2019 Birmingham Watchdog Workshop

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

IRE is bringing its highly rated Watchdog Workshop to Birmingham 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 Bro Krift, Montgomery Advertiser; Francisco Vara-Orta, IRE/NICAR; Simone Weichselbaum, The Marshall Project and more.

Join IRE's experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Watchdog Workshop Friday, April 5th. 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 5 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 Sheraton Hotel, 2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. Birmingham, AL. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]

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. 5, 2019

Sheraton Birmingham Hotel
2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd.
Birmingham, Alabama 35203



Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome/overview

    Speaker: Francisco Vara-Orta of IRE and NICAR

    See printed schedule for room information

    9:00 am - 9:15 am

  • Panel

    Powering your journalism with public records

    Speakers: Simone Weischelbaum of The Marshall Project; Bro Krift of Montgomery Advertiser

    An overview of state and federal public records laws, plus practical advice on what makes a good request and strategies for staying organized.

    See printed schedule for room information

    9:15 am - 10:30 am

  • Panel

    Workshop: Writing the request and overcoming common roadblocks

    Speakers: Simone Weischelbaum of The Marshall Project; Bro Krift of Montgomery Advertiser

    In this hands-on workshop, you will get comfortable writing the actual request and learn strategies for overcoming some common roadblocks.

    See printed schedule for room information

    10:45 am - 12:00 pm

  • Outside Event

    See printed schedule for room information

    12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

  • Panel

    Everyday watchdog

    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 and organization and strategies to give everyday stories more depth.

    See printed schedule for room information

    1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

  • Panel

    Digital sleuthing on deadline

    Speaker: Francisco Vara-Orta of IRE and NICAR

    Stay ahead of the competition with these proven tips on becoming a digital sleuth. When news breaks, you need to be nimble and smart in finding sources, backgrounding people and verifying what's real and what's fake. Learn key sites, apps and social media strategies to quickly build a digital dossier on someone.

    See printed schedule for room information

    3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

  • Panel

    Wrap up: What IRE can do for you

    Speaker: Francisco Vara-Orta of IRE and NICAR

    Get the lowdown on the many benefits of IRE membership.

    See printed schedule for room information

    3:45 pm - 4:00 pm