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 "sources" ...

  • 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

  • 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

  • Lock it down: Protecting yourself, your data and your sources

    This tipsheet will cover tips and tech to keep your data, your sources and your personal information safe in an increasingly digital world. We'll hear from journalists who have dealt with online impersonation and trolling, and cover tips for dealing with these attacks when they occur. It will also discuss basic threat modeling and how you can use technology like Signal and email encryption to secure your information.

    Tags: security; digital security; trolling; online impersonation; digital threats; Signal; encryption

    By Alex Harris, Adam Marshall and Paul Myers

    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

  • #MeToo U: Sexual assault on campus

    Covering rape and sexual violence at universities comes with a whole range of obstacles, not the least of which is gaining trust of victims. Find out how to get – and vet – reports of sexual assault on college campuses through police reports, data, court cases, school files and other public records at public and private institutions. Get some advice on finding and building trust with sources, especially students, in the uniquely insular campus climate

    Tags: campus sexual assault; sexual violence; rape; universities; college campuses; public schools; private schools

    By Alex Stuckey, Kenny Jacoby and Paula Lavigne

    2018

  • Localizing the investigation: Sexual misconduct

    From city halls to statehouses across the country, politicians are facing scrutiny like never before. Secrets about sexual impropriety and misdeeds once brushed aside as mere rumor have gained traction, in part to because of the #MeToo movement. Learn from state government and political reporters who have uncovered sexual misconduct allegations against elected officials. They will give tips on how to access investigation reports that are difficult to find or not considered open records, build and maintain relationships with reluctant sources who are afraid to speak out, vet information, and manage the fallout.

    Tags: sexual misconduct; sexual assault; MeToo; local government; state government; public officials

    By Bente Birkeland, Jim Brunner and Joel Ebert

    2018

  • Covering immigrant communities

    As immigration protests, crackdowns and policy fights become more common, it can be easy to lose sight of many other issues that impact immigrant communities. This tipsheet covers strategies to spot and report stories beyond immigration enforcement — although we will touch on how to deal with government agencies too. This tipsheet also teaches about building sources who can be reluctant to talk, broadening stories beyond the anecdote, covering immigration issues even if it's not your regular beat or jumping into your first project and reporting enterprise stories if you are a beat immigration reporter.

    Tags: immigrant communities; immigration; immigrant issues

    By Howard Berkes, Brittny Mejia, Maria Perez and Perla Trevizo

    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

  • 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