John Diedrich of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recalls the moment everything clicked for him with computer-assisted reporting, at an IRE Boot Camp in 2010. When crash-course training didn't stick with him, he convinced his bosses to send him to Columbia, Mo. What Diedrich left with were the skills that allowed him to produce 'Wiped Clean', a George Polk Award-winning series about gun dealers.
With the new tools he learned, Diedrich writes for Nieman Reports that he was able to further his education by learning to use mapping software to analyze data. "For instance," Diedrich recounts, "I examined where homicides occurred and layered other data, including other crimes, home ownership, and income levels, on top of that. To round out my tool kit, I took a statistics class."