Tags : politics

AUDIO: How to track and report on gun violence

There is no perfect or universal way to classify a mass shooting. As such, reliable, nuanced data on the topic is sparse. And further complicating the reporter’s job is the way even the most human stories can become fuel for the right-versus-left fire.

It’s with these challenges in mind that three reporters and researchers came together at the 2014 IRE conference. Patricia Carbajales, who has worked on Stanford University's journalist-friendly database on mass shootings that dates back more than 45 years, and Mark Follman, a senior editor at Mother Jones who led an award-winning investigation on mass ...

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Cuomo administration policy allows state to delete emails of government employees

According to WNYC, "New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration — which the governor pledged would be the most transparent in state history — has quietly adopted policies that allow it to purge the emails of tens of thousands of state employees, cutting off a key avenue for understanding and investigating state government."

"Last year, the state started deleting any emails more than 90 days old that users hadn’t specifically saved — a much more aggressive stance than many other states. The policy shift was first reported by the Albany Times Union."

Cuomo administration maintains secrecy, uses private email for official business

Some New York state officials are using private email accounts to conduct official business. One reporter at ProPublica received an email from Howard Glaser, director of state operations and a top adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, regarding an open records request. This email was sent from Glaser's personal email account. But later, when the reporter filed a request for emails sent from Glaser's private account, he was informed that the state had no such records. Even after submitting the request again (this time with the email that he had received from Glaser attached as evidence) the ...

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Investigating money in politics on foot and online

By George Varney

Fredreka Schouten presented a campaign finance panel at the 2014 CAR Conference in Baltimore with fellow USA TODAY reporter Chris Schnaars and AP reporter Jack Gillum. The panel focused on different techniques for investigating political conventions and using online databases.

Schouten gets to conventions two days early, before security shows up, to scope out who is sitting where and what organizations have skyboxes.


 

Schouten also explained what the creation, or dissolution, of a super PAC can mean. 


 

Politicians can get in major legal trouble for incorrect FEC filings. So while the data is vast, the stakes are ...

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Database used to highlight lax police misconduct oversight

We knew early in our investigation of Long Island police misconduct that police officers had committed dozens of disturbing offenses, ranging from cops who shot unarmed people to those who lied to frame the innocent. We also knew that New York state has some of the weakest oversight in the country.

What we didn’t know was if anyone had ever tried to change that. We suspected that the legislature, which reaps millions in contributions from law enforcement unions, hadn’t passed an attempt to rein in cops in years. But we needed to know for sure, and missing even ...

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Behind the Story: How the Chicago Sun-Times helped bring a nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley to justice in a 10-year-old homicide

By Paul Saltzman, Chicago Sun-Times

On Jan. 31, 2014, a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a death a decade earlier.

Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko admitted doing exactly what an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times had revealed in early 2011 he did — and what police and prosecutors had twice refused to charge him with doing:

Punching a much smaller man named David Koschman in a drunken encounter outside the late night bars on Division Street in Chicago’s Rush Street nightlife district. Knocking him to the ground with a single punch ...

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Data shows congressional divide in Ohio

Ohio, like many others, is a highly gerrymandered state.

Although it’s a considered a swing state in presidential politics, the state’s congressional delegation, Ohio House and Senate are overwhelmingly Republican. In 2012, for example, President Barack Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 3 percentage points, but three fourths of the state’s 16 congressional districts were won by Republican candidates.

That’s because the state Legislature draws the congressional districts in Ohio, and Republicans have been in charge since 1990. The Republicans packed as many Democratic voters as possible into four safe Democratic districts with large urban ...

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Amid drug scandal, Toronto officials keep secret hundreds of emails

The Toronto Sun is appealing a decision by the City of Toronto to withhold hundreds of emails sent by staff members of beleaguered Mayor Rob Ford.

The paper requested copies of emails sent and received by Ford’s former senior staffers around the time the mayor’s crack video scandal broke last year.

From the Sun:

The city’s access and privacy division relied on 10 different clauses contained in access laws to sever the information from the request.

Those clauses were drawn from the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and the City of Toronto ...

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Sign up now for "Investigating Washington" Watchdog Workshop in D.C. in January

IRE is joining forces with The National Press Club to bring you a special Watchdog Workshop: Investigating Washington.

A stellar lineup of speakers will tackle a series of topics that will help you prepare for many of the key issues of 2014. Highlights include a national security session with James Bamford, Michael Isikoff and Josh Meyer, as well as sessions on investigating healthcare reform, Congress and more.

The workshop is Saturday, Jan. 11. Check out the schedule and other details and register here. And we'll be announcing a special evening meet-up to kick things off in the coming days.

Watch now: Google Hangout with Charles Lewis

Tune in to IRE's Google Hangout with Charles Lewis, an accomplished investigative reporter, producer and bestselling author who founded the non-profit investigative journalism group the Center for Public Integrity. Charles Lewis answered questions about campaign finance investigations, the future of nonprofit journalism and authoring investigative books.

If you have questions about Google Hangouts, please visit Google's information page. You can view previous IRE Hangouts, via our Online Training page.