These are tough times in broadcasting, but the upcoming IRE Conference promises to be a good investment – arming journalists with the information they need to deliver strong, timely investigative reports for their news organizations when they return home.
The event will be held June 11-14 at the Marriott Baltimore Waterfront. May 15 is the last day for hotel reservations at the conference discount rate (if rooms are still available).
Investigative journalism’s biggest names – Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh, James Bamford, Brian Ross, Armen Keteyian, Byron Pitts and many others – headline the conference. Jon Klein, president of CNN-U.S., will deliver this year’s keynote address. A host of panels will focus on the economic meltdown, new media strategies and nonprofit journalism.
We’ve also put together a strong series of broadcast-specific panels to help television journalists respond to the demands of the day. Among the panels:
Consumer Investigations for Tough Times – Difficult economic conditions bring out scam artists at the same time that consumers are trying to stretch their dollars. Elizabeth Leamy from ABC’s "Good Morning America" and Matt Meagher from "Inside Edition" will be joined by Jim Strickland from Atlanta and McNelley Torres from Fort Lauderdale to lay out new ideas for consumer investigations.
Watchdog Investigations for Tough Times – Tight government budgets, combined with big government bailouts, make watchdog reporting more relevant than ever. Where should you look for government waste in your communities? Drew Griffin from CNN will be joined by Brian Collister from San Antonio and Susan D’Astoli from Phoenix. Kathy Times from Jackson, Miss., will moderate.
Quick Hits to Impress Your Boss – With TV investigative journalists facing greater demands to deliver, Duane Pohlman from Cleveland has compiled ideas for quick-hit investigations from around the country that you can deliver when you get back home.
Staying On the Air, Staying Relevant – In these times, no investigative journalist wants to be seen as irrelevant. Veterans Chuck Goudie from Chicago and Jayne Miller from Baltimore will discuss how they stay on the air and stay relevant. Ismael Estrada from CNN will focus on how investigative reporters can use their skills in breaking news situations.
Rolling Investigations – Instead of investigating for months on end, investigative journalists increasingly must lay out one piece of the investigation, then count on viewers to help piece together the rest of the story. How do you pull off a continuing investigation and keep it fresh? Matt Goldberg from Los Angeles, Anna Werner from San Francisco and Mark Greenblatt from Houston will lay out strategies.
Powerful Words, Powerful Images – If you haven’t seen Byron Pitts’ investigation into the death of Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez, you’ve missed some incredible storytelling. Byron will be joined by other great storytellers, Joel Grover from Los Angeles and Wayne Dolcefino from Houston, to discuss how to turn great investigations into great TV. Veteran investigative journalist Roberta Baskin will moderate.
Getting the Big Interview, Getting It Right – Great facts are brought to life by great interviews. Armen Keteyian from CBS News and Abbie Boudreau from CNN join Phil Williams from Nashville to analyze clips from their own investigations and other great TV investigations. They’ll offer specific strategies that you can take back home and incorporate into your own investigations.
It’s Not Just TV – More news organizations are looking to maximize resources by developing angles for the Web. Rhonda Schwartz will discuss what’s worked for Brian Ross’ unit at ABC News. Stephen Stock from Miami and Rick Yarborough from D.C. will outline what they and others are doing for the Web. Lawan Williams of Scripps will moderate.
Getting Great Video (Without Hidden Cameras) – Hidden cameras raise all sorts of legal and ethical quandaries, and some news organizations are reluctant to use them. Asa Eslocker from Brian Ross’ unit at ABC News will show how to hide in plain sight. Tisha Thompson from Washington, D.C., and Stuart Watson from Charlotte, N.C., will discuss how they and others managed to get great video for their investigations.
Making the Case for Your TV Job – All journalists can argue that what they do is good for society. But can you make the “business case” for investigative journalists to the money crunchers in your news organization? Deborah Potter from NewsLab will lead a discussion of consultants and news managers, including Tom Dolan of Dolan Media Management and Lana Durban Scott of Scripps.
In addition, many news organizations are partnering with other groups to maximize resources. How can your station do that? A panel discussion, Partnerships: The promise and pitfalls, will feature Ira Rosen from "60 Minutes," John Solomon from the Washington Times, Hagit Limor from WCPO in Cincinnati and others.
And that’s only a portion of the panels offered at the IRE Conference. Broadcasters will be among the speakers at panels on many other topics.
There’s the ever-popular Show and Tell sessions, where you can show your work and pick up ideas from fellow investigative journalists.
If you reserve your room between now and May 15, you’ll be eligible for several incentives at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. Click here for more information.
Early bird conference registration for $175 is available until May 22. Register today!
-- Phil Williams, IRE Board Member