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Custom Training

Get more bang for your limited training bucks by bringing IRE and NICAR to your newsroom. You decide which skills your staff needs to sharpen, and we put together a training schedule to help you reach your goals, from building a watchdog culture and researching on deadline to using databases effectively.

The training is affordable, with a proven track record of producing results. Our experience includes dozens of workshops each year in news organizations of all sizes and media platforms.

Custom training can be held online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ready to book a training?

The next step is fill out our online request form. An IRE trainer will get in touch with you to discuss your newsroom's needs and explain our training fees in more detail. Not sure IRE training is right for you (or in your budget)? You're welcome to fill out the form to request more information, too. We'll see if we can come up with a program to meet your needs.
submit a request online

Training Services

Mix and match from a variety of options for reporters, editors and producers:

Hands-On Data Training

Introduction to data journalism
An overview of the key analysis tools used to produce investigative stories, with examples of stories that were made possible with these tools.
Spreadsheets and databases
Use data software for better watchdog stories and beat coverage. We offer beginning, intermediate and advanced training in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, SQLite and other data tools.
Visualizing data
Use free web tools and other software to produce interactive charts, graphics and maps — no programming required.
Coding for data analysis
Advanced sessions in R and Python that show how you can use computer programming to quickly and transparently analyze data.
Advanced coding to speed up your work
Tackle the problems of data locked away on a website or in a PDF with web scraping, and work with APIs to process data, speed up your analysis and share your work with your newsroom and the world.
Cleaning up dirty data
Learn techniques and tools for refining problematic data in a timely fashion. We offer sessions in OpenRefine, spreadsheets, SQL, Python and R.
Mapping analysis
An overview of data reporting with common mapping software like QGIS, which gives you the power to attach data to locations and tally things up within a given space.

Background, Research and Verification

Tapping into social media
Make effective use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites for reporting, digging and connecting with sources.
Web search for watchdogs
Learn how to find reliable information on deadline and for enterprise stories using more effective search techniques, the latest search engines, data sites and other practical tools you can use immediately.
Backgrounding like a boss
Even great reporters can get tricked by fake names or sketchy backgrounds. We’ll walk through some strategies you can use to create a routine and spot potential red flags before you get burned.
Verifying information online
As a journalist, you should be skeptical of everything. Get tools and techniques to help you separate fact from fiction and track down the best information.

Using Public Records

Prying loose public records
A broad introduction to using open records laws at the federal and state levels, customized for your coverage area. You’ll also receive a checklist of all you need to know before you make a request.
Writing public records requests
Specific tips on how to word requests for documents and data in order to get what you want, in a reasonable amount of time. Bring your ideas for requests to workshop with the group.
Finding and negotiating for data
Hone your research and public records skills to find databases quickly, and learn techniques to negotiate to get what you want.
Getting around roadblocks to information
We’ll discuss how to deal with multiple roadblocks as they come up, and resources where you can find help.

Investigative Reporting Basics

Using data and documents in your reporting
Advice on developing a documents state of mind, exploring key records on a variety of beats and becoming familiar with key national data sets to produce high-impact local stories.
Quick-hit investigations
Strategies, story ideas, resources and tips for watchdog stories on a variety of beats. How to produce meaty enterprise stories that take days or weeks rather than months.
Fostering a watchdog culture
A group exercise to identify your newsroom’s vision for watchdog journalism, the obstacles holding you back, ideas for producing more investigative work, and personal goals for each participant.
Storyboarding your work
A discussion of ways to produce high-quality investigative stories. We’ll also look at a “litmus test” for whether a story is worth further investigation.
Bulletproofing the story
Strategies, tips and techniques for journalists to ensure accuracy in watchdog stories that rely heavily on data and documents.
Managing the investigation
Examine the workflow of an investigative story in all stages, from vetting ideas to bulletproofing and publishing on multiple platforms.
Overcoming common roadblocks
Top 10 watchdog roadblocks and strategies to overcome them.
Nailing the investigative interview
Proven strategies for managing the investigative interview, with tips on preparation, approaching difficult subjects and keeping the conversation on track.
Sourcing and building a beat
Strategies to find sources off the beaten path, develop source relationships and handle tough situations.
The multiplatform investigation
How to make your stories and investigations pop on air, online and on mobile.
Time-saving tools
Tips on time management, organization and daily watchdog stories.

Topic-Specific Training

Investigating nonprofits
Dig into nonprofits and charities, including red flags to keep an eye out for on tax documents.
Backgrounding businesses
Learn to dig deeper into businesses. We’ll show you where to look and what records and data are available.
Breaking news investigations
Tips for how to build investigations off breaking news situations, data/docs to keep on hand and beating the competition.
Covering local elections
Learn all about covering local elections with data, documents and research.
Kathy Best
The reporters at the Missoulian raved about — and used — the training they received from IRE. From backgrounding non-profits to organizing and querying large datasets to checking corporate ownership records, the techniques and sites your instructor shared were practical and invaluable. And your willingness to be an ongoing resource has been a force multiplier for your site visit.
- Kathy Best, director of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and former editor of The Missoulian

Meet Your IRE Expert

Cody Winchester
Cody Winchester

Cody Winchester was a newspaper reporter, data specialist and web developer before joining IRE as a training director in 2017.

141 Neff Annex   |   Missouri School of Journalism Columbia, MO 65211   |   573-882-2042   |   |   Privacy Policy
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