2018 Miami Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: Florida International University

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 bulletproofing stories, digging deeper on the Web with social media, search engines and much 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 Saturday, January 27.

Expected speakers include Neela Banerjee, InsideClimate News; Sandy Bohrer, Holland & Knight; Dan Christensen, Florida Bulldog; Manny Garcia, USA TODAY Network; Denise Malan, IRE/NICAR; Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald; Tony Pipitone, NBC6 Miami; Neil Reisner, Florida International University; Susan Smith Richardson, The Chicago Reporter; Rita Teutonico, Florida International University; and Mc Nelly Torres, independent journalist.

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.

Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training

Sunday, January 28, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Excel, a powerful electronic spreadsheet for deadline and beat reporting on budgets, salaries, election data and more. Also, learn how to dig deeper using the Internet and find valuable datasets for your stories. Class size is limited; register early to reserve a seat on a first-come, first-served basis.


Parking will cost $3 for the entire workshop, including the optional Computer-Assisted Reporting training on Sunday.

Park in either a blue faculty space or a gray student space.

Please use the link below, which will take you through the necessary steps to register your license plate.  ONLY license plate is needed

 Click here to register for parking

Workshop Fees (includes a one-year IRE membership, if you are a current IRE member, your membership will be extended by one year. Attendees must meet IRE membership terms)

$55 Professional

$25 Student

$30 Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training (hands-on)


If you are a current member, please complete your registration online by logging into your member profile. Once you have logged in, click on my profile, next to the welcome and your name. Once you are in the members-only side of the database, select conferences and events on the left-hand side of the screen under my profile, then select the 2018 Miami Watchdog Workshop.

If your membership has expired or you are not currently an IRE member, you can still register for the workshop 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

Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 - Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018

Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus
3000 NE 151st Street
Miami, Florida 33181

Registration information

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

Hurry! Registration closes on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 12:30pm.

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and workshop overview

    Speaker: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    Building AC1 Room 194

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    Breaking watchdog stories during the storm

    Speakers: Manny Garcia of ProPublica; Mc Nelly Torres of independent journalist

    This session will arm you with advice on the preparations you need to make, data sets and documents to have on hand, and other practical tips to have your newsroom ready to break strong watchdog stories in the midst of natural disasters.

    Building AC1 Room 194

    9:15 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    The investigative interview

    Speakers: Carol Marbin Miller of Miami Herald; Tony Pipitone of NBC6 Miami

    Two veteran journalists will cover strategies to prep for interviews, approach sources, handle tough situations, navigate ethical trouble-spots and more.

    Building AC1 Room 194

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Investigating inequality

    Speaker: Susan Richardson of The Center for Public Integrity

    Learn about useful datasets, documents and reporting tips for covering racial disparities and discrimination in housing, education and law enforcement, among other things.

    Building AC1 Room 194

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Outside Event

    Building AC1 Room 194

    12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Panel

    Covering climate change and its effects

    Speakers: Neela Banerjee of NPR; Rita Teutonico of Florida International University

    From sea level rise to crop yields, climate change is affecting many aspects of daily life and can be covered from any beat. This panel featuring a journalist and a researcher will cover the most reliable sources of research and data on climate change, some of the most underreported effects that make good story ideas, and ways to make your stories resonate with your audiences.

    Building AC1 Room 194

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Let the sunshine in: Open records

    Speakers: Sandy Bohrer of Holland & Knight; Dan Christensen of Institute for Nonprofit News, FOIA litigant, Florida Bulldog

    Advice on crafting records requests, tracking them and holding officials’ feet to the FOIA fire. Includes strategies for dealing with excuses and obstacles from public officials who stand in your way of getting key documents and data.

    Building AC1 Room 194

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Web search & social media

    Speaker: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    From better search techniques to the invisible Web, how to find reliable information on deadline and for enterprise stories. Tips on more effective Web searches, the latest search engines, data sites and other practical information you can use immediately to background sources and companies.

    Building AC1 Room 194

    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Panel

    Wrap-up, what IRE can do for you

    Speaker: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    Building AC1 Room 194

    5:00 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Hands-on

    Optional computer-assisted reporting training

    Speakers: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR; Neil Reisner of Florida International University

    Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Excel, a fairly simple but powerful spreadsheet application, to begin analyzing data for stories. We'll start from the beginning with basic formulas and work our way up to summarizing information using pivot tables and more. How do you think about data analysis as a journalist? How do you find the story within the columns and rows?

    Class size is limited; register early to reserve a seat on a first-come, first-served basis.

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

    Building AC2, Room 255 & 258

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm