.

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    David Mitzner

    2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • IRE Board of Directors Meeting

    IRE Board of Directors meeting

    The IRE Board of Directors will meet on Thursday from 2-5 p.m. in Westchase, located on level 3 of the Marriott Marquis Houston, as part of the annual conference. The meeting is open to all IRE members.

    Westchase

    2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Digging into data for stories: A crash course in Excel (Thur & Fri) **pre-registered attendees only

    Skill level: Beginner

    Get started with using data in your stories with IRE's original mini-boot camp. In this 7-hour, hands-on workshop, IRE’s experienced trainers will start with the basics of navigating Excel and using formulas, then walk you through sorting, filtering and aggregating data with PivotTables to find story ideas.

    You'll come away with a solid base for using data analysis in your newsroom, including how to find and request data, identify and clean dirty data, find story ideas and bulletproof your work. 

    We’ll also provide you with our detailed boot camp materials to help keep you on track long after you leave the conference. 

    Preregistration is required and seating is limited. Laptops will be provided for the training.

    Workshop prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this workshop and beginners are welcome. This workshop is good for those wanting to get started analyzing data for stories.

    Thursday & Friday's session is Thursday, June 13, 2:30 - 6 p.m. and Friday, June 14, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Registration for this session reserves your seat for both days of this workshop and attendees are expected to attend both sessions to complete the workshop.

    River Oaks C

    2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Deep dive 1: Three challenges you are sure to encounter and what we did

    Speakers: Bigad Shaban of NBC Bay Area; Jeremy Finley of WSMV-Nashville; Danielle Leigh of ABC7 New York/WABC

    A deep dive into how three veteran reporters handled the biggest challenges they've faced including: 

    1. Digital first on an investigative roll out when time isn’t on your side.

    2.   Ensuring a successful accountability interview

    3. Tackling an investigation on the fringe of your viewing area.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: Involving people from marginalized communities in your reporting

    Speakers: Angelika Albaladejo of The Marshall Project; Sarah Alvarez of Outlier Media; Aura Bogado of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Tasneem Raja of The Tyler Loop

    This session shares tactics and strategies to incorporate marginalized audience and community members into the investigative reporting process in ways that can be empowering and inclusive, not exploitative or utilitarian, and make stories stronger and more resonant.

    Texas F

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Don’t bore me: How to frame your investigation and tell a captivating narrative that gets noticed

    Speakers: Mike Hixenbaugh of NBC News; Kameel Stanley of USA TODAY Network; Cary Aspinwall of The Dallas Morning News

    You've got the goods for a blockbuster and plenty of reporting to back it up, but now what? Skip the bulletpoints. We'll talk about strategies for weaving your investigative findings with artful storytelling that will hold your audience’s attention and amplify your impact — no matter if it’s in print, a podcast or somewhere in between.

    Texas D

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Commons

    Educators & student networking

    Speakers: Kym Fox of Texas State University; Maggie Mulvihill of Boston University; Lindsey Vickers of Boston University; Carrington Tatum of Texas State University

    Join us for an exciting, information-packed session that’s half forum for educators and students to advise on best practices for college journalism, and half intimate networking session to learn more about how j-schools should prepare students for future jobs, and how to land a quality internship in today’s competitive job market.  We’ll learn from each other, share our best advice, as students and professors, and answer your questions so you can succeed as you navigate through j-school.  

    To create an open forum for frank discussions, all meetup sessions are off the record.

    Montgomery

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Energy & Environment Track: Covering the environment as an investigative target in the Trump era

    Speakers: Judy Fahys of InsideClimate News; Eric Lipton of The New York Times; Rebecca Leber of Mother Jones

    The Trump administration's wide-ranging rollbacks of environmental standards at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department have generated a steady stream of breaking news, but there are also enormous opportunities for reporters to investigate what the weakened protections mean for air, water, public lands and human health. Regulated businesses are spending billions lobbying government agencies that are now run by former industry advocates, presenting significant ethics concerns. Direct and definable impacts to communities are starting to emerge. We examine ways to dig deeper that are relevant for every newspaper, radio station and TV outlet in the United States.

    Briargrove

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Excel: Advanced pivot tables

    Speaker: Ronald Campbell of NBC Owned Television Stations

    You've done a few pivot tables and are getting curious what more you could do with them. What happens if you aggregate by more than one column? What are those "column" and "filter" boxes for? Come unlock the full potential of pivot tables in this intermediate spreadsheet class.

    This session is good for: People familiar with spreadsheets and aggregating data with pivot tables, or anyone who has taken Excel 1-3.

    River Oaks B

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    How to build a collaborative investigation from scratch

    Speaker: Rachel Glickhouse of ProPublica

    With projects like Documenting Hate and Electionland, ProPublica has developed large collaborations with other newsrooms by using a central database. And now you, too, can launch this type of database-focused project, even without a developer. Find out about free tools ProPublica is creating to make it possible to create a crowd-powered investigation and database, and learn tips and best practices on crowdsourcing and collaborative investigations. 

    We'll talk about ProPublica's approach to crowd-powered, collaborative investigations and our free tools to allow any newsroom to set up this type of project.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    How to get and interpret police video footage

    Speakers: Seth Stoughton of University of South Carolina; Matt Topic of Loevy & Loevy; Kimbriell Kelly of The Washington Post

    Police body and dash camera footage can be some of the best evidence, especially in officer-involved shootings. This session will teach you how to pry footage loose from police departments and how to interpret it. You'll hear from the attorney who forced the release of the Laquan McDonald footage in Chicago, a former police trainer and a criminal justice reporter.

    Texas C

    2:30 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Workshop

    Master class: Seven deadly sins of the broadcast interview **pre-registered attendees only

    Speaker: John Sawatsky of independent journalist

    For nearly a decade and a half John Sawatsky’s three-day interview workshop at ESPN functioned as an onboarding boot camp for the network’s anchors, reporters and producers. The highlight of this unique experience was a segment dubbed the Seven Deadly Sins, which stood out because of how quickly and innately people related to it. 

    This year John is presenting a compressed version of the Seven Deadly Sins at the IRE Conference in the form of a master class.

    This session shows how the incredible power of the question can be easily harnessed. If you wonder why some questions roll up their sleeves and go to work while others roll over and die, this class will open your eyes and boost your effectiveness.

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

     

    Kingwood

    2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Workshop

    Master class: Writing the narrative (Thursday) **pre-registered attendees only

    Speakers: Jennifer Berry Hawes of The Post and Courier; Deanna Pan of The Boston Globe

    You’ve gathered data, docs and human sources. Now it’s time to turn your reporting into a story — or a series — that packs a punch. If you’re new to investigative storytelling or want to up your writing game, this workshop is for you.

    In this half-day workshop, we’ll cover the entire story lifecycle, from reporting to writing to planning for publication. Topics include:

    • Understanding narrative
    • Reporting for story — How to gather the details and scenes that will give your piece emotional power
    • Focus and framing – Finding your way through all that material
    • Self-editing tips and techniques
    • Developing a story team — How to get photographers, artists, designers, digital producers and editors unified behind a common vision

    We’ll look at examples of successful stories, pulling back the curtain to see how they came together.

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

    ** This class is full. Add your name to the wait list. **


    Clear Lake

    2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Public records track: A guide to get the goods

    Speakers: Ellen Gabler of The New York Times; Joseph Larsen of Gregor Cassidy PLLC; Miranda Spivack of independent journalist

    Get practical advice on how to craft better public records requests and figure out what to do when officials say "No." Includes strategies for determining what to request, dealing with excuses and obstacles from government agencies, and shooting down stratospheric cost estimates and inevitable claims of exemption. We'll also share tips on staying organized so you don't lose track of your requests. 

    This session is sponsored by the TEGNA Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas G

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Python 101: The fundamentals

    Speaker: Stephanie Lamm of The Dallas Morning News

    An introduction to the Python programming language for absolute beginners. This class will cover fundamentals and basic syntax to prepare you for more advanced classes.

    This session is good for: People who are comfortable working with data in spreadsheets or database managers and want to make the leap to programming.

    River Oaks A

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: From A to Z, soup to nuts, how DID you get that on the air?

    Speakers: Stephen Stock of NBC Bay Area; A. J. Lagoe of KARE 11 Minneapolis/St. Paul; Charlotte Huffman of WFAA-Dallas/Fort Worth

    Veteran journalists walk you through the steps they took to tell big stories from start to finish. You’ll leave this panel with a roadmap of how to conceive, nurture, report, dig up and use data, as well as overcome obstacles and potential pitfalls along the way to getting your next big (or first) investigation published or on the air.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Business Track: Mining for gold with Uniform Commerical Code (UCC) filings

    Speaker: Lisa Schwartz of The Wall Street Journal

    Learn about UCC filings, what they are, where you can find them, and how these documents can help unravel business connections, hidden assets, and sometimes link to contracts. Discussion will include ways you might incorporate these documents into an ongoing project.

    This session is sponsored by Bloomberg. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas F

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Hands-on

    Excel: Importing data

    Speaker: Valerie Gonzalez of KRGV-Rio Grande Valley

    Don't give up if your data isn't presented in a neat Excel file. This session will teach you how to clean and format data to get it into Excel. We will look at how to import text files and get a table on a web page into Excel.

    This session is good for: Anyone comfortable working in Excel.

    River Oaks B

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Owning the local government beat: Finding meaningful, investigative stories in (seemingly) common places

    Speakers: Brian Collister of Investigative Network; Erin Mansfield of Tyler Morning Telegraph; Arlene Martinez of Ventura County Star

    Decisions made locally impact every aspect of a person’s life, from housing and jobs to public safety, recreation and homeless services.

    But is taxpayer money being efficiently managed and spent so it goes where it’s most needed?

    Learn about mining Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, the consequences soaring pension debt nationwide will have on communities and how to consider routine agendas in a new light. The panel will focus on how and where to find sources, public records and datasets and ideas for stories you can immediately start doing. Get tips on building larger-scale investigative projects, while still feeding the daily beast.

    Texas G

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Hands-on

    Python: Intro to data analysis using pandas

    Speaker: Sandra Fish of independent journalist

    Imagine rolling Excel and MySQL into one tool that also allows you to track your code and share it. That’s pandas in a nutshell. There’s a lot more you can do with it, of course, but this will be a good start. We’ll learn how to slice and dice our data and extract basic stats. Specifically, we’ll cover loading the data, filtering, sorting and grouping data. 

    This class is good for: People who are comfortable with Excel and are familiar with the basics of SQL and Python. We recommend that you attend the Python 101 session or have equivalent experience before coming to this class.

    River Oaks A

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Commons

    Radio journalists meetup

    Speakers: Kameel Stanley of USA TODAY Network; N'Jeri Eaton of NPR

    Join radio journalists for an hour of conversation and networking. To create an open forum for frank discussions, all meetup sessions are off the record.

    Montgomery

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Technology & Tools Track: Multimedia storytelling for watchdogs

    Speakers: Wayne Carter of KXAS/NBC5 Dallas-Fort Worth; Nelson Hsu of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations; Monica Rhor of Houston Chronicle

    Once you get the investigative goods, how do you put them together effectively across platforms and digital devices to produce a compelling story? Move beyond your website or TV broadcast to harness the storytelling power of social media, OTT streaming channels, Alexa and much more. 

    This session was planned in collaboration with the National Association of Black Journalists.

    Texas D

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Demo

    Track de tecnología y herramientas: Seguridad digital para periodistas (en español)

    Speaker: Jorge Luis Sierra of Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers

    Proteger datos, fuentes y denunciantes contra miradas indiscretas no es fácil en un mundo digital donde los hackers son los reyes. Esta sesión cubre el cifrado, PGP, caídas seguras y otras herramientas para proteger tu correo electrónico, tu computadora y tu investigación. Esta sesión se impartirá en Español.

