2018 Denver Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: KUSA 9News Denver

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.

Expected speakers include: Ken Armstrong, ProPublica; Shaun Assael, independent journalist; Sandra Fish, independent journalist; David Migoya, The Denver Post; Jeff Roberts, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition; Nicole Vap, KUSA/9News Denver; Nancy Watzman, Internet Archive; and Cody Winchester, IRE/NICAR.

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, May 5.

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, May 6, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Google Sheets, 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.

**Attendees will need to bring their own laptop and charger to this training.

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 Denver 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, May. 5, 2018 - Sunday, May. 6, 2018

KUSA 9 News Denver
500 Speer Blvd
Denver, Colorado 80203

Registration information

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

Hurry! Registration closes on Saturday, May. 5 at 12:30pm.

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and workshop overview

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Training room

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    CORA! CORA! CORA! A field guide to Colorado's open records law

    Speakers: David Migoya of The Denver Post; Jeff Roberts of Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

    An explanation of Colorado's open records law, with tips on writing good requests, overcoming common roadblocks and understanding relevant court precedents.

    Training room

    9:15 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    Narrative storytelling for watchdog journalists

    Speaker: Ken Armstrong of ProPublica

    Good storytelling can make your journalism shine. In this session, Ken Armstrong, an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, will talk about how to use narrative writing techniques to take your stories to the next level.

    Training room

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Following paper and database trails

    Speakers: Ken Armstrong of ProPublica; Nicole Vap of KUSA/9News Denver

    Get into the watchdog mindset with these solid reporting tips. This session will offer advice on developing a "data and documents state of mind," understanding records retention schedules and exploring common records to request on a variety of beats.

    Training room

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Politics: Prepping for the midterms

    Speakers: Sandra Fish of independent journalist; Nancy Watzman of Lynx LLC

    A wealth of practical advice and possible story angles as your newsroom gears up to cover the 2018 midterm elections.

    Training room

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Nailing the investigative interview

    Speaker: Shaun Assael of independent journalist

    Tips on preparing for tough interviews, approaching sources, staying organized and keeping the discussion on track.

    Training room

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Backgrounding like a boss

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Web tools and organizational strategies for scrubbing the backgrounds of the people and institutions you cover.

    Training room

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Panel

    Taking it all home

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Training room

    5:15 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Optional Computer-Assisted Reporting Training

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Attend this hands-on workshop and learn how to use Google Sheets, a 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. Participants will need to create a Google account if they don't have one already: drive.google.com.

    **Attendees need to bring their own laptops and chargers for this training.


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

    Training room

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm