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.

  • Beginner PDF: Unleash the data – tools and tricks for taming PDFs

    Using this tipsheet, take a one-page airport traffic report from Miami International Airport and demo three ways to get it into a spreadsheet so you can do more with the numbers. Using editor. No coding experience needed. Then we’ll demo PDFtk, an easy command line tool that can merge a folder of PDFs or split a PDF into separate files by page.

    Tags: PDFs; Tabula; CometDocs; Sublime Text; PDFtk

    By Adelaide Chen

    2018

  • Mapping in Excel with ArcGIS Maps for Office

    Charts and graphs are a great way to start to tell your story, but what happens when you want to go further? With ArcGIS Maps for Office, you can create maps, perform analysis and gain new understanding without ever leaving Excel. Use this tipsheet to learn how you can visualize your data in new ways that will capture your audience’s attention.

    Tags: Mapping; ArcGIS; ArcGIS Maps for Office; Excel; data visualization

    By Robby Deming

    2018

  • Torturing Excel into doing statistics

    Want to know a bit more about statistics but aren't sure where to start? This tipsheet is a gentle introduction to stats you might want use in your journalism, working with a tool you already know.

    Tags: Excel; statistics; Excel tools; data

    By Norm Lewis

    2018

  • Tools for mining federal court documents

    Federal court records are a treasure trove, and not just for the reasons you think. Sure court filings can tell you what’s up with the president’s lawyer, or his ex-campaign chairman – and this tipsheet will tell you how to stay up to speed. But federal courts can generate 150,000 documents a day, and there’s treasure buried in there. this tipsheet will show you the data and tools that will help you find it, and try to help with any obstacles you’ve hit.

    Tags: federal court; federal court documents; court records

    By Brad Heath

    2018

  • Visual storytelling: A new perspective

    Every great investigation deserves stunning visualization. Don’t let your visuals be an afterthought. Join our skilled panelists as they provide inspiration, tips, and discussion on how to create investigations so eye-catching, you can’t help but get noticed. From the fundamentals of visual storytelling to creating impactful images that stimulate action – “A new perspective” will send you home with ways to improve the look of your next investigation.

    Tags: storytelling; visual storytelling; visualizations; images

    By Brendan Keefe, Anna Hewson and Andy Miller

    2018

  • Notes from the field for successful military reporting and investigations

    The military has its own unique culture, one that requires its own formal education. But despite its exclusivity, the Pentagon requires a consistent level of scrutiny from the working press on behalf of the American people as they too have problems we see in everyday society. From war on foreign battlefields and secret classified missions to sexual assault and post-traumatic stress, service members are voiceless as they are often discouraged from speaking candidly to the media. For the new or even seasoned reporter, the task of covering the largest U.S. government agency can be daunting. This tipsheet will be current " notes from the field" from experienced journalists on how to navigate these closed-off waters in order to effectively report on the U.S. military.

    Tags: military; U.S. military; military investigations; post-traumatic stress; sexual assault; battlefields

    By James LaPorta

    2018

  • Investigating climate change

    People flooded out of homes that were built, fully permitted, in an actual spillway. Small towns left alone to plan for rising sea level. The latest on who’s funding climate doubt. And how "clean natural gas" isn't so clean. Come for story ideas, advice on key sources and data, and pointers on telling the story of climatic change.

    Tags: climate change; climate data; climate sources; rising sea levels; climate doubt

    By Ingrid Lobet

    2018

  • Digital security risks — and what you can do about them

    The digital world presents journalists with unique problems while communicating with sources and colleagues. Check out this tipsheet for a primer on the risks inherent in digital communications, how to evaluate your own risks and ways to protect yourself with modern tools. Lots of security tools are unusable nightmares! This tipsheet focuses on pragmatic, realistic tools and ways of approaching digital risk, rather than paranoia (and tools you'll never get your friends or sources to use). Whether you're a reporter regularly dealing with sensitive sources, or if you're just curious to learn more about the tech we take for granted, this tipsheet is for you.

    Tags: digital security; digital communications; digital risks; security tools

    By Mike Tigas

    2018

  • Anatomy of an investigation

    Think investigative reporting follows a formula? Think again. This tipsheet reveals ways to turn an investigation on its ear, from pitch to roll out. See how veteran reporters have crafted some of the biggest stories of last year, sometimes using unconventional methods.

    Tags: broadcast investigations; crafting investigations; investigations

    By A.J. Lagoe

    2018

  • The juggling act: Balancing beat reporting with investigative work

    This tipsheet tries to answer the age-old question beat reporters have been asking since the beginning of time: How do you balance doing daily work with pursuing investigative work? This tipsheet offers tips on how you can excel at both speeds. Topics include: using quick-turns and dailies to fuel your bigger projects, techniques for ensuring you won’t get beat on competitive stories, using the news cycle to propel your investigation, and managing your editors and (more importantly) yourself.

    Tags: beat reporting; investigations; quick-turns; dailies; bigger projects

    By Sarah Karp, Rob O'Dell and Sean Sullivan

    2018