    Protecting your work, your sources and whistleblowers against prying eyes is not easy in a digital world where hackers are king. This session covers encryption, PGP, secure drops and other tools for protecting your email, your computer and your research.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Work Better Track: How to organize your reporting (and your life)

    Speakers: Brian Rosenthal of The New York Times; Zaneta Lowe of WREG-Memphis; Robert Moore of independent journalist; Charles Ornstein of ProPublica; Nicole Casarez of University of St. Thomas

    Benjamin Franklin once said, "For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned." Three centuries later, the maxim is just as true, but even more complicated to achieve. There are seemingly a million organization apps these days — from Airtable to Workflowy, and everything in between. In this panel, five different kinds of investigators — a newspaper reporter, a tv journalist, a freelancer, an editor and a lawyer — will demystify the options and also offer old-school tips for this extremely important and under-appreciated skill. Come to learn how to organize your interviews, your source lists, your story ideas, your records requests and more.

     

    Briargrove

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Cold cases as investigations

    Speakers: Andy Pierrotti of WXIA-Atlanta; Kevin Vaughan of KUSA/9News Denver; Grace White of KHOU-Houston

    Hear from three veteran investigative reporters discuss how they piece together decades-old evidence and turn it into compelling stories. Not all cases warrant further investigation. So, how do you pick the right case? This panel will teach you about flawed forensics, how to turn a TV story into a podcast, restoring evidence and much more. If you consider yourself an armchair detective, you’ll want to attend this panel! 

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Covering prisons: Finding truth in the most guarded institutions in the justice system

    Speakers: Keri Blakinger of Houston Chronicle; Ben Conarck of The Florida Times-Union; Michele Deitch of The University of Texas - Austin; Conrad Wilson of Oregon Public Broadcasting

    As public interest in the criminal justice system continues to grow, state prison systems and local jails have largely clamped down. What's the best way to get to the truth when you can't go out and interview your subjects at will? How do you deal with spin and obfuscation from public officials? Which public records should reporters look for when covering prisons and jails? Tackle these topics and more for looking closer behind bars.

    Texas F

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Cross-border investigations

    Speakers: Catalina Lobo-Guerrero of Global Investigative Journalism Network; Giannina Segnini Picado of Columbia Journalism School; Ben Hallman of ICIJ

    This panel will explore the challenges of developing sources and stories across the globe, and among groups often overlooked by reporters.   

    Meyerland

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Commons

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: Women and non-binary reporters meetup

    Speakers: Arlen Fernandez of Telemundo 48; Stephanie Adrouny of NBC Bay Area; Sara Bueno of NBC Bay Area; Sarah Macaraeg of USA TODAY Network

    In this off-the-record, participatory session, panelists will share their experiences on a range of topics and then open the floor for a collective discussion. We’ll be offering career planning pro-tips on salary negotiation, raises and promotions; sharing our trials and our triumphs in shutting down sexism on the job -- from outright harassment to the everyday art of asserting yourself in the newsroom; and unpacking leadership lessons learned amid bossing while female and attempting to cultivate an inclusive culture. Any and all other issues attendees would like to raise are welcome.

     

    Montgomery

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Energy reporting: From gas pipelines to light switches

    Speakers: Holly Hacker of The Dallas Morning News; Mike Soraghan of E&E News; Wooty Sixel of Houston Chronicle

    President Trump preaches “energy dominance” while environmentalists want to phase out fossil fuels. But who's making sure the pipelines are safe, and who’s protecting consumers from skyrocketing bills? Discover key sources, records and data for covering pipeline safety, electricity deregulation, renewable energy and more. 

    Briargrove

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Excel CARwash: Cleaning dirty data

    Speaker: Brett Murphy of USA TODAY Network

    Dirty data lurk everywhere. We'll walk through some integrity checks to help diagnose problems with your data and learn how to deal with some of the most common problems, including standardizing misspelled names.

    This session is good for: People with some experience working with data in columns and rows, in spreadsheets or database managers.

    River Oaks B

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Immigration Track: Covering immigration in the Trump era

    Speakers: Aura Bogado of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Caitlin Dickerson of The New York Times; Lomi Kriel of Houston Chronicle

    Since President Trump took office promising to curb immigration, the beat has evolved at an overwhelming pace. With a barrage of daily stories coming down the pipeline, it can be hard to decide which ones merit deeper investigation. And reporting in the sprawling yet opaque federal immigration system often feels like digging around in a black hole.

    A prime example is the administration’s zero tolerance policy, which resulted in thousands of parents and children being separated. Little information was shared even with those bureaucrats who were involved, and much of the process played out hidden from public view.

    The New York Times’ Caitlin Dickerson, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Aura Bogado, and the Houston Chronicle’s Lomi Kriel discuss how they have navigated these challenges and offer advice on how to report effectively on tightly kept government secrets.

    This session was planned in collaboration with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

    Texas D

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Python: Let's scrape a website

    Speaker: Brad Heath of USA TODAY Network

    This session will show you how to use the Python programming language to scrape data from websites.

    This session is good for people who already know some basic Python syntax (data types, if/else statements, for loops, etc.). We recommend that you attend the Python 101 session or have equivalent experience before coming to this class. Experience with HTML is a plus but not necessary.

    River Oaks A

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    The data sets every government reporter should have

    Speakers: Ana Ceballos of News Service of Florida; Mark Horvit of University of Missouri; Tina Macias of KHOU-Houston

    Veteran data and government reporters team up to share a list of data sets that can give you a competitive edge in both breaking news and long-term investigations. Walk away from this panel with a wide-ranging list of local and national databases you can request or download immediately, along with related story ideas that will position you to lead coverage while holding governments of all levels accountable. Databases covered will include topics as diverse as payroll, pensions, settlements, vendor information, check registers, immigration courts, voter registration, licensed professionals, property tax, and much more.  

     

    Texas G

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Under the Influence: Tracking lobbying and advocacy campaigns at the state level

    Speakers: Liz Whyte of The Center for Public Integrity; David Rauf of independent journalist; Ben Wieder of McClatchy

    Interest groups seeking to change state policy have plenty of tools for the job: lobbying, campaign donations, grasstops campaigns, conference sponsorships, traditional and non-traditional PR, model legislation, ballot measures and more. And every state has a different set of disclosure rules giving reporters a peek into the influence machine, as well as different regulators overseeing (or failing to oversee) money in politics. This session will give journalists their own set of tools and ideas for tracking all sorts of advocacy campaigns at the state level.

    Texas C

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Reception

    Welcome reception

    Kick off the conference with a welcome reception on Thursday night beginning at 6 p.m in Texas E, located on level 4 of the Marriott Marquis Houston. Meet up with friends you have not seen since last year and welcome new attendees. Each attendee will receive one drink ticket for beer, wine, soda or bottled water. Conference name tags are required for entry.

    Texas E

    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas Foyer

    7:30 am - 6:15 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas Foyer

    7:30 am - 6:15 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas E

    7:45 am - 8:45 am

  • Hands-on

    Interviewing your data with SQL **pre-registered attendees only

    Speakers: Meghan Hoyer of The Associated Press; Troy Thibodeaux of The Associated Press

    Skill level: Intermediate

    If you flip over pivot tables, but wish you had more data tools, this session is for you. Structured Query Language, or SQL, can help you use powerful filtering functions, find patterns in millions of records and join multiple data tables. 



    This class will be taught by two experienced data reporters, materials will include the IRE Computer Assisted Reporting boot camp binder, full of exercises, cheat sheets and tips to help you boost your data analysis and storytelling skills. We will use a free database manager that can be easily installed and used on any computer.



    Preregistration is required and seating is limited. Laptops will be provided for the training.



    Workshop prerequisites: The only prerequisite is a reasonable comfort level with using a spreadsheet. No previous SQL skills necessary.

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    River Oaks B

    9:00 am - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Digging into data for stories (cont'd-Friday) *pre-registered attendees only

    This is a continuation of Digging into data for stories: A crash course from Thursday, June 13 for pre-registered attendees of this class only.

    River Oaks C

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Friday #1

    Speaker: Ramon Escobar of CNN Worldwide

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Consumer investigations

    Speakers: Amy Davis of KPRC-Houston; Nydia Han of WPVI-Philadelphia; Jason Knowles of ABC7 Chicago

    From quick-turn consumer stories to long-form investigations, you will walk away from this session with 30 projects you can produce in your own market. We'll provide you with the tips you need to investigate everything from ridesharing scams to negligent utility companies. Whether you're a general assignment reporter with daily deadlines or a full-time investigative reporter, you will find out how to tell stories that educate viewers, hold the bad actors accountable and solve problems.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Business Track: Detecting business fraud

    Speakers: Nicole Hong of The Wall Street Journal; Angie Moreschi of James Hoyer Law Firm; Andrew Donohue of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Steven Baker of Better Business Bureau

    Learn how to think like a corporate fraud investigator. What documents do you need to find? What are some red flags in them? And what might just be a red herring? You'll hear from a reporter, the Better Business Bureau and an attorney on how to report on fraud using documents, sources and whistleblowers. 

    This panel is sponsored by Bloomberg. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Briargrove

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Demo

    Business Track: Investigating charities and other nonprofits

    Speakers: Holly Ivel of Candid; Todd Wallack of The Boston Globe

    There are roughly 2 million nonprofits across the country, including hospitals, universities, foundations, credit unions, labor unions, churches, and social service agencies. In this session, we will cover various documents and other resources reporters can use to navigate the world of nonprofits, including how to find, read, and use the annual 990 forms nonprofits file with the IRS. We will also highlight potential red flags to look for when scrutinizing charities. 

    This session is sponsored by Bloomberg. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    David Mitzner

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Free legal resources for journalists

    Speakers: Jeff Hermes of Media Law Resource Center; Frank LoMonte of Brechner Center for Freedom of Information; Katie Townsend of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

    Professional and student journalists alike can tap into free legal resources and attorney services to get public records and data, overcome bureaucratic obstacles and navigate tricky legal waters. Why fight FOI battles alone? Learn how to tap into free legal help to get the goods for stronger investigative stories. 

    This session is sponsored by Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    How to find the best investigative story ideas and pitch them successfully

    Speakers: Ziva Branstetter of The Washington Post; Pat Beall of The Palm Beach Post; Cheryl W. Thompson of NPR

    We'll discuss how to assess the potential of a story idea, how to choose which story ideas are likely to have the biggest impact, how to pre-report and write a story memo pitching the idea to your editors, and cover what distinguishes a good investigative story idea from other types of ideas. We’ll also discuss strategies for developing ideas, including alerts and other strategies to spot investigative ideas before your competition.

    Texas C

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Commons

    How to maximize the internship -- a guide for interns and for employers commons

    Speakers: Brian Rosenthal of The New York Times; Cole Sullivan of WBIR-Knoxville; Rilyn Eischens of The News Leader

    Interns are ubiquitous in our industry, but their talents are rarely maximized, either for them or their employers - and especially for investigative interns and investigative employers. So often, we can see ambitious, talented interns who go through the internship without doing the work that both they and the employer wants them to do. What are employers looking for in interns, how can interns get the most out of the experience (and can contribute to investigative projects!) and how would employers get the most out of the experience?

    Sugarland A

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Commons

    Introducing the Public Accountability Project

    Speakers: Jennifer LaFleur of Investigative Reporting Workshop; Lynne Perri of Investigative Reporting Workshop

    The Accountability Project is a new site from The Investigative Reporting Workshop to help you search hundreds of millions of rows of public data based on names, organizations and addresses. We've indexed federal and state campaign finance, nonprofit grants and employees, 527s, and some state personnel, business license and voter data. We'll show the site and tell you what's next.

