2018 Washington D.C. Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: The School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington 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.

Expected speakers include: Matt Apuzzo, The New York Times; Carrie Budoff Brown & Josh Meyer, Politico; Chad Day, The Associated Press; Mark Greenblatt, Scripps Washington Bureau; James Grimaldi, The Wall Street Journal; Doug Haddix, IRE & NICAR; Brad Heath, USA TODAY Network; Carrie Levine, The Center for Public Integrity; Steven Rich, The Washington Post; Cheryl W. Thompson, The George Washington University; Tisha Thompson, ESPN; Katie Townsend, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Derek Willis, ProPublica.

Join IRE's experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Watchdog Workshop Saturday, April 21.

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
**This session is full.
Sunday, April 22, 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.
University Parking Garage (in Science and Engineering Hall)Access via H Street between 22nd and 23rd Streets - in the Science and Engineering Hall
Hours: Open 24/7. This self-service garage for visitors, accepts all major credit cards for payment (no cash). 
Rates: Weekend Daily Maximum: $12, Evening Maximum Rate (after 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.): $11 

G Street Garage
Access from both 20th Street and 21st Street between F and G Streets
Hours: Open 24/7
This self-service garage accepts all major credit cards for payment (no cash).
Rates: Weekend Daily Maximum: $12, Evening Maximum Rate (after 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.): $11 
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 Washington D.C. 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.

Time and place

Saturday, Apr. 21, 2018 - Sunday, Apr. 22, 2018

GWU - School of Media and Public Affairs
805 21st St NW
Washington, District of Columbia

Registration information

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

Hurry! Registration closes on Saturday, Apr. 21 at 12:00pm.

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and workshop overview

    Speaker: Doug Haddix of IRE and NICAR

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    Online sleuthing

    Speaker: Doug Haddix of IRE and NICAR

    Learn advanced tricks and tips for mining Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites during breaking news and for enterprise stories. Learn how to do geographic searches to find sources, visuals and other material near a specific address or in a particular city. Discover ways to automate tasks to save time and run searches by location, hash tags and more. 

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    9:15 am - 10:00 am

  • Panel

    Public records: Tips and tactics

    Speakers: Katie Townsend of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; James Grimaldi of The Wall Street Journal; Steven Rich of The Washington Post

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

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Campaign 2018: Data and documents

    Speakers: Chad Day of The Wall Street Journal; Derek Willis of ProPublica; Carrie Levine of The Center for Public Integrity

    Midterm elections provide a wealth of watchdog story ideas using key data and documents. Find out how to mine data and documents to track money and influence in politics at the federal, state and local levels.

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Outside Event

    See printed schedule for room information

    12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Panel

    Investigating the powerful

    Speakers: Matt Apuzzo of The New York Times; Carrie Budoff Brown of POLITICO

    In the current political and news media landscape, speaking truth to power can be more challenging than ever, whether you're reporting at the White House, statehouse or city hall. Develop strategies for nurturing sources, resisting pressure, handling blowback from officials and the public, and digging deeper to get closer to the truth.

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    The investigative interview

    Speakers: Cheryl W. Thompson of NPR; Josh Meyer of Author; Brad Heath of Reuters

    Watchdog stories pose special challenges, including how best to prep for interviews, approach sources, handle tough situations, navigate ethical trouble-spots and more. Learn how to master the interview to hold your sources accountable. Seasoned watchdog journalists also will provide tips on preventing your sources from hijacking and controlling the interview.

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    3:15 pm - 4:15 pm

  • Panel

    Storytelling across platforms

    Speakers: Mark Greenblatt of Scripps Washington Bureau; Tisha Thompson of ESPN

    These days, no one really is a "print" reporter or "broadcaster." The tools of the trade -- words, images, video, audio, searchable data, interactive graphics and maps -- are available regardless of primary platform. See success stories and ways to work across multiple platforms to produce stronger enterprise stories.

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Panel

    Wrap-up, what IRE can do for you

    Speaker: Doug Haddix of IRE and NICAR

    Jack Morton Auditorium

    5:30 pm - 5:45 pm

  • Hands-on

    Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training

    Speaker: Doug Haddix of IRE and NICAR

    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.

    Room B01

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm