2017 Philadelphia Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: IRE in conjunction with the NLGJA National Convention

IRE will offer several of its core sessions, designed to improve your ability to find information on the Web quickly, and point you to key documents and data that will help you add depth to your daily work and produce quick-hit enterprise stories. In addition, this workshop will give you tips on building a watchdog culture, navigating FOI and open records laws, and digging deeper on the Web with social media, search engines and more.

These sessions are designed for reporters, editors, and producers from small, midsize and large publications, TV, radio stations, Web-only news sites and news blogs. Freelancers, students and journalism educators are also encouraged to attend.

Join IRE's experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Watchdog Workshop Thursday, September 7.

Expected speakers include Mitch Blacher of NBC10 Philadelphia; Sarah Hutchins of IRE/NICAR; Liz Navratil of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Wendy Saltzman of WPVI-Philadelphia; Daniel Simmons-Ritchie of Harrisburg Patriot-News and James B. Steele of Vanity Fair.

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

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

Workshop Fees (includes a one-year IRE membership for attendees that meet the IRE membership terms and  a one-year membership renewal for current IRE members).

$25 Professional

$25 Student


You can register for this event here

Cancellations must be sent via email to Dylan Sinn, [email protected]  There is a $25 processing fee for professionals ($10 for students) for cancellations until the day before the event.  Refunds will not be given for cancellations on the day of, or after the event.

Workshop evaluations

Attendees can access the workshop evaluation online. We appreciate feedback from attendees as this allows us to improve the program and provide feedback to our funders.

Time and place

Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017

Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and workshop overview

    Speaker: Sarah Hutchins of IRE and NICAR

    Regency C1

    10:30 am - 10:45 am

  • Panel

    Creating a watchdog culture in your newsroom

    Speakers: Wendy Saltzman of WPVI-Philadelphia; James B. Steele of independent journalist

    Want to turn your newsroom into a network of powerful watchdogs? We'll show you how. Our panelists will offer tips on how to incorporate investigative tools and techniques into everyday reporting, the pros and cons of having a dedicated I-Team, and how to foster a good report-editor relationship. This session isn't just for journalists working in large newsrooms. We'll have tips for freelancers, small shops and organizations of all sizes.

    Regency C1

    10:45 am - 12:00 pm

  • Outside Event

    See printed schedule for room information

    12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

  • Panel

    Digging deeper with data and docs

    Speakers: James B. Steele of independent journalist; Liz Navratil of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Move beyond anecdotes and he-said, she-said journalism with data and documents. Our speakers will offer advice on developing a documents state of mind, navigating public records and exploring key records on a variety of beats. We'll also cover how to incorporate data into your stories and deconstruct the data analysis behind a nationwide investigation.

    Regency C1

    1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

  • Panel

    FOI and open records

    Speakers: Mitch Blacher of NBC10 Philadelphia; Daniel Simmons-Ritchie of Spotlight PA

    Learn how to use federal and state open records laws to draft records requests the right way. Covers ways to challenge denials and keep a steady flow of information coming into the newsroom with FOI.

    Regency C1

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

  • Panel

    Web, search and social media for investigators

    Speaker: Sarah Hutchins of IRE and NICAR

    Develop the skills you need to become a smarter, more efficient online sleuth. We'll talk about how to find just the information and sources you need, even on deadline. Tap into the power of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to find sources and verify information. We'll also talk about developing a backgrounding checklist for projects big and small.

    Regency C1

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

  • Panel

    What IRE can do for you

    Speaker: Sarah Hutchins of IRE and NICAR

    Regency C1

    4:45 pm - 5:00 pm