Tags : tips

Behind the Story: How the Los Angeles Times turned an anonymous tip into a front-page story

Paige St. John

No such records exist. That’s the message Paige St. John received when she requested audit records on the Los Angeles County Probation Department’s GPS monitoring program.

Despite the rocky start, the Los Angeles Times reporter went on to break the story about trivial alerts from GPS monitors overwhelming probation officers in LA County. Officers had been using the monitors to track thousands of felons moved out of California prisons due to overcrowding. Receiving as many as 1,000 alerts a day, officers had come to frequently disregard the notices.

St. John began her investigation back ...

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Best of Broadcast DVD for sale in resource center

If you're looking for award winning tips and tricks on how to make your broadcast video stand out from the rest you won't want to pass up this collection of interviews.

Included are interviews with Earl Nurse Jr of CNN for his work on the 2011 Tom Renner award winning piece: Death in the Desert, Donny Pearce of WVUE-New Orleans for his work on the IRE Award winning piece: Hiding Behind the Badge and Frederic Zalac and Kris Fleerackers of CBCNews for their work on the IRE Award finalist piece: Tamiflu: The Backstory of a Blockbuster.

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Behind the Story: The benefits of sticking with a story


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It’s hard to keep saying everything is fine when documents prove otherwise.

Although the General Services Administration continually denied knowledge of a "death list," investigative reporter Russ Ptacek discovered the list while working for Kansas City’s KSHB-TV. He continued the investigation at WUSA 9, in Washington, D.C.

A GSA employee created the "death list" to keep track of workers who died or were ill from causes believed to be linked to toxins in the building. To prove that the list existed, Ptacek filed a FOIA request for GSA Regional Commissioner Mary Ruwwe’s ...
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Dive in deep, swim to the top – tips on building your career

By Pamela Cyran 

Graduating? Mid-career? These job-hunting tips from veteran reporters are for everyone in the business.

El Nuevo Herald Executive Editor Manny Garcia was joined by Stephen Stock, KNTV-San Francisco, Sarah Cohen, Duke University, and Len Downie of the Washington Post, on “Building your career: A roundtable discussion.” The panel offered advice on how to get ahead in today’s evolving digital era of journalism. Here were some of their suggestions:

Connect and collaborate

  • “So far you’re doing the right thing,” Garcia said. “You’re at IRE.” 
  • Connect with people. “If you don’t, you have ruined ...
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Writing the investigative story

By Châu Mai

After spending weeks, months or even years to do an investigation, you want to write an interesting story that makes readers really want to read it.

“Your goal is to pull people in and your second goal is to keep them there,” Seattle Times investisgative reporter Ken Armstrong said. 

He and Steve Fainaru, a senior writer with ESPN’s investigative and enterprise unit, shared their experience and tips in “Writing the investigative story.”

Fainaru, a 2008  Pulitzer Prize winner for International Reporting, said the main thing he learned from covering private security contractors in Iraq ...

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Tips for investigative reporters in China

By Shuyi Wang

Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, has become an essential tool for investigative reporters in China, said Ying Chan, journalism professor from the University of Hong Kong on the Saturday’s panel "Investigative Reporting in China."

Chan cited the most discussed news in China recently to explain the power of Weibo.

China’s government suspended three officials after they forced a young woman to abort her child seven months into the pregnancy. This happened just days after the family posted the mother’s photo with the remains of the fetus.

“It was the most popular topic on ...

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How to talk your way to the truth

By Châu Mai

How do you get people to open up? How do you get the key information you're are looking for?

The first thing before we’re heading to the interview, according to Raquel Rutledge, an award-winning reporter of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is to fully prepare and know the subject well, by googling or using familiar sources.

Rutledge, Ira Rosen, producer at 60 Minutes, and John Ferrugia, investigative reporter of KMGH-TV 7News, shared their experience and tips during “Talking your way to the truth: The art of the interview.”

To prepare for an interview, Rutledge ...

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Tips on investigating the ignored and abused – elderly, mentally disabled, and children

By Pamela Cyran

Investigating vulnerable populations such as the elderly, mentally disabled, and even children, is extremely taxing. Many times it’s finding the story in the first place that’s troubling. Proving the story is another task.

In many cases these victims can’t speak for themselves. Maybe they have no family or family are hesitant to criticize people who’ve been taking care of their loved ones. Sometimes victims can’t be counted as reliable witnesses to what they’ve gone through.

These victims have no voice and that’s what makes this job important, panelists explained ...

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Talking your way to the truth, mastering the interview

By Chelsea Sheasley

The interview is at the heart of all reporting, but mastering it can take a lifetime. In IRE 2012’s panel Talking your way to the truth: The art of the interview, three veteran reporters shared their tips on what it takes to get sources to talk and how to get key information from an interview.

John Ferrugia of KGMH-Denver, Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Ira Rosen of 60 Minutes talked about interviewing techniques for both print and television.

The panelists stressed preparation as key to the interview. “I want to know as ...

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Behind the Story: Disproportionate lending by race discovered with data

Joanne Lawton/Washington Business Journal

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Joanne Lawton/Washington Business Journal

It’s one thing to say African American entrepreneurs are recovering from the economic downturn slower than white entrepreneurs, it’s another to explain why. 

That’s what Washington Business Journal reporter Bryant Switzky did using a database from the Small Business Administration and other datasets related to the Community Reinvestment Act.

“The thing that struck me was that no one in the community or SBA had a good explanation as to why this happened,” Switzky said. “So I did a FOIA for a full database of all publically available SBA data going ...

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