IRE News

Behind the Story: How NPR and ProPublica exposed problems with the Red Cross’ response to Superstorm Sandy

Justin Elliott of ProPublica

Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger and Laura Sullivan turned a vague tip about the American Red Cross’ inefficiency into a powerful report about the organization’s failings after Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy.

The joint project between ProPublica and NPR revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in from donors in 2012 fell to organization leaders often more concerned with the appearance that they were helping than with actually providing aid. The team of reporters got the story through public records, internal emails and documents, and accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.

The team ...

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Webinar to highlight new data set on campaign advertising

Got a big election on your horizon in 2016 or even 2015?

Join us for a free webinar Thursday and to get a sneak preview of an unprecedentedly detailed data set that the Internet Archive, the Sunlight Foundation and Philadelphia's Committee of Seventy compiled on political ads in Philadelphia this fall.

They’ll be releasing data linking ad spots to advertisers and the money behind them and showing you how it can be used to measure the intensity of a campaign, to identify the demographics being targeted by candidates and to out some of the mystery meat committees that ...

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Only 1 week left to enter the Philip Meyer contest

We know you've done some amazing work this past year and we'd love to see it! Enter the Philip Meyer Journalism Award contest for your chance to be recognized along with some of the best journalists in the country. Entries are now being accepted online, through November 21st.

Established in 2005, the award was created to honor Philip Meyer's pioneering efforts to utilize social science research methods to foster better journalism. The contest recognizes stories that incorporate survey research, probabilities and other social science tools in creative ways that lead to journalism vital to the community. Three ...

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Introducing NICAR Courses

We've been training journalists for years and decided it was time to share some of that knowledge with college instructors to help prepare the next generation of journalists. With that in mind, we created NICAR Courses – everything instructors need to teach an introduction to data journalism using spreadsheets.

This Excel module will cover two to three weeks of class and materials include teaching guides, exercises, more than 15 datasets and training tips. Students will get hands-on experience working with real-life examples of how to find stories in data.

For more information go here or email

Story Shorts highlights lessons from VA investigation

We’re back with another round of Story Shorts, our new video series highlighting investigative reporting tips and techniques. This week we’re going behind the story with CNBC’s Dina Gusovsky and Jeff Pohlman and highlighting lessons from their series "Death & Dishonor: Crisis at the VA".

We’ll be releasing a new video every day this week at 6 p.m. Central. The CNBC team will talk about how to work with anonymous sources, find and vet documents, and identify any potential hidden agendas.

Visit the Story Shorts page to see each new clip as well as our previous ...

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Donate and support IRE’s Freelance Fellowship

Every journalist faces challenges when digging into an investigative project. For independent journalists, those roadblocks can be even greater, because they typically don't have the support of a news organization behind them.

To help those journalists do vital work, IRE awards several Freelance Fellowships annually. Thousands of dollars have been awarded to independent journalists over the past few years, and great work has resulted.

For much of this year, we have been conducting a matching fund drive to increase the power of this fellowship fund. We have almost reached our goal, and with only $3,500 remaining, our donor ...

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Learn about IRE Meetups and RSVP for events in 3 cities this month

Join journalists in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles for IRE Meetups later this month. You don’t have to be an IRE member to attend these events, but we encourage you to RSVP on the event pages linked below.

  • Los Angeles | Thursday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. | RSVP
  • Chicago | Friday, November 14 at 7 p.m. | RSVP
  • New York | Monday, November 17 at 6:30 p.m. | RSVP

IRE has member-organized Meetup groups in six cities. We’ll be compiling event and group information on our new IRE Meetups page.

Mark your calendar for the LA IRE Meetup this month

Join us for the first-ever LA IRE Meetup! We’ll be gathering at Sadie (1638 N. Las Palmas Ave in Hollywood) on Thursday, Nov. 13 starting at 6:30 PM. We’re co-hosting this event with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Los Angeles chapter, and you don’t have to be an IRE member to attend. So bring a friend, colleague or anyone you know who loves investigative reporting/data journalism.

Please join the LA IRE Meetup group if you haven’t already. No need to RSVP beyond the meetup website.

NECIR director freed after detainment in Russia

The executive director of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting was detained in Russia Thursday "for allegedly illegally conducting a journalism workshop in St. Petersburg," according to the center’s website.

Joe Bergantino was kept for several hours along with University of South Carolina professor Randy Covington. The two men were teaching a journalism workshop to a group of 14 journalists in Russia that was supposed to last two days, NECIR wrote. The workshop was part of a grant to teach Russian journalists and was awarded to the university by the U.S. government.

The two men were not ...

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Behind the Story: New Jersey reporter finds inconsistencies in 2008 death investigation

Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter and NJ Advance Media wrestled out a compelling and untold story, let the digital presentation take the lead and came away with a “smashing” investigative success.

Using a system he developed to keep tabs on lawsuits involving state police, Baxter came upon the stifled story of Kenwin Garcia, a Newark man who died in 2008 after an altercation with police along the side of the highway.

Baxter embarked on a deep reporting project that resulted in 7,000 words, an 8-page special print section in The Star-Ledger and a digital presentation as rich as any Baxter ...

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