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.

  • Let’s make some internet: Web development for beginners

    If you've been trying to figure out what all the fuss is about HTML, CSS and JavaScript, this session is for you. This tipsheet will introduce you to the basics of web development, help you make sense of the jargon and answer your questions.

    Tags: web development; HTML; CSS; JavaScript; web tools; internet

    By Neil Bedi

    2018

  • How to find secrets and story ideas in bankruptcy court records

    Expand your reporting into bankruptcy court filings, where journalists can uncover how businesses and people ended up in financial trouble, key details like a bankrupt person’s salary or monthly mortgage payment amount and sources who can help round out a story’s truths. Learn which PACER imitator websites work best for following unfolding cases, finding story ideas or digging up otherwise secret information, such as legal settlements or vendor contracts.

    Tags: bankruptcy; bankruptcy court filings; financial troubles; PACER; legal settlements

    By Katy Stech

    2018

  • Finding fraud on your beat

    Learn how to think like a corporate fraud investigator. What documents do you need to find? What are some red flags in them? And what might just be a red herring? This tipsheet will walk you through the process to find fraud in the public or private sectors.

    Tags: fraud; corporate fraud; fraud documents; public sector; private sector

    By Angie Moreschi

    2018

  • Criminal justice and mental health issues

    There are thousands of jails across the country, and all of them are dealing with a mental health crisis. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates about 2 million mentally ill people are booked into jails every year. Sheriffs from Florida to Oregon will tell you that they've got people locked up for low-level offenses because there's nowhere else to put them. It's straining local budgets and leading to deaths. But how to report on it? Jails are some of the most opaque institutions in the country, and even when sheriffs and superintendents will talk, the story they have to tell is complex and weaves together criminal justice, social services, politics and science. Reporters who have investigated abuses and deaths of the mentally ill in jails discuss in this tipsheet how to report on and explain this complex problem to readers.

    Tags: mental health; criminal justice; prisoner mental health; mentally ill prisoners

    By Meg Kissinger, Jessica Priest and Gary Harki

    2018

  • Diversity that makes a difference

    Hiring and retaining diverse talent in the newsroom isn't just for show. It engenders trust from your community and helps you uncover stories that you might not find otherwise. This tipsheet will go beyond talking points to show the real results that happen in newsrooms with diverse voices reporting in the field and making decisions back in the newsroom.

    Tags: diversity; diversity in the newsroom; diverse voices; diverse journalists

    By Manny Garcia

    2018

  • Broadcast Track: Deep dive 3

    A deep dive into how some of the biggest stories of the year came to fruition

    Tags: best broadcast investigations; broadcast; investigations; deep dive

    By Stephen Stock

    2018

  • Covering the protest line

    This tipsheet will address the ethical, legal and logistical issues of covering protests movements. Journalists who have reported on Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, antifa and white supremacist rallies will share tips for juggling on-the-ground reporting with watchdog coverage. A media lawyer will discuss the current legal climate, safety issues and what to do if you get arrested. You’ll leave with a better understanding of how to cover these important issues and story ideas for digging deeper.

    Tags: protests; movements; white supremacist rallies; Black Lives Matter; Antifa; Ferguson

    By Kelly Hinchcliffe, Matt Pearce and Katie Townsend

    2018

  • Stories hidden in the courts

    From immigration issues to sex trafficking to wrongful convictions, investigative reporters use court records to bolster and build stories that are documented, data-driven and rich with detail. Three reporters with experience wading through court files discuss tips to find hidden stories and provide guidance even when records are hard to find.

    Tags: courts; court records; court documents; court files; hidden court stories

    By Reade Levinson, Jenifer McKim and Charles Maldonado

    2018

  • Bring your investigative reporting to life using animation

    Got court transcripts of a particular riveting moment during a trial or first-hand accounts of abuse in a nursing home? This tipsheet will show you new ways animation can bring documents and important moments of your investigation that happened behind closed doors to life. Animation can also help newsrooms attract a younger audience, who are naturally drawn to visual journalism and love to share exceptional work on social media. We will show how illustrations and motion graphics work and what best practices visual journalists have developed in their newsrooms. We will also tackle ethical pitfalls. And you will learn what you need to do to produce your own illustrations and explainer videos.

    Tags: animation; storytelling; investigative storytelling; digital storytelling; visual journalism

    By Hilke Schellmann

    2018

  • Under pressure: Coping with stress, and knowing you’re not alone

    At any stage of a reporter’s career, the pressures of the job can be daunting. A good start is talking about it. In this tipsheet, we’ll share experiences and ideas — ours and others' — for managing stress.

    Tags: under pressure; stress; reporters stress; stress management

    By Ken Armstrong

    2018