    Sugarland B

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Workshop

    Master Class: Identifying, verifying and reporting on disinformation **pre-registered attendees only

    Speakers: Shaydanay Urbani of First Draft News; Aimee Rinehart of First Draft News

    In this three-hour workshop, First Draft will show you the tools needed to find and sort problematic content online. They will demonstrate and have you test drive basic verification tools, and discuss the ethics of sourcing from the darker corners of the web. The session will end with a group assignment so that you can test in real time how to add these tools, tactics and techniques into a report.

    First Draft is a nonprofit with the mission of helping journalists and others address challenges with disinformation, trust and truth in the digital age. In this class, Partnerships Director Aimee Rinehart and Shaydanay Urbani will lead you through several tools and strategies needed to navigate and verify online information, including: 

    • The seven types of mis- and disinformation
    • Introduction to social verification & why getting it right matters
    • Setting up your desktop/workstation
    • Ethical considerations
    • The Dark Web and mis- & disinformation campaigns designed to fool journalists

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    Clear Lake

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Management Track: Making time for investigative work in a daily newsroom

    Speakers: Margaret Haberman of The Oregonian/OregonLive; Shawn McIntosh of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Steve Riley of Houston Chronicle

    It’s not easy to nurture investigative work amid the fast pace of daily news or keep a sprawling project on track while simultaneously managing the day-to-day responsibilities of running a busy newsroom. Join us for a discussion of how to create a culture and practices that give your readers and viewers excellent investigative journalism without sacrificing daily quality.

    Texas F

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Nail the interview: How to get sensitive or hard-to-reach sources to talk

    Speakers: JoNel Aleccia of Kaiser Health News; Brett Murphy of USA TODAY Network; Kiran Chawla of WAFB-Baton Rouge

    The best interviews are often the hardest to score – and the most difficult to conduct, even if the source agrees. How do you successfully cold-call the family of a dead person? What’s the best way to ask traumatized or marginalized people to share their experiences with you? When does door-knocking actually work? How do you convince that tough source to talk when you have one day a week to focus on investigations?

    This session with experienced reporters from print, digital and broadcast outlets will focus on finding, securing and conducting interviews with sensitive or hard-to-reach sources.

    Texas D

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Hands-on

    Stats in R

    Speaker: Steve Reilly of USA TODAY Network

    Learn how to use R to spot trends and identify relationships in data using social science theories and methods. In this session, we will use R for descriptive statistics, statistical significance tests and linear regression. 

    This session is good for: Anyone who is comfortable working with spreadsheets and database managers and wants to learn how to do basic statistical analysis. Some experience with R will be helpful but is not required.

    River Oaks A

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Work Better Track: Real talk on investigative collaborations in small and medium markets

    Speakers: Laura Frank of Rocky Mountain PBS; Ryan Nave of Mississippi Today; C.J. LeMaster of WLBT-Jackson, MS

    A case study in partnerships in a place you might not expect: Ridgeland, Mississippi. What happens when a TV reporter and a data reporter from different newsrooms tackle the same story together?

    Texas G

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Friday #2

    Speaker: Ramon Escobar of CNN Worldwide

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: The lawyers

    Speakers: Matt Goldberg of NBCUniversal; Thomas Forestier of Winstead PC; Laura Lee Prather of Haynes and Boone, LLP; Sarah Burke of ABC7 Chicago; Amanda Leith of NBCUniversal Media LLC

    This panel of powerhouse lawyers and news managers will cover some of the most important legal issues we face today as investigative journalists:

    • Protecting our First Amendment rights in 2019 – what part does your legal team play?  What should you expect of them?
    • Best practices for working with your legal team – when do you bring them in? When do you push back on a decision? What pieces of information do you ALWAYS give them, no matter what?
    • Working with anonymous and other sources – how do we protect them? What do your lawyers need to know about them?
    • Going undercover/hidden camera/unscheduled interviews … lawyers’ favorite (!) topics and how they address them.

    We’ll allow a lot of time for audience questions with our experts, so be sure to bring them!

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Hands-on

    Converting pdfs to data

    Speaker: Disha Raychaudhuri of NJ Advance Media

    This class will cover basic approaches for getting text out of PDF documents using powerful and freely available tools. We'll introduce basic concepts and walk through tackling common challenges encountered with tricky PDF documents.

    This session is good for: People who are unfamiliar with PDF-to-text tools or would like to learn how these tools can be used for extracting difficult text from images embedded in a PDF document.

    River Oaks A

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Evolving the true crime podcast

    Speakers: N'Jeri Eaton of NPR; Chip Brantley of NPR; Andrew Grace of NPR; Parker Yesko of APM Reports

    True crime is one of the most popular genres in podcasting. But how do you leverage that audience without compromising your journalism? Join Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace (hosts of NPR’s White Lies) and Parker Yesko (reporter for APM’s In the Dark) as they talk about how to avoid the pitfalls of the true crime podcast trend, and use thoughtful, investigative work to push forward the genre and audience expectations. 

    Meyerland

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    How not to bungle sensitive abuse investigations

    Speakers: Anjali Kamat of WNYC - New York Public Radio; Miles Moffeit of The Dallas Morning News; Sarah Smith of Houston Chronicle; Bruce Shapiro of Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma

    The world of trauma is complex and littered with trap doors. Reporters for some of the world’s biggest news organizations have fallen through them with reckless interviews of victims and other bad practices. The success of any deep investigation into victimization – whether it’s church sex abuse, war-zone atrocities or police brutality – rides on your relationships with survivors; in particular, how sensitive you are to their trauma and fears.

    In this session, journalists and representatives for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma will share best practices for striking that careful balance between drawing out the facts and avoiding re-traumatizing survivors. They will discuss post-traumatic stress disorder and how it can greatly inform reporting and writing techniques. They also will discuss real-life examples of careless sourcing practices and the lessons they offer us.

    Briargrove

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Infiltrating government agencies

    Speakers: Andrea Ball of Austin American-Statesman; J. David McSwane of The Dallas Morning News; Matthew Mosk of ABC News

    FOIA bombing, late-night parking garage meetings, immersing yourself in esoteric bureaucratic language, charming the secretary, snail mail, crashing Christmas parties. These reporters have infiltrated secretive state and federal agencies to expose wrongdoing, uncover hidden tragedies and improve public policy. This panel includes tips on source development, where to find data and records, and smart crafting of records requests to get what you want.

    Texas G

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Commons

    Investigative journalism for teens: Volunteering your skills in the classroom commons

    Speakers: Jessica Huseman of ProPublica; Brett Murphy of USA TODAY Network

    In this session, we’ll briefly discuss the curriculum ProPublica has designed for high school students, and how you can help high schools implement rigorous investigative journalism instruction. We’ll also brainstorm other ways to be meaningfully helpful in immediately actionable ways in high schools across the country. Join us and make a plan to help students do this work! No experience of working with students is necessary.

    Sugarland A

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Commons

    Mindfulness meditation session to calm stress

    Speaker: Jeremy Mohler of In the Public Interest

    Jeremy will lead a guided meditation to cultivate mindfulness, the ability to pay attention in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Neuroscientific research has shown that meditation can lower stress and anxiety, among other benefits. The meditation will be followed by a Q&A about the practice. No experience or equipment necessary.

    Sugarland B

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    New investigative centers: The university model

    Speakers: Kathy Best of University of Maryland; Deborah Nelson of University of Maryland; Maud Beelman of ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism; Kathleen Johnston of Indiana University; Sarah Cohen of ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

    Explore how you or your news organization might benefit from the growing number of investigative reporting centers based at major universities and led by award-winning journalists from IRE's ranks. Come hear their plans for teaching, doing and collaborating on projects. The panelists represent centers funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation at Arizona State and Maryland, and through a gift by alumnus Michael Arnolt at Indiana. 

    David Mitzner

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Oh, the trouble you've seen: How to manage the stress and trauma of being a journalist

    Speakers: Al Tompkins of Poynter; Sidney Tompkins of Poynter

    Investigative journalists feel the pressure of being called “the enemy.” If you are doing your job right, the subjects of your stories probably don’t love you, to say the least. You have likely witnessed tragedy and the stress of job insecurity and deadlines. It is no surprise that journalists experience job stress on par with firefighters and first responders. 

    Poynter’s Al Tompkins and his wife, psychotherapist Sidney Tompkins, combine decades of newsroom and clinical experience to help investigators spot the symptoms of traumatic stress and learn practical ways to manage it. This may be the most important session you will attend because if you are not caring for yourself, nothing else will matter. 

    Texas F

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Public Records Track: Advanced techniques for getting documents from government agencies before you retire

    Speakers: Christopher Baxter of Spotlight PA; Jason Leopold of BuzzFeed News; Kelsey Ryan of National Freedom of Information Coalition

    Come learn how to file better requests, ask for documents others didn't know existed, file your own appeals and overcome the biggest hurdles that lead to delays and denials when investigating federal, state and local agencies. 

    Texas D

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Story idea blitz

    Speaker: Megan Luther of InvestigateTV

    Ten journalists with 10 different story ideas will share concrete tips on how to do the story in your area. No war stories allowed. You'll walk away knowing where the data and docs are, and what land mines to look out for. We'll leave time for plenty of questions.

    Texas C

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Friday #3

    Speaker: Chad Cross of KXAN/NBC Austin

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Holding them accountable

    Speakers: Lee Zurik of WVUE-New Orleans; Vicky Nguyen of NBC News; Charlie Specht of ABC7 Buffalo/WKBW

    Experienced broadcast investigative reporters share techniques and tips for how they hold the powerful accountable. The panel will prepare you for accountability interviews – both scheduled and unscheduled. The panel will also show how you can hold institutions and officials accountable when they hide. It will be a lively panel with plenty of news you can use for your own accountability interviews in markets big and small.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Business Track: Investigating tech companies in Silicon Valley and beyond

    Speakers: Matt Drange of The Information; Will Evans of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Ellen Huet of Bloomberg News; Karen Weise of The New York Times

    There’s a small army of reporters covering the biggest companies and faces in the tech industry, a vast source of wealth and power that exerts significant influence in our daily lives. And yet, relatively few stories from this world become topics of discussion at IRE conferences. Come hear from beat and project reporters alike who have found drastically different ways of doing impactful stories on the tech industry -- and avoid some of the common pitfalls of the ‘echo chamber’ of tech journalism in the process. We aim to send you back to your newsroom with story ideas, resources and reporting tips you can rely on for the long haul.

    Texas C

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: Digging into discrimination: Best practices for investigating LGBTQ bias and bravery

    Speakers: Jennifer Christensen of CNN; Pete Madden of ABC; Lucas Waldron of ProPublica; Kerith Conron of The Williams Institute - UCLA School of Law; Nathalie Sommer of CBS News

    Covering the LGBTQ community is complex. Accurate data is hard to find, and even some of the smartest newsrooms in the business have made major missteps by offending interview subjects and their audience, failing to use appropriate language or making incorrect assumptions. Yet the community is an under-covered goldmine of great human stories.

    This session will teach you about the best sources for reliable data. You’ll learn about successful strategies journalists have used to get at sensitive subject matter, even with reluctant sources. Panelists will introduce resources to help get your language right, show a few examples that got it wrong and discuss what we can learn from those examples. 

    This panel was planned in collaboration with NLGJA, The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.

    Texas G

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Finding the story: Disaster data

    Speaker: Robert Benincasa of NPR

    We’ll review and do light analysis on several data sources associated with disasters, including floods, wildfires and government property buyouts. We’ll explore possibilities for linking the data to demographic and economic data. 

