Tipsheets

Browse more 5,000 tipsheets from our national conferences and Watchdog Workshops on how to cover specific beats, conduct a great interview and learn countless tips on where to find the information you need.

Logged-in members can download any tipsheet, for free. Contact the Resource Center 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org for questions.

  • Getting data into Excel

    Data doesn’t always come in properly formatted Excel spreadsheets. Before you can analyze data in Excel, it first needs to be in a usable format. This tipsheet will cover the importance of data types, delimiters and fixed-width columns to make the import process as smooth as possible.

    Tags:

    By Lauryn Schroeder

    2018

  • Using data and documents in your reporting

    How to get in the document mindset and look for data and documents on all beats. We give specific examples of documents and data that are available and useful for investigative reporting.

    Tags: documents; data; datasets; document mindset

    By Mark Rochester, Corey Johnson and Kathy Kiely

    2018

  • The life-changing magic of getting organized

    Is your desk so cluttered with papers, notes and files that you can’t see the top? Do you have trouble finding that perfect quote in a document somewhere on your computer? Do you start an investigation with ambitious plans for organization, only to promptly abandon them a few weeks in? This tipsheet is for you! We’ll showcase our favorite old-school and new-school tools for taking notes and staying organized. Come prepared to share your favorite techniques and pick up a few new ones, too.

    Tags: organization; organizational tools; organizing techniques

    By Sarah Hutchins and Taylor Blatchford

    2018

  • Investigating housing

    Take your housing stories beyond real estate coverage with tips on how to find bad landlords and rental conditions, public housing failures and housing discrimination.

    Tags: housing; real estate; landlords; rental conditions; public housing; housing discrimination

    By Kae Petrin, Ray Rivera, Kim Barker and Vernal Coleman

    2018

  • Hidden gems in international data

    Whether you work in the United States or abroad, international data may bolster your stories, reveal hidden connections and inspire new leads. In this panel, you'll learn about proven winners from journalists who've mined international data sets for watchdog and enterprise stories.

    Tags: international data; international reporting

    By John Bones

    2018

  • Investigating offshore finances, even when you don’t have a leak

    In this tipsheet, reporters who broke the Paradise Papers stories will give away their biggest secret: you don't need a large leak to effectively investigate the offshore world. We'll walk you through our methods of sifting through publicly available information to investigate the offshore world including tips on how to look for offshore stories and how to navigate publicly available foreign corporate registries. Plus, we'll show you how to trace ownership and financial flows in offshore structures and pull and analyze publicly accessible portions of nonprofit tax filings.

    Tags: offshore finances; Paradise Papers; offshore world; foreign corporate registries; nonprofit tax filings

    By Sasha Chavkin, Spencer Woodman and Mike McIntire

    2018

  • Using solutions journalism to make your investigations stronger

    What’s more powerful than a great investigation? A great investigation that also takes away excuses — by showing how others are doing better. A solutions component can add big impact and engagement to an investigative series. In this tipsheet, investigative reporters show how they bolstered their investigations of local wrongdoing by adding stories about other places doing better. And they teach techniques for writing solutions stories with the same rigor and heft as the rest of the series.

    Tags: solutions journalism; solutions-focused investigations; impact; engagement

    By Meg Kissinger, Tina Rosenberg and Perla Trevizo

    2018

  • Reporting on energy and the environment: Finding the narrative in the numbers

    From industrial spills to the oversight of nuclear plants, to pipelines and fracking – learn how to dig deep on environmental and energy investigations in your part of the country. This tipsheet will cover how to get the data, how to translate that into a compelling story and how to get results. There will be take-home tips for broadcasters and print/online journalists alike on ways to humanize and visualize seemingly dry stories about science and industry and drive impact.

    Tags: energy; environment; industrial spills; nuclear plants; pipelines; fracking; energy data; environment data

    By Madison Hopkins and Mike Soraghan

    2018

  • Family life and investigative journalism: It’s not a balance, it’s a see-saw

    Check out this tipsheet for ideas and strategies on how to not suck at parenting while investigating. Topics might include parental leave, negotiations, present parenting, business travel and stamina for those long-term investigations.

    Tags: work life balance; family; parenting; parental leave

    By Megan Luther

    2018

  • Finding the story: Immigration

    There are some 320 million people in the U.S., and 43 million of them were born abroad. About 11 million people are undocumented and over 5.1 million children have at least one undocumented parent. 860,000 people have applied for temporary legal status because they were brought to the U.S. without proper documentation as children. Over 500,000 people are waiting for their cases to be heard in immigration courts. Some 270,000 people in the U.S. came as refugees. On any given day, about 40,000 people are in immigration detention. The numbers surrounding immigration can be daunting and hard to track down. This tipsheet offers a new data set and ideas for stories to dig into locally. And discusses how to question numbers about immigration — and what to do when the government is not providing data about its immigration actions.

    Tags: immigration; immigration data; undocumented immigrants

    By Angilee Shah

    2018