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.

Search results for "investigative" ...

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Backgrounding like a boss: Perfecting your 15-minute background check and why you should do it every time

    How are you sure that great source with the perfect quote isn't too good to be true? Even great reporters can get tricked by fake names or sketchy backgrounds. This tipsheet walks through some websites and strategies you can use to create a routine and spot potential red flags before you get burned. This tipsheet is great for new reporters or anyone who wants to background people more thoroughly.

    Tags: backgrounding; sources; sourcing; fake names; sketchy backgrounds; background check

    By Kate Howard

    2018

  • Aiming for impact and dealing with the fallout

    Months of watchdog work ends with compelling journalism, and sometimes also fallout from the subjects the stories are written about or others in your community. In some cases, the reaction means sources you once freely spoke to will no longer talk, or your FOIA requests become waiting games or go unanswered. It can be even more extreme: The subjects of the stories harm themselves or others. How do reporters and editors handle the fallout when the big projects are over? This tipsheet will discuss tips for both reporters and editors who find themselves in similar situations.

    Tags: sources; fallout; reactions

    By R.G. Dunlop, Katrice Hardy and Phil Williams

    2018

  • Who’s your audience? Building investigative stories with impact

    Investigative reporters can invest months, even years, on a project. But if they don't invest the time to create a strategy early on, during the reporting process, it may not reach the audience it needs to have the impact it deserves. This tipsheet highlights successful and practical engagement strategies for investigative storytelling.

    Tags: audience; reach; engagement strategies; investigative storytelling

    By Rick Hirsch

    2018

  • Writing the investigative narrative

    You’ve gathered data, docs and human sources. Now it’s time to turn your reporting into a story -- or a series -- that packs a punch. If you’re new to investigative storytelling or want to up your writing game, this workshop is for you. Veteran editor Maria Carrillo has led some of the best narrative teams in the country. In this half-day workshop, she’ll cover the entire story lifecycle, from reporting to writing to planning for publication. Topics include: * Understanding narrative * Reporting for story -- How to gather the details and scenes that will give your piece emotional power * Focus and framing – Finding your way through all that material * Self-editing tips and techniques * Developing a story team -- How to get photographers, artists, designers, digital producers and editors unified behind a common vision We’ll look at examples of successful stories, pulling back the curtain to see how they came together.

    Tags: investigative narrative; narrative writing; focus; framing; self-editing; story team

    By Maria Carrillo

    2018