    This session is good for: those who are comfortable with Excel and relational database concepts.

    River Oaks A

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Investigating sex crimes: Writing about trafficking, prostitution and rape

    Speakers: Gabrielle Banks of Houston Chronicle; Nadia Hamdan of KUT 90.5; James Pilcher of The Cincinnati Enquirer

    An NFL owner is busted for visiting a massage parlor linked to sex trafficking. A city sues dozens of prostitutes, pimps and johns to rehabilitate a neighborhood known for its notorious “track.” Meanwhile, sexual assault survivors confront challenges from police departments focused on clearing their caseloads and judges who can exercise wide discretion in sentencing.

    The news cycle increasingly features stories that involve sex and crime in many permutations, as attitudes change toward policing of sex workers, child predators and rapists. This panel will discuss how to tackle these difficult subjects and how to handle logistical challenges, legal battles and difficult interviews, not to mention the ongoing debate over consent and sexuality.

    Meyerland

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Tap your audience as an investigative partner

    Speakers: Julie Brown of Miami Herald; David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post; Amy Pyle of USA TODAY Network; Eric Umansky of ProPublica

    Investigative journalists often operate as the proverbial lone wolf. What if the watchdogs, instead, harnessed more firepower by partnering with their audience? Hear about the perils and payoffs of asking your readers and viewers for help. Which strategies work? How do you publicly ask for help without giving away your story to the competition? Are “help us investigate” the most powerful words for watchdog journalists?  

    Texas D

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Demo

    Using data to track the opioid epidemic

    Speakers: Charles Ornstein of ProPublica; Amanda Latimore of Johns Hopkins University

    As the opioid epidemic morphs in communities across the country, this session will help you identify data sources to cover opioid prescribing, hospitalizations, overdoses and treatment options, as well as strategies to cover an ever-changing problem.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Briargrove

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Commons

    Using scientific testing without having your story look like a lab report

    Speakers: Barbara Laker of The Philadelphia Inquirer; Wendy Ruderman of The Philadelphia Inquirer

    Using the award-winning "Toxic City: Sick Schools" reporting as a roadmap, we'll discuss how to turn scientific testing into compelling journalism, how to get community buy-in when gathering samples for testing and how to present the findings. You'll leave with a plan to test your school districts for environmental hazards.

    Sugarland A

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    What's the future of investigative journalism funding?

    Speakers: Jason Alcorn of American Journalism Project; Monika Bauerlein of Mother Jones; Sue Cross of Institute for Nonprofit News; Jennifer Preston of Knight Foundation; Ray Rivera of The Seattle Times

    Everyone agrees on the value of investigative journalism, but how do you pay for it? Innovative approaches, new models and experiments offer some hope on the horizon. Learn about what's working, what has potential and what might emerge through creative collaboration.

    David Mitzner

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Work Better Track: Team writing without murdering each other

    Speakers: Matt Apuzzo of The New York Times; Adam Goldman of The New York Times; Emily Le Coz of GateHouse Media; Lucille Sherman of GateHouse Media

    Journalism is more collaborative today than ever before. Whether on a daily story or a major project, writing with colleagues can bring out the best in everyone. It can also be contentious and infuriating. Get practical tips on dealing with frustrations and big egos, and getting the most from your collaborations.

    Texas F

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas E

    12:45 pm - 2:15 pm

  • Special Event

    Media lawyers Q&A

    Speakers: Laura Lee Prather of Haynes and Boone, LLP; Matt Topic of Loevy & Loevy; Joseph Larsen of Gregor Cassidy PLLC; Maggie Mulvihill of Boston University

    Does your investigation contain complex legal questions? Unsure of how to proceed? Bring your lunch and your questions for a personal discussion with some prominent media law experts that will be presenting throughout the 2019 IRE Conference. We'll provide drinks and dessert.

    This session is sponsored by the TEGNA Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Intro to R **pre-registered attendees only

    Speaker: Charles Minshew of IRE and NICAR

    Skill level: Intermediate

    This class will introduce you to R, a free, powerful open-source programming language, that will add statistical heft to your reporting. By the end of this three-hour session, you will be able to take raw data, import it into R, and start your analysis. Topics will include basic data importing, working with directories, reading in data, installing packages, creating simple visualizations, and how to clean, explore and sort your data. We'll also talk about how to find help when you're stuck.

    Preregistration is required and seating is limited. Laptops will be provided for the training.

    Workshop prerequisites: This session will be most helpful if you’re comfortable working with data in spreadsheets or SQL and you’re ready to take your skills to the next level.

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    River Oaks C

    2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Deep dive 2: Best of broadcast

    Speakers: Sam Hornblower of 60 Minutes; Ted Oberg of KTRK-Houston; Marissa Bodnar of WGME-Portland, ME; Jon Chrisos of WGME-Portland, ME

    For an hour we dive deep into two investigations from opposite ends of the resource spectrum. One from 60 Minutes, the second from WGME-TV in Maine. We will spend time examining how their work moved from tip to TV, the hurdles two separate industries made them jump over and the unique ways both teams gathered private industry documents outside the open records process. 

    A finalist for an IRE Award this year, Portland, Maine’s WGME turned a single tip into a crowd-sourced data-driven visual investigation of 100s of electric utility customers who were systematically overcharged by a company that was forced to ask for a do-over of initial denials. 

    60 Minutes spent two years investigating the scourge of opioids examining how and why the pills became so widely overused. In this deep dive, a producer behind the 60 Minutes investigation explains how they found and documented a new turn in what had become a well-covered topic.

    You’ll leave with methods you can steal for your next piece and an understanding of the key things that unite the seemingly different projects.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcasting original reporting: How to put documents, data and original reporting into your audio story

    Speakers: Nicole Beemsterboer of NPR; Katharine Mieszkowski of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Eleanor Klibanoff of Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting; Rina Palta of KPCC - 89.3

    You have the data, documents and reporting for a great investigative story. Now how do you get your findings into your radio piece or podcast? Come learn our tips and tricks for weaving original reporting into your storytelling. We'll discuss how to plan your field reporting to get the most out of interactions with your sources on tape and how to use reporting you only have on paper to elevate your audio.

    Texas F

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Create interactive demographic maps in minutes with ArcGIS Online

    Speakers: Robby Deming of Esri; Chris Vaillancourt of Esri

    Demographic information can add critical context to any story. When paired with location, it can help explain why things happen where they do. Join us for a hands-on session where we’ll explore visualization- and analysis-ready datasets available to use in your stories. We’ll show you how to quickly find authoritative content in ArcGIS Online, run powerful spatial analyses, and create responsive web apps to support your reporting.

    You will get hands-on experience with the browser-based ArcGIS Online. Anyone who attends this session will also receive complimentary access to ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Maps for Office so you can continue your visualization journey long after you leave the conference.

    This session is good for: Anyone who’s wanted to dig into demographics but wasn’t sure where or how to start and those interesting in telling visual stories with that data.

    River Oaks A

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: Let’s face it. Diverse newsrooms do better journalism

    Speakers: Tiffany Liou of WFAA-Dallas/Fort Worth; Tristan Ahtone of High Country News; Lucas Waldron of ProPublica; Natalie Hee of KRIV-Houston

    This session will be a healthy discussion about the importance of diversity in the newsroom. More and more these days, viewers and readers are looking for a connection with the storyteller. Being relatable and understanding the joy or pain of a community is so important. This session is for all types of journalists and managers - any ethnicities, minorities and majorities. That’s the point. We want an all-inclusive room to talk about an often controversial topic. 

    This panel was planned in collaboration with the Asian American Journalists Association.

    Briargrove

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Commons

    Freelancers networking meetup

    Speaker: Laird Townsend of Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE)

    An opportunity for freelance journalists to network with each other and with people hiring for freelance work.

    Sugarland

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Workshop

    Master class: The solo journalist in a digital/broadcast newsroom **pre-registered attendees only

    Speaker: Brendan Keefe of WXIA-Atlanta

    How can one person do it all and do it well? Brendan Keefe has won an IRE Award, Peabody, duPont/Columbia and multiple National Murrow awards all since choosing to work as his own photographer, video editor, researcher and reporter. Brendan will show you how he sets up multiple cameras for investigative interviews and how working alone can actually be an advantage for surveillance and accountability investigations. 

    This three-hour seminar will feature real-world examples of the solo investigator’s craft and in-person demonstrations for beginners and advanced visual storytellers. As a bonus, Brendan will share the gadgets, tools and apps that allow him to capture the shot and make documents sing for digital and television.

    Experienced and aspiring MMJs will benefit most from this seminar, but reporters with an interest in adding to their skill sets — and photographer/editors who want to step up their game — will also learn valuable techniques that can be implemented immediately.

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    Kingwood

    2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Workshop

    Master class: Writing the narrative (Friday) **pre-registered attendees only

    Speaker: Mimi Swartz of Texas Monthly

    You’ve gathered data, docs and human sources. Now it’s time to turn your reporting into a story — or a series — that packs a punch. If you’re new to investigative storytelling or want to up your writing game, this workshop is for you.

    In this half-day workshop, we’ll cover the entire story lifecycle, from reporting to writing to planning for publication. Topics include:

    • Understanding narrative
    • Reporting for story — How to gather the details and scenes that will give your piece emotional power
    • Focus and framing – Finding your way through all that material
    • Self-editing tips and techniques
    • Developing a story team — How to get photographers, artists, designers, digital producers and editors unified behind a common vision

    We’ll look at examples of successful stories, pulling back the curtain to see how they came together.

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

    ** This class is full. Add your name to the wait list. **


    Sugarland

    2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Mastering Google Sheets: Web scraping, running scripts and other tricks (Friday) **pre-registered attendees only

    Speaker: Frank Bi of Vox Media

    Google Sheets is more than just free spreadsheet software to organize and store data. In this hands-on session will start with pivot tables and conditional formatting but through examples, we'll also learn how to scrape data in seconds without code, automate menial tasks with macros, write custom spreadsheet formulas as well as how to send emails, geocode addresses, translate text and more – all through the power of Google Sheets. 

    Preregistration is required and seating is limited. Attendees must bring a laptop (no tablets) and charger to the training.

    Workshop prerequisites: You should be familiar with using spreadsheets and formulas and have a Google account.

    Clear Lake

    2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Panel

    Management Track: Rebuilding the muscle in local news

    Speakers: Chris Cobler of The Victoria Advocate; Charles Sennott of Report for America; Marilyn Thompson of ProPublica; Ken Ward Jr. of Charleston Gazette-Mail

    This session will assess enterprise and investigative reporting in local communities where news organizations have suffered financial woes and deep staffing cutbacks. How partnerships with non-profits are playing a key role in restoring accountability reporting, and a candid look at both the opportunities and the challenges of partnering. 

    Texas C

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Public Records Track: 50 records to request right now

    Speakers: Marina Trahan Martinez of independent journalist; Paula Lavigne of ESPN

    Get your FOI templates ready to roll. In this quick-paced, lightning-round style session, two investigative reporters and public records geeks will cover their favorite, most unique, overlooked and under-appreciated records to request from all levels of government. They'll also give examples of how these records were used to produce stories in newsrooms around the country.

    This session is sponsored by the TEGNA Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas D

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Demo

    Storytelling and the Census

    Speaker: Gerson Vasquez of Census Bureau

    Data are everywhere and play an increasingly integral role in reporting and storytelling. The U.S. Census Bureau collects countless statistics on populations and industries. How do you comb through mountains of data and tell the stories behind the numbers? To meet that need, the Bureau has created a news-style platform that tell the stories behind data points on families, housing, employment, business, education, population, and emergency preparedness. Discover what the nation’s preeminent statistical agency is doing to advance this type of storytelling with Gerson Vasquez, data visualization lead. He will walk you through ways to present Census data to a general audience in a variety of formats, from news stories, podcasts and videos to graphics and interactive visualizations. 

