2018 New Orleans Watchdog Workshop

Hosted by: Xavier University of Louisiana, Department of Mass Communication

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: Elizabeth Crisp, The Advocate; Megan Luther, InvestigateTV; Charles Maldonado, The Lens; Julia O'Donoghue & Katherine Sayre & Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com; Cody Winchester, IRE/NICAR; Dan Zimmerman, Phelps Dunbar LLP; and Lee Zurik, WVUE-New Orleans.

Fellowships for this workshop are available for journalists of color working as freelance investigative reporters, or planning to do so in the near future. To learn more or apply, see “FIRE Diversity Fellowships” at https://ire.org/events-and-training/fellowships-and-scholarships/.

Join IRE's experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Watchdog Workshop Saturday, September 15. The workshop will take place in the Norman C Francis Building, Room 105 (auditorium).

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, September 16, 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.
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 New Orleans 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, Sep. 15, 2018 - Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018

Xavier University
1 Drexel Drive
New Orleans, Louisiana 70125

Registration information

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

Hurry! Registration closes on Saturday, Sep. 15 at 12:00pm.

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome & overview

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    Prying loose public records

    Speakers: Charles Maldonado of The Lens; Dan Zimmerman of Phelps Dunbar LLP

    Tips on using FOIA and Louisiana's public records laws to obtain key documents and data for your beat. Learn strategies for crafting solid records requests to get the keep the heat on public officials.

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    9:15 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    Watchdog state of mind

    Speakers: Katherine Sayre of The Times-Picayune; Mark Schleifstein of The Times-Picayune, NOLA.com

    How to develop the mindset of an investigative journalist. Tips on finding key data and documents to go beyond the daily grind and take your reporting to the next level.

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Panel

    Nailing the investigative interview

    Speaker: Lee Zurik of WVUE-New Orleans

    Learn proven strategies for managing the investigative interview, with tips on preparation, approaching difficult subjects and keeping the conversation on track.

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    Build your beat: Sourcing like a pro

    Speakers: Megan Luther of InvestigateTV; Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Good reporting means knowing your beat inside and out: The people, the institutions, the processes. In this session, you'll learn reporting strategies for developing sources and building knowledge to own your beat.

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel

    Watchdogging the statehouse

    Speakers: Elizabeth Crisp of Newsweek; Julia O'Donoghue of The Times-Picayune

    The state Capitol is fertile ground for all kinds of stories. In this session, two Louisiana statehouse reporters will offer a crash course on covering the statehouse effectively.

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • Panel

    Digital sleuthing on deadline

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    When news breaks, you need to be nimble and smart in finding sources, backgrounding people, verifying what’s real vs. fake, and staying ahead of the competition. Learn key sites, apps and social media strategies to quickly build a digital dossier on someone.

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

  • Workshop

    Wrap-up & what IRE can do for you

    Speaker: Cody Winchester of IRE and NICAR

    Norman C Francis Building 105 auditorium

    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 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.

    Norman C. Francis Building 205

    9:00 am - 12:30 pm