2018 Atlanta Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Region III

IRE is bringing its highly rated Watchdog Workshop to Atlanta in conjunction with the NABJ Region III Conference

This training will offer several of our core sessions that will 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. 

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: Thomas Clyde, Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton LLP; Corey Johnson, Tampa Bay Times; Shawn McIntosh and Jennifer Peebles, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Andy Pierrotti, WXIA-Atlanta; Cheryl Thompson, The George Washington University and Mark Walker of IRE/NICAR.

Join IRE's experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Watchdog Workshop Friday, April 6th. Those who attend the workshop will receive a certificate of completion after the event.

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

This workshop will take place Friday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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

Workshop Location

Friday mornings sessions will take place at the Atlanta Hilton, 255 Courtland Street NE in Room 301/302.  The afternoon sessions (following the lunch break) will take place at the Georgia Power Corporate Offices, 241 Ralph McGill Blvd NE in the Kilowatt Room. If you have any questions, please contact logistics@ire.org.

Registration/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)

$25 Professional (if attending NABJ Region III conference)

$55 Professional (for IRE workshop only)

$25 students

Register here

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

Friday, Apr. 6, 2018

Atlanta Hilton & Georgia Power Corporate Offices

Atlanta, Georgia 30308



Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome/overview

    Speaker: Mark Walker of The New York Times

    See printed schedule for room information

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    Everyday watchdog

    Speaker: Cheryl W. Thompson of NPR

    We'll discuss how to build watchdog work into your daily routine and produce meatier stories, even in breaking news situations. We'll also give some real-world tips on time management, organization and focusing on enterprise, and talk thorugh different scenarios to look for ways to make every day stories more investigative.

    See printed schedule for room information

    9:15 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    Overcoming FOIA road blocks

    Speakers: Tom Clyde of Kilpatrick Townsend; Jennifer Peebles of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    We'll discuss how to find what data and documents are available from local, state or federal agencies, strategies for writing requests to help you get exactly what you want, and how to overcome some of the most common roadblocks to receiving data and documents.

    See printed schedule for room information

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Using data & docs in your reporting

    Speakers: Cheryl W. Thompson of NPR; Shawn McIntosh of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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

    See printed schedule for room information

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Outside Event

    See printed schedule for room information

    12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Panel

    Developing sources on the beat

    Speakers: Corey Johnson of Tampa Bay Times; Andy Pierrotti of WXIA-Atlanta

    Identifying sources and how to get them to talk. Interviewing strategies to get the best information from sources and cultivating relationships.

    See printed schedule for room information

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Backgrounding & web search

    Speaker: Mark Walker of The New York Times

    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.

    See printed schedule for room information

    3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

  • Panel

    Wrap-up, what IRE can do for you

    Speaker: Mark Walker of The New York Times

    An overview of IRE membership and TNT program benefits for your newsroom.

    See printed schedule for room information

    3:45 pm - 4:00 pm