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    David Mitzner

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Demo

    Technology & Tools Track: Reporters, digital security, and emerging threats

    Speakers: Jorge Luis Sierra of Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers; Neena Kapur of The New York Times; Kristen Kozinski of The New York Times; Dave Maass of Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Whether covering a local beat or investigating national security, journalists must make deliberate decisions about how they protect their devices, communications, and sensitive data, particularly in an era of mass surveillance, data breaches, and targeted hacking. However, there is no suite of tools or practices that will fit all circumstances, and the field of options can be daunting. The panelists will provide an overview of basic threat modeling, device security, encrypted communications, and an array of online resources that can help inform newsroom discussions about these critical issues as the risks facing journalists evolve. 

    Texas G

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Transparency in investigative reporting

    Speakers: Lorie Hearn of inewsource; Charles Ornstein of ProPublica; Shawn McIntosh of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    In an era when “Fake News” is part of the everyday lexicon and readers question the credibility of our work, transparency matters. This panel will explore practices that can build trust with readers, such as annotating stories; publishing source documents; revealing our funding sources and being upfront with story subjects about what we’re investigating. We’ll explore tricky issues like how much to say about an investigation before it publishes and how to respond to concerns about accuracy and bias.

     

    Meyerland

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Emotions and accountability: The art of compelling interviews

    Speakers: Joce Sterman of Sinclair Broadcast Group; Phil Williams of WTVF-Nashville; Chris Papst of WBFF-Baltimore

    Interviews can make or break a story, so you can't just wing it. Seasoned broadcast journalists break down their strategies and tips for making the most out of those on-camera conversations — from interview prep to accountability sessions, getting reluctant people to open up and more.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Demo

    Connecting the dots with health data: The Implant Files Case

    Speakers: Andrew Lehren of NBC News; Emily Siegel of NBC News; Pauliina Siniauer of independent journalist

    The Implant Files investigation involved a global effort of more than 1,500 FOI requests to gather data on medical devices in different parts of the world. It was a collaboration that involved more than 250 journalists in 36 countries. As a result, ICIJ released the first International Medical Devices Database that facilitates the exploration of more than 75,000 recalls, safety alerts and field safety notices of medical devices and their connections with manufacturers. 

    Join us to explore the possibilities this data collection has to offer and how to connect it with other health datasets to report on stories linked to the medical devices industry. 

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    David Mitzner

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Covering sins of the church

    Speakers: Jeremy Rogalski of KHOU-Houston; Lise Olsen of Houston Chronicle; Bob Smietana of Religion News Service

    Learn how to better investigate religious figures in a panel that explores hidden church archives and sources, exposes sex abuse secrets of Southern Baptists and updates the latest innovations in Catholic clergy scandals. The devil is always in the details, and these veteran journalists will enlighten you on pitfalls to avoid.

    Texas G

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Dark money 2020

    Speakers: Michael Beckel of Issue One; Anna Massoglia of Center for Responsive Politics; Robin Fields of ProPublica

    Dark money is poised to play a major role in the 2020 elections, up and down the ballot, aiding candidates across the ideological spectrum. This panel will empower journalists to uncover information about dark money activity, detailing tools and techniques to track secretive groups, piece together opaque spending networks, and uncover donors by using political ad records, corporate records, campaign finance data, and filings with the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, Congress and more. You can start by bookmarking OpenSecrets.org as well as Issue One's database of dark money donors (bit.ly/DarkMoneyData).

    Briargrove

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    How to use audio to break assumptions and create empathy

    Speakers: Lindsey Smith of Michigan Radio; Kate Wells of Michigan Radio

    Michigan Radio and NPR’s podcast "Believed" moved beyond the headlines for an intimate look at how a detective, prosecutor and army of survivors brought down former U.S.A. Gymnastics doctor and serial sex offender, Larry Nassar. Learn how Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith investigated Nassar's assaults through the voices and experiences of his victims and their families to capture listeners and hit the number one spot on the iTunes chart. 

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas F

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Technology & Tools Track: Al’s cool tools: A hands-on geek out session for investigators

    Speaker: Al Tompkins of Poynter

    Take a break from the heavy duty data and reporting sessions to learn awesome new ways to use your phones and (mostly) free online tools to tell your stories and save time and effort.  You will use these tools to produce social media posts that attract eyeballs and also enhance your storytelling. We will build multimedia projects, learn how to produce animated graphics and see the newest free tools to produce spectacular web displays in minutes. And you will do these things DURING the session if you bring your phone/tablet/laptop and hook into the WiFi before we start. Come ready to laugh and learn. You will use this stuff right away.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas D

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Technology & Tools Track: Making data investigations shine on multiple platforms

    Speakers: Josh Hinkle of KXAN/NBC Austin; Gabriel Dance of The New York Times; Darla Cameron of The Texas Tribune

    Investigators often have a ton of numbers and details that can be tough to make simple enough to understand and visually stunning enough to grab an audience's attention. Using on-air and digital examples, panelists will walk attendees step-by-step through the decisions to use certain formats, creative ideas and different platforms/tools to highlight all that digging and elevate its importance in a story.

    Texas C

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Uncovering inequities in education and obstacles to student achievement

    Speakers: Katie Benner of The New York Times; Neal Morton of The Seattle Times; Kim Clark of Education Writers Association; Alex Harwin of Education Week Research Center

    Education "success stories" at high schools may mask underlying problems and ignore obstacles that hinder students once they get to college or another post-secondary school. Learn how to document and track challenges such as high student mobility, inequities in funding and opportunity, and questionable conduct by some school leaders. 

    This panel was planned in collaboration with the Education Writers Association. It is sponsored by the Lumina Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Hands-on

    Workbench: Reproducible data work without code

    Speakers: Pierre Forcioli-Conti of Workbench; Jonathan Stray of Columbia Journalism School

    Workbench is an open source tool that puts all stages of the data journalism process in one workspace, including scraping, cleaning, monitoring, and visualization — all without coding, and all reproducible. 

    In this hands-on tutorial, you'll learn how to use Workbench for several different newsroom tasks. Clean and explore data, monitor sources, create live embeddable charts that update when new data is released, or build useful queries that other journalists can use to report on a data set. Workbench is built to help make data tasks accessible to more people in the newsroom.

    River Oaks A

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Lightning talks

    Speaker: Nicole Vap of KUSA/9News Denver

    **Moderated by Nicole Vap, KUSA/9News Denver

    We're bringing Lightning Talks back to the IRE Conference broadcast track. Hear from the top investigative reporters in the country, who will each present for five minutes.

    1. “Perfect Pitch”

    Aaron Wische KPRC

    2. “The balancing act: GA and Investigative”

    Rachel Polansky, NBC2

    3. “Bingable Investigations”

    Evan Stulberger, NBC

    4. “Location, Location, Location”

    Tonya Simpson, WTVD

    5. “Investigating College Sports”

    Josh Fine, HBO

    6. “The System is Guilty”

    Katie Wilcox, KPNX

    7. “Quick and Easy Maps for TV (That work great for digital too)” 

    Keaton Fuchs, ABC

    8. “Talking to more than yourself—Turn your investigation into a podcast”

    Jeremy Jojola, KUSA

    9. “Why you should quit your job and travel the world”

    Noah Pransky

     

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Demo

    Easy machine learning for journalists

    Speakers: Dale Markowitz of Google; Jeremy Merrill of Quartz

    In newsrooms, machine learning has been used to identify secret spy planes, tag unreported hate crimes, track overfishing, and more. Google’s machine learning tools make it easy to build projects like this, no data science background required. In this session, a Google engineer will give an overview and show how they can be used for compelling, data-driven reporting and a Quartz journalist will describe how machine-learning tools fit into familiar investigative-journalism processes.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    David Mitzner

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Finding the story: Campaign finance (repeat)

    Speaker: Carrie Levine of The Center for Public Integrity

    A hands-on introduction to searching for, finding and using federal campaign finance data for beginners. This class will cover using the new Federal Election Commission website to find and download different types of campaign finance data. We’ll also review things to know about the data, including common pitfalls. 

    This session is good for: people who want an introduction to finding and working with federal campaign finance data. Knowing Excel will be helpful.

    River Oaks A

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Panel

    SHOWCASE: Investigating Trumpworld: Documents, data, sourcing and tactics to uncover secret business practices

    Speakers: Andrea Bernstein of WNYC - New York Public Radio; Susanne Craig of The New York Times; David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post; David Cay Johnston of DCReport; Michael Rothfeld of The Wall Street Journal; Pierre Thomas of ABC News

    What can investigative journalists anywhere learn and apply in their own work from the award-winning coverage of the Trump Organization, Trump Foundation and related businesses? In this fast-paced Showcase Panel, hear behind-the-scenes stories and advice from journalists who've broken some of the biggest investigations during the Trump Administration. What documents and data can help you investigate wealthy people and businesses in your own communities? How can you develop sources who will help you navigate through sticky financial wickets? And how do you deal effectively with pushback and attacks on your work from powerful people?

    Texas D

    5:00 pm - 6:15 pm

  • Panel

    Uncovering predatory and abusive housing practices

    Speakers: Suzy Khimm of NBC News; Kae Petrin of St. Louis Public Radio; Jeff Kelly Lowenstein of Grand Valley State University

    Take your housing stories beyond real estate coverage. In this panel, we’ll offer tips on how to expose unscrupulous developers, life-threatening housing conditions and mortgage abuses that are harming families across the U.S. You’ll walk away with new tools for digging into public records to hold predatory businesses and negligent officials accountable, and for crafting compelling narratives about the human impact of malfeasance in the housing industry on the local and national level.

    Texas G

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Special Event

    IRE Board of Director candidate speeches

    Meet the candidates for the IRE Board of Directors at 6:15 p.m. in Texas D, located on level 4 of the Marriott Marquis Houston following the afternoon Showcase Panel.

    Texas D

    6:15 pm - 6:30 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas Foyer

    8:00 am - 6:00 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas Foyer

    8:00 am - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Data analysis with Python **pre-registered attendees only

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Skill level: Advanced

    Learn how to use Jupyter notebooks with the popular Python library pandas to kickstart your data analysis workflow. In this session, you'll write code to quickly sort, filter, group, clean and join large data sets -- all within a browser-based notebook that doubles as your data diary.

    Preregistration is required and seating is limited. Laptops will be provided for the training.

    Workshop prerequisites: This is programming for beginners. Some familiarity with basic Python syntax is helpful -- you might first check out the Python 101 session offered separately -- but not required.

    NOTE: Registration is required for this session. Click here to sign up.

    River Oaks A

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Digging into data for stories: A crash course in Excel (Sat & Sun) **pre-registered attendees only

    Skill level: Beginner

    Get started with using data in your stories with IRE's original mini-boot camp. In this 7-hour, hands-on workshop, IRE’s experienced trainers will start with the basics of navigating Excel and using formulas, then walk you through sorting, filtering and aggregating data with PivotTables to find story ideas.

    You'll come away with a solid base for using data analysis in your newsroom, including how to find and request data, identify and clean dirty data, find story ideas and bulletproof your work. 

    We’ll also provide you with our detailed boot camp materials to help keep you on track long after you leave the conference. 

    Preregistration is required and seating is limited. Laptops will be provided for the training.

    Workshop prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this workshop and beginners are welcome. This workshop is good for those wanting to get started analyzing data for stories.

    Saturday & Sunday's session is Saturday, June 15, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 16, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Registration for this session reserves your seat for both days of this workshop and attendees are expected to attend both sessions to complete the workshop.

    River Oaks C

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Saturday #1

    Speaker: Al Tompkins of Poynter

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Juggling GA & investigative

    Speakers: Nicole Carr of WSB-Atlanta; Kyle Jones of WJCL 22; Mark Greenblatt of Scripps Washington Bureau; Letitia Walker of KATC-Lafayette

    Learn how to balance being an investigative journalist who also needs to contribute daily to the news cycle. You can do both effectively! Hear from investigative reporters and a news director about the ways they ensure investigative pieces make it to air consistently and how to develop a culture where every reporter considers investigations a part of their beat. We'll discuss both quick-turn and larger investigation tactics, as well as the tools and strategies used to manage ourselves, record requests and story ideas.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Demo

    Business Track: Dig into companies with financial statement shortcuts

    Speaker: Cara Lombardo of The Wall Street Journal

    A company's financial statements are meant to communicate to investors how a business works, how successful it has been and what to expect in the future. But rather than stating it outright, the financial statements often require hands-on analysis and careful reading to draw meaningful conclusions. Cara Lombardo, The Wall Street Journal's mergers and acquisitions reporter and a Certified Public Accountant, will lead the class through several easy shortcuts to spot the types of red flags that can lead to big stories.

    This session is sponsored by Bloomberg. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Covering elections in an “off” year

    Speakers: Sandra Fish of independent journalist; Jessica Huseman of ProPublica; Kira Lerner of The Appeal

    Local elections offices never really have an off year, but local elections tend to be less chaotic than federal elections. Learn how to use this time productively by getting to know your local election administrator and the issues they face (or cause!). We’ll focus in on key areas of security, election administration and changing laws and how all of those things impact the voter’s ability to cast a ballot. You’ll walk away from this panel with specific questions to ask your municipal, county and state officials and investigative story ideas you can start working on before the chaos of 2020 begins.

    Texas G

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Demo

    Easy, free dataviz tools

    Speakers: Rachael Gleason of Hearst Newspapers; Jamie Grey of InvestigateTV

    Need a chart, map or other visualization to make your work stand out? Come for this roundup of free (or mostly free) data visualization tools that anyone can use.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas C

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Hands-on

    Excel: Using string functions to manipulate data

    Speaker: Madi Alexander of Bloomberg Government

    Maybe you converted a PDF or imported a table into Excel -- or maybe an agency gave you a poorly formatted file. You can use string functions to reformat your data and get your spreadsheets working for you.

    This session is good for: Anyone comfortable with using formulas in Excel.

    River Oaks B

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Immigration Track: Covering immigration issues far from the border

    Speakers: Maria Perez of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Daniel Connolly of The Commercial Appeal; Andrew Lehren of NBC News

    When it comes to immigration coverage, border stories draw most of the attention. But important stories about immigrant communities and policies are playing out across the country, from workplace arrests, international custody fights and the health and safety of immigrants held in detention centers. Daniel Connolly, Andrew Lehren and Maria Perez help you find and tell these stories in your own community - even if you've never covered immigration before.

    This session is sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas D

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Workshop

    Master class: Mastering the interview (print focus) **pre-registered attendees only

    Speakers: Marisa Kwiatkowski of USA TODAY Network; Corey Johnson of Tampa Bay Times

    There’s a powerful person or organization in your area and they’re abusing their power. Rumors are swirling about people who’ve been hurt, or money that was stolen. The folks in the know are scared. The flack is spewing hot-smoking nonsense.

    You want this story. You want it bad. But you don’t have a clue how to get it.

    It may seem hopeless.

    It is not.

    Through the magic of interviewing, you can crack the code. This Master Class by investigative reporters Marisa Kwiatkowski and Corey Johnson is designed to teach you how.

    During this half-day session, we’ll demystify the process and break down the concrete steps to take the Big Story. Topics will include:

    • How — and when — to land a tough interview
    • Interview preparation
    • Interviewing people who have been hurt, and interviewing the people who hurt them
    • The power of silence
    • How to interview someone who won’t talk to you (and yes, this can be done — sort of)
    • What to do after the interview

    Pre-registration is required and seating is limited.

    ** This class is full. Add your name to the wait list. **


    Clear Lake

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Patient medical bills as a reporting tool: Billing codes, benefit statements, medicare rates and chargemasters

    Speakers: Jeanne Pinder of ClearHealthCosts; Chris Vanderveen of KUSA/9News Denver; Elisabeth Rosenthal of Kaiser Health News

    Medical bills are an almost unending source of stories. The three panelists find motherlodes of willing patients who themselves supply deep research on very personal issues, stacks of paperwork and an almost inexhaustible desire to reveal their deepest personal secrets -- so you, the reporter, can tell a great story.

    Highlights:

    • It's an endless source of deep engagement with your community, and deep praise from them. We all agreed that we have never had this kind of feedback in our careers in journalism.
    • It's not as hard as it seems -- a lot of sources have already done deep research by the time they find you.
    • People are angry and afraid, and motivated.
    • Yes, you can have policy impact: Our work speeds legislation and regulation.

    Briargrove

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Technology & Tools Track: Unpacking AI’s influence in your community

    Speakers: Kate Kaye of RedTail; Lauren Kirchner of independent journalist; Jonathan Stray of Columbia Journalism School

    Many companies are already using AI technology to shape our everyday life, but what about our most trusted community institutions? This panel will unpack how AI is being deployed and adapted by your local institutions from the police to courts to news outlets and more.

    You'll hear how to build a new beat on AI ethics if it's a new subject for you, and then you'll learn the basics of algorithmic accountability reporting — including where to look for stories, and how to collect and analyze your own data.

    David Mitzner

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    You just released a major investigation – Yay, it’s done! Oh sh*t. Now what?

    Speakers: Emily Le Coz of GateHouse Media; Noah Pransky of independent journalist; Anne Galloway of VTDigger.org; Andrew Finlayson of SmithGeiger

    Four experts give you strategies for identifying follow-ups and using social media to keep your story alive and create the biggest impact.

    Texas F

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Demo

    Backgrounding like a boss: Perfecting your 15-minute background check and why you should do it every time

    Speaker: Kate Howard of Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

    How are you sure that great source with the perfect quote isn't too good to be true? Even great reporters can get tricked by fake names or sketchy backgrounds. We'll walk through some websites and strategies you can use to create a routine and spot potential red flags before you get burned. This session is great for new reporters or anyone who wants to background people more thoroughly.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas G

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Saturday #2

    Speaker: Al Tompkins of Poynter

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Overcoming obstacles

    Speakers: Chris Henao of KSAT-San Antonio; Scott Friedman of KXAS/NBC5 Dallas-Fort Worth; Diane Wilson of ABC11 WTVD; Scott Zamost of CNBC

    How often do you hit the wall on an investigative project? Four veteran journalists share their expertise on what to do when the challenges seem overwhelming. Victim won’t talk? PR person thwarting efforts to get your subject to sit down? Can't get that one key piece of video or critical document? Your lawyers slowing down the process? Not a very visual story and need to find another way around? We’ll dive into how to overcome those obstacles and find the way to the finish line.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: Native Americans and the criminal justice system

    Speakers: Charly Edsitty of KTRK-Houston; Mary Hudetz of The Associated Press; Trina Roache of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network; Connie Walker of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

    The justice system's profound impact on Indigenous people has long been a tough topic to cover -- given a landscape of hard-to-reach communities, overlapping law enforcement jurisdictions and limited data. In this session, hear from journalists who have navigated the challenges to tell sensitive, groundbreaking stories about the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, police misconduct and tribal jails. We’ll go over best practices for building trust with sources, and obtaining documents kept by federal and tribal governments. 

    This panel was planned in collaboration with the Native American Journalists Association.

    Briargrove

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Hands-on

    Excel: Basic stats

    Speaker: Jeff Kelly Lowenstein of Grand Valley State University

    You don't need a special statistics program to run simple statistical analysis. In this session, you'll learn how to compute some basic statistics in Excel and figure out what they mean.

    This session is good for: People who already are comfortable with using functions in Excel.

    River Oaks B

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Immigration Track: Using data to cover immigration

    Speakers: Garance Burke of The Associated Press; Perla Trevizo of Houston Chronicle; Topher Sanders of ProPublica

    The immigration beat is rich with data, but it's not always easy to get or to interpret. You already know about statistical yearbooks, the monthly reports put out by Customs and Border Protection and are familiar with the stats from the Executive Office of Immigration Review, but how do you go beyond that? How can you request the raw data, how do you word FOIA requests to ensure compliance, and how can you merge and analyze information from multiple sources to get a broader picture of what happens at the border? Finally, how can you “roll your own” data when what you get in response doesn’t tell the full story? 

    Texas F

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Lead from where you are

    Speakers: Jill Geisler of Loyola University; Manny Garcia of USA TODAY Network

    You may or may not have a supervisory title, but you’re very likely managing change in your organization. Investigative journalists are at the forefront of using new technology and tools, working with new partnerships and platforms, and facing the ethical challenges that come along with all of them. How do you grow your influence in an organization? Manage your boss? Have tough conversations with good outcomes? Give feedback that motivates your colleagues, even on a rough day? How do you coach up-and-coming co-workers and not simply “fix” their work? 

    Come to this session prepared to ask tough questions like that, and more, of the country’s leading expert on newsroom leadership. Jill Geisler speaks from newsroom experience and years of coaching media leaders across the globe with practical, evidence-based advice. Veteran IRE leader Manny Garcia will engage Jill and the whole room in a conversation on how to lead from where you are. 

    This session was planned in collaboration with the News Leaders Association (ASNE and APME).

    Texas D

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Starting from scratch

    Speakers: Matt Apuzzo of The New York Times; Bethany Barnes of Tampa Bay Times; Katie Leslie of NBC4 Washington

    Whether it's a new investigation, a new beat or a new job, the choices we make early on can set us on the path to success — or ruin. This panel of three reporters who started from scratch this year will offer practical tips on changing gears or media, source-development and finding the story the more experienced reporters have missed.

    Meyerland

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Storyboarding your investigation

    Speakers: Samara Freemark of American Public Media; Amy Pyle of USA TODAY Network; Patricia Wen of The Boston Globe

    Whether you use Post-Its, a white board, a spreadsheet or an old-fashioned yellow pad, keeping your head above a flood of information is crucial to your investigation’s success. This session will tap examples from the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team and the “In the Dark” podcast for techniques to safely navigate the key phases of organization in any medium: managing material; pruning and pivoting; and visualizing the story.

    Texas C

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Demo

    Using data to uncover corruption in public procurement

    Speakers: Georg Neumann of Open Contracting Partnership; Giannina Segnini Picado of Columbia Journalism School

    Learn how open data can help uncover fraud and corruption in public procurement, the world's largest marketplace.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    David Mitzner

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Saturday #3

    Speaker: Lisa R. Cohen of Columbia Journalism School

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: The 10 most important lessons I've learned

    Speakers: Eric Flack of WUSA9 Washington; Jodie Fleischer of NBC4 Washington; Tony Kovaleski of KMGH-Denver

    From confrontations to collaborations and FOIAs to fact-checking, you'll hear from three TV news veterans about the most important lessons they’ve learned in their careers.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Business Track: Make your business stories sing

    Speakers: Anupreeta Das of The Wall Street Journal; Alison Young of Missouri School of Journalism; Lauren Etter of Bloomberg News

    Business stories are often rooted in numbers, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. This session will provide tips for identifying the characters and anecdotes that fuel compelling storytelling, approaches for cultivating sources and some non-traditional techniques to get records and data about the businesses you are investigating.

    This panel is sponsored by Bloomberg. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Business Track: Public documents, private companies

    Speaker: Coulter Jones of The Wall Street Journal

    Cryptocurrency dealers, tech startups, established multinational corporations and even local brick-and-mortar stores are raising money and conducting business in private markets. In this session, you'll learn how to find key public records and information -- in places that aren't always obvious -- on the private companies in your backyard. 

    This session is sponsored by Bloomberg. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    David Mitzner

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Changes in college sports and the NCAA

    Speakers: Jodi Upton of Syracuse University; Scott Hirko of Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics; David Barron of Houston Chronicle

    From paying players to bribery convictions of shoe executives, the turmoil in college sports seems endless. 2019 may mark the end of college sports as we know it, especially for football. Most crystal-ball watchers are predicting major conference realignments and a lot of dropped programs if some of the current lawsuits are resolved as expected. And if they aren't, the future of college sports may be decided by the Supreme Court -- and likely all in the next few years before the major cable contracts are awarded. Amidst all the chaos there's never been more need for watchdogs in this $10B-dollar enterprise in DI.

    Briargrove

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Finding the story: Guns

    Speaker: Brian Freskos of The Trace

    The national conversation about guns is seemingly nonstop, but data surrounding firearms can be tough to grasp, or in some cases non-existent or exempted from public release. In this class, you’ll spend an hour working with gun data collected by police and exploring ways to localize storytelling about guns in your community. 

    This session is good for: Anyone who is comfortable working with data in Excel. 

    River Oaks B

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Overcoming your fear of math

    Speakers: John Harden of The Washington Post; Stephanie Lamm of The Dallas Morning News; Madi Alexander of Bloomberg Government

    Journalists often joke they got into the field because they hated math or didn't feel good about it. That phobia can be a deterrent for some from attempting to beef up their data journalism skills. How can you conquer this and what have been the barriers we may not be aware of on this journey, as it usually starts when we are still kids?

    Texas G

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Public Records Track: No one uses email anymore

    Speakers: Pam Dempsey of The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting; Jason Hancock of The Kansas City Star; Daxton Stewart of Texas Christian University

    So many good public records stories have come from email communications among public officials. But as more and more public officials move away from email and communicate via text message, social media and secretive messaging apps, it's not as easy for journalists and the public to get their hands on these more ephemeral records. We'll discuss some strategies to find and get copies of these records, as well as how public records laws are adapting to these new technologies.

    Texas F

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    The first hours of breaking news

    Speakers: Julie Bloom of The New York Times; Susan Carroll of Houston Chronicle; Sarah Knight of NPR; Tom Winter of NBC News

    When big news breaks, the investigator’s role is to dive head-first into the story behind the news story: How did this happen? How do we keep this from happening again? This session will offer tips and strategies for bringing an investigative edge to big breaking news stories, including how to develop a story in real time while using documents, databases, readers and innovative tools to own the story on air, in print and online.

    Texas C

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Using data and documents in your reporting

    Speakers: Blake Ellis of CNN; Melanie Hicken of CNN; Topher Sanders of ProPublica; Kristin Hussey of independent journalist

    How to get in the document mindset and look for data and documents on all beats. We give specific examples of documents and data that are available and useful for investigative reporting.

    Texas D

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Awards Luncheon

    IRE Awards Luncheon featuring Rick Hutzell as keynote speaker (co-sponsored by NBC News and NBC Owned Television Stations)

    A highlight of the IRE conference, the IRE Awards Luncheon begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Houston Ballroom located on level 2 of the Marriott Marquis Houston. We will present the 2018 IRE Awards and salute some of the best investigative work of the past year, and will hear from keynote speaker Rick Hutzell, the editor of Capital Gazette Communications. Admission to the luncheon is included with your conference registration. Guest tickets can be purchased here for $60. Guest tickets will be available for pick-up at the IRE sales table located on level 4 of the Marriott Marquis Houston beginning Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 a.m.

    Houston Ballroom

    12:30 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Workshop

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: Battling bias

    Speakers: Emmanuel Martinez of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Martin G. Reynolds of The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

    Women, people of color, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ, among other marginalized communities, have been increasingly under fire since November 2016. Now more than ever, investigative journalists who cover these communities and the issues affecting them must raise the level of their cultural competency if they hope to report with accuracy and nuance. So how do you effectively cover people and communities that you’re not a part of? In this workshop, we will talk about how implicit bias can affect the way we cover communities we're not a part of and further perpetuate bias and misconceptions. Come learn about the Maynard Institute's Fault Lines framework and other techniques that will help prevent you from perpetuating people as stereotypes.

    Clear Lake

    2:30 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Broadcast Track: Deep dive 3: Best of broadcast

    Speakers: Jeremy Rogalski of KHOU-Houston; Chris Vanderveen of KUSA/9News Denver; Melanie Woodrow of KGO/ABC7 San Francisco

    A deep dive into how some of the biggest stories of the year came to fruition.

    This session is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Texas H

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Cleaning data with OpenRefine

    Speaker: Thad Guidry of OpenRefine

    We'll go over how to use OpenRefine for common data cleaning problems, such as parsing and cleaning names and addresses, combining and breaking apart fields and more as time allows. 

    This session is good for: People with at least some Excel experience.

    River Oaks A

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Driveway moments: The art of long-form audio narrative

    Speakers: Robin Amer of The City; Dave Cawley of KSL Newsradio; Jen Chien of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Cheryl W. Thompson of NPR

    This session will cover the essentials of compelling audio storytelling, including getting the most from your meetings with your sources, interviewing for good narrative, as well as building scenes and emotion into your story.    

    Texas G

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Mastering Google Sheets: Web scraping, running scripts and other tricks (Saturday) **pre-registered attendees only

    Speaker: Frank Bi of Vox Media

    Skill level: Beginner

    Google Sheets is more than just free spreadsheet software to organize and store data. In this hands-on session will start with pivot tables and conditional formatting but through examples, we'll also learn how to scrape data in seconds without code, automate menial tasks with macros, write custom spreadsheet formulas as well as how to send emails, geocode addresses, translate text and more – all through the power of Google Sheets. 

    Preregistration is required and seating is limited.  Laptops will be provided for the training.

    Workshop prerequisites: You should be familiar with using spreadsheets and formulas.

    River Oaks A

    3:00 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Management Track: Editing & bulletproofing the data story

    Speakers: Maud Beelman of ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism; Jennifer LaFleur of Investigative Reporting Workshop

    Managing a data project presents challenges for any editor. No matter your comfort level with data, this session will give you the foundation you need to help make sure your reporters aren't running with scissors or spinning their wheels on data projects. Two veteran editors, Jennifer LaFleur of The Investigative Reporting Workshop and Maud Beelman of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, will guide you through the ins and outs of data journalism from an editor's point of view, including helping reporters find focus for their data stories, being skeptical of data and finding potential pitfalls.

    Meyerland

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Demo

    Personal safety for reporters

    Speaker: Cathy Chapaty of National Women’s Martial Arts Federation

    According to Reporters Without Borders, 2018 was the worst year on record for violence against journalists. In this session, participants will learn personal safety strategies to keep themselves safe in the field. This is a physical, interactive session—yes, there will be kicking and punching! Participate to the level you feel comfortable, but remember that you’ll get out of it what you put in.

    If you come: Wear normal clothes. Bring the tools you would take into the field.

     

    Briargrove

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Sourcing while female

    Speakers: Bethany Barnes of Tampa Bay Times; Erica Green of The New York Times; Melissa Segura of BuzzFeed News; Shoshana Walter of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting

    Go behind the scenes with experienced female journalists to learn how they get scoops, convince people to spill their guts and navigate instances where sources cross the line. Men also welcome. You're guaranteed to learn something you didn't know.

    Texas F

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Technology & Tools Track: Debunking viral misinformation about elections: Lessons from Verificado

    Speakers: Monica Rosas of AJ+ Español; Norberto Santana of Voice of OC

    Verificado, the largest-ever collaborative effort of its kind in Latin America, battled misinformation in the Mexican elections through fact-checking, debunking false viral content and verifying reports about the electoral process. Lessons learned from the unprecedented project can be replicated in other countries. Get advice on collaborating across platforms and using social media and digital tools to vet information and debunk fakes. 

    This session was planned in collaboration with the Online News Association.

    Texas C

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Demo

    Technology & Tools Track: Research geyser

    Speakers: Barbara Gray of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism; Erin Sood of The Dallas Morning News

    Drilling into the latest investigative research tools and techniques

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    David Mitzner

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Visualizing data with Tableau

    Speaker: John Schoen of CNBC Digital

    Yes, you can make beautiful charts, maps and interactive graphics with Tableau. Learn how to import data from a spreadsheet, wrangle the data and build graphics like bar charts and maps, all without writing a single line of code. 

    This class is good for: People who have some familiarity with data analysis.

    River Oaks C

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Workplace integrity: Critical thinking and courageous conversations

    Speaker: Jill Geisler of Loyola University

    When the #MeToo scandals broke in media organizations, The Freedom Forum Institute reached out to Jill Geisler to help identify flawed organizational systems in which misconduct flourished. She led the 2018 Power Shift Summit at the Newseum, convening people at the heart of the breaking stories, experts on sexual misconduct and discrimination, survivors and advocates. The Summit led to the Power Shift Project, for which Jill developed the Workplace Integrity curriculum. 

    Unlike traditional anti-harassment training, which has not proven to be effective, Workplace Integrity is designed for the way journalists — especially investigative journalists — like to tackle problems: through critical thinking. Instead of focusing on the limits of the law, it challenges people to identify flaws in logic, check facts, surface assumptions and probe for bias — all in the course of some down-to-earth conversations we rarely have at work. Take part in the Workplace Integrity Critical Thinking exercise — and learn how your own newsroom could benefit as a result.

    Texas D

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Best practices for student-led investigations: For students, by students

    Speakers: Pauliina Siniauer of independent journalist; Lindsey Vickers of Boston University; Sam Bergum of KXTV-Sacramento; Steven Rich of The Washington Post

    Student journalists can face unique reporting challenges. Getting interviews, sources and access can be hard without the backing of a professional organization, and especially as a student. Join this group of current journalism students and recent graduates to learn about stories we’ve worked on, and tips for finding, and finishing, impactful investigations while you're in school.

    Meyerland

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Show and Tell

    Broadcast Show & Tell - Saturday #4

    Speaker: Liz Roldan of WFOR/CBS Miami

    Show & Tell sessions allow you to share your investigations with colleagues from around the country. Veteran broadcasters will moderate each session. Each slot runs for 15 minutes.

    Sign-ups will open June 10. 

    This session is sponsored by the Napoli Management Group. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Kingwood

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Dirty money, European banks and Russian organized crime

    Speakers: Axel Humlesjö of SVT (Swedish Television); Roman Anin of Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project; Anna Babinets of Slidstvo.info

    Oligarchs, corrupt politicians and organized crime have funneled billions of dollars from ex-Soviet countries to the West using renowned European banks. Meet the journalists who have exposed the scandals and investigated the money laundering schemes from Moscow to Manhattan. 

    In this session you will understand how Paul Manafort built his offshore network, learn how ex-president Viktor Yanukovych tried to burn the evidence of his corruption and get advice on how to use databases all around the world to dig deeper into the secrets of the oligarchs in the offshore world.

    David Mitzner

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: Finding stories in undercovered communities

    Speakers: Anita Hassan of Las Vegas Review-Journal; Allan Clarke of Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Monica Rhor of Houston Chronicle

    Learn how to report and write beyond stereotypes. Often, the most important stories in marginalized communities — such as minorities, immigrants and the homeless — go untold because reporters are reluctant to go into communities they are not familiar with, leaving people in those communities feeling misunderstood and unrepresented. This session will discuss how to find the stories, whether using data or by sourcing, building trust in such communities and best storytelling practices.

    Briargrove

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Diversity & Inclusion Track: How to retain journalists from underrepresented groups, including those of color

    Speakers: Manny Garcia of USA TODAY Network; Felicia Harris of University of Houston-Downtown; Jyoti Thottam of The New York Times; Matt Thompson of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Liz Roldan of WFOR/CBS Miami

    While there’s been much talk about diversifying newsrooms for what seems like decades, recent reports indicate that newsroom employees are less diverse than U.S. workers overall. Meanwhile, voices from underrepresented groups are leading the way in content creation and garnering national audiences in spite of the overwhelming sameness plaguing U.S. newsrooms. Although the next generation of newsroom employees are on track to be more diverse, the startling lack of present-day diversity requires us to move beyond the idea of recruitment and address a more pressing question: once they’re on our teams, how do we support and retain journalists from underrepresented groups?

    In this session, you’ll hear from award-winning journalists and hiring editors on how they navigate these conversations, from their own personal experiences to how they are shaping their newsroom cultures to retain the much-needed voices that are missing.

    Texas C

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Hands-on

    Excel for investigating business and finance

    Speaker: Aaron Kessler of CNN

    Whether you just started using Excel or it's been your companion for years, chances are there's a lot it can do that you've never realized. We sometimes think of Excel as the stepping stone to database managers like Access or SQL Server, and overlook just how powerful its tools can be — especially if you're covering business and economics. Come find out why Excel is still so popular in the business world and we'll unlock some of its secrets. The people you're covering know these tricks — you should too.

    This session is good for: people of all skill levels.

    River Oaks C

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Finding characters in data and documents

    Speakers: Ken Armstrong of ProPublica; Michael Berens of Thomson Reuters; Alyssa Perry of KPCC - 89.3

    No matter how powerful our findings from data and documents, we still need people to propel our story. We’ll show how you can dive into OSHA documents, death-certificate databases and other troves of records to find them. We’ll also touch on the needs of different media, showing, for example, how the right character for print might be the wrong character for radio.

    Texas D

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Hands-on

    Google MyMaps

    Speaker: Samantha Sunne of independent journalist

    Make your own colorful, interactive data visualizations in an easy way - that is, Google Maps. No need to learn advanced geographic analysis techniques: Google does almost all of it for you. In this session, we will plot points on a map and learn how we can replicate that quickly and easily for our own newsrooms.

    River Oaks A

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Management Track: Adapting and pivoting to new landscapes

    Speakers: Cindy Galli of ABC News; Christopher Baxter of Spotlight PA; Ron Nixon of The Associated Press

    How to lead your team into brave new worlds. We'll discuss adapting to new storytelling techniques, such as embracing digital-first. And we'll talk about how to change the mindset of journalists who have only done it one way, while also guiding newer journalists. 

    Texas G

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Policing the police

    Speakers: Annie Gilbertson of KPCC - 89.3; Jeremy Jojola of KUSA/9News Denver; Jordan Smith of The Intercept; Sean Sullivan of NJ Advance Media

    Who polices the police? Police agencies often have the power to keep information about officer misconduct off the public’s radar — while keeping the officer in the field. It’s the job of newsrooms to push past the blue wall of silence, supply facts for an evolving public discussion about policing and hold law enforcement accountable. 

    Print, radio and TV journalists talk about developing sources to help you get beyond the PIO and will delve into all things records -- what kinds of records there are, where and how to find them, and what to do with them once you’ve got them. The award-winning panel of reporters will share ideas for going beyond the headlines to create engaging narratives and to keep the spotlight shining on your investigatory revelations.

    Texas F

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Unearthing secrets: How to scrub any candidate or public official

    Speakers: Steve Eder of The New York Times; Lindsay Wise of McClatchy; Lulu Ramadan of Palm Beach Post; Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post

    Whether you are vetting a president, Supreme Court justice, or mayor, we'll give you all the tools you need to unearth the secrets of public officials and candidates. Using public records and master source-building, we'll explain how to expose conflicts of interests, untangle financial connections, and reveal problematic relationships.

    Texas H

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Membership Meeting

    IRE Membership meeting

    IRE Executive Director Doug Haddix and IRE Board President Cheryl W. Thompson will lead a membership meeting for all IRE members at 5:30 p.m. in Texas C, located on level 4 of the Marriott Marquis Houston.

    Texas C

    5:30 pm - 6:15 pm

  • Reception

    Closing reception (Sponsored by Google News Initiative with support from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)

    Join us for a closing reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the South event lawn located on the pool deck of the Marriott Marquis Houston and enjoy one last evening of catching up with old and new friends, speakers and colleagues. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available. Conference name tags are required for entry.

    South Event Lawn

    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

  • Special Event

    Texas Foyer

    8:30 am - 10:30 am

  • Hands-on

    Digging into data for stories (cont'd-Sunday) *pre-registered attendees only

    This is a continuation of Digging into data for stories: A crash course from Saturday, June 15 for pre-registered attendees of this class only.

    River Oaks C

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Bulletproofing best practices

    Speakers: Mark Rochester of Detroit Free Press; Jennifer Forsyth of The Wall Street Journal; Evelyn Larrubia of independent journalist

    In an age of drastic newsroom cutbacks and pressures of digital publication, how do we guarantee rigorous publication standards and bullet-proofed stories? We'll share techniques and checklists on bulletproofing best practices.

    Briargrove

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Hands-on

    Converting pdfs to data (repeat)

    Speaker: Darla Cameron of The Texas Tribune

    This class will cover basic approaches for getting text out of PDF documents using powerful and freely available tools. We will introduce basic concepts and walk through tackling common challenges encountered with tricky PDF documents. 

    This session is good for: People who are unfamiliar with PDF-to-text tools or would like to learn how these tools can be used for extracting difficult text from images embedded in a PDF document.

    River Oaks A

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Hands-on

    Excel 1: Getting started with spreadsheets (repeat)

    Speaker: Carli Brosseau of The News & Observer

    In this introduction to spreadsheets, you'll begin analyzing data with Excel, a simple but powerful tool. You'll learn how to enter data, navigate spreadsheets and conduct simple calculations like sum, average and median. 

    This session is good for: Data beginners.

    River Oaks B

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Finding stories in professional discipline data

    Speakers: Steve Reilly of USA TODAY Network; Lois Norder of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Julie Chang of Austin American-Statesman

    From doctors and detectives to teachers and nursing home directors, citizens rely on public licensing systems to keep them safe from professionals who have track records of negligence or misconduct. But those systems are often broken or ineffective. In this session, speakers will discuss how reporters can obtain and analyze records on government-licensed professionals to find stories that help protect the communities they serve.

    Meyerland

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Demo

    Using data journalism to unlock oil & gas industry secrets

    Speaker: Sergio Chapa of Houston Chronicle

    Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing is regularly taking place within city limits, under neighborhoods and next to popular businesses. Large amounts of pollution are being released during accidents in remote areas. Pipelines are being built on more and more land. There are a number of public records available that shed light on what the oil & gas industry is doing in everyone’s backyards. Journalists can pair those records with advanced Excel skills to unlock industry secrets and write compelling stories that advance public dialogue.

    Kingwood

    9:00 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Energy & Environment Track: Investigating the aftermath of extreme weather events

    Speakers: Susan Carroll of Houston Chronicle; Carla Minet of Centro de Periodismo Investigativo de Puerto Rico; Bigad Shaban of NBC Bay Area

    Strategies and real-world tips for investigating the aftermath of hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and other extreme weather events. You'll learn about key documents and data to request, story ideas for post-disaster follow-ups and other tips for holding public officials accountable.

    Briargrove

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Hands-on

    Excel 2: Formulas & sorting (repeat)

    Speaker: Mark Walker of The New York Times

    Much of Excel's power comes in the form of formulas. In this class, you'll learn how to use them to analyze data with the eye of a journalist. Yes, math will be involved, but it's totally worth it! This class will show you how calculations like change, percent change, rates and ratios can beef up your reporting.

    This session is good for: Anyone who is comfortable navigating Excel.

    River Oaks B

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Hands-on

    Google Sheets: Scraping without coding (repeat)

    Speaker: Samantha Sunne of independent journalist

    Yes, you can scrape data without using code -- in fact, all you need is Google Sheets! We'll be using Excel-type formulas (don't worry if you don't know what those are, either) to make simple scrapers that automatically pull data into Google Sheets. It’s the best way to get around clunky websites and unhelpful PIOs!

    This session is good for: Beginners who want to start using data for their stories.

    River Oaks A

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Management track: Directing high-stakes investigative projects

    Speakers: Lois Norder of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Adam Playford of Tampa Bay Times; Mikel Schaefer of WVUE-New Orleans

    The targets can be powerful, the victims scared or flawed, the topics complex. How do you guide reporters around the land mines of investigative work to craft accurate, compelling stories? This panel will discuss strategies for getting sources to open up, creating processes to keep reporters on track and bullet-proofing stories where the legal risk is high.

    Kingwood

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Demo

    Under pressure: Real life in real time with breaking news

    Speaker: Stephen Stock of NBC Bay Area

    It’s been one of the hottest sessions at every IRE Conference for years. How would you and your newsroom fare in digging out little-known facts and information under the pressure of a breaking news deadline? One of the best ways to get better is to practice. 

    This is a real-life scenario where you can learn to break news without leaving your computer. The skills learned in this session can also be used for turning daily general assignment stories when there’s not breaking news. This session regularly fills up and the tipsheet that comes with it is in high demand. If you’re interested, get there early to get a seat.

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Meyerland

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Best practices for student-pro investigative collaborations

    Speakers: David Armstrong of Georgia News Lab; Frank LoMonte of Brechner Center for Freedom of Information; Rafael Lorente of University of Maryland; Jennifer LaFleur of Investigative Reporting Workshop

    Real life lessons in how student and professional journalists can best work together to produce high-impact investigative stories. Helpful insights for students, pros, educators and potential funders.

    Kingwood

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Excel 3: Filtering & pivot tables (repeat)

    Speaker: Emily Hopkins of The Indianapolis Star

    A look at the awesome power of pivot — and how to use it to analyze your dataset in minutes rather than hours. We'll work up to using a pivot table by first sorting and filtering a dataset, learning how to find story ideas along the way.

    This session is good for: Anyone familiar with formulas and navigating Excel or another spreadsheet program.

    River Oaks B

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Finding the story: Disaster data (repeat)

    Speakers: Susan Carroll of Houston Chronicle; Matt Dempsey of Houston Chronicle

    Floods, fire, a shooting or an explosion have occurred in your area. We know a lot about that in Houston. We had major flooding three years in a row, chemical fires or explosions every six weeks and a school shooting last year. We'll show you how you can use data to find in-depth stories about the disaster in your community. 

    This session is good for: those who are comfortable with Excel and relational database concepts.

    River Oaks A

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Demo

    Public Records Track: Launching and managing large document and FOIA projects

    Speaker: Michael Morisy of MuckRock

    With the merger of MuckRock and DocumentCloud, we'll run through some of the existing and upcoming features, including FOIA tools, appeals database, document analysis framework, and crowdsourcing platform. 

    This session is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

    Briargrove

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Successfully reporting on the military

    Speakers: Sam LaGrone of USNI News; Sig Christenson of San Antonio Express-News; Sarah Rafique of KTRK-Houston

    The military has its own unique culture. 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 can be voiceless as they are often discouraged from speaking candidly to the media. Beyond the troops, understanding the flow of billions in defense spending and how they touch communities around the country is hard. 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.

    Meyerland

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm