Snapshots from Our Blogs

By Gilger, Kristin | Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Snapshots from Our Blogs


Gilger, Kristin, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal


ICAR Blogs

By Doug Haddix, IRE training director

Students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina blogged during this year's Computer-Assisted Reporting conference in Raleigh, N.C. The full blog, with loads of useful links and tips, is online at www.ire.org/training/conference/CAR11/blog. Here are excerpts to whet your appetite:

From "50 story ideas in 50 minutes"

By Sarah Frier

It's no secret that data is key to proactive journalism. And there are so many places we haven't even thought to check for it. Here are examples of places I hadn't thought of before, along with tips from jo Craven McGinty of the New York Times and Jennifer LaFleur of ProPublica:

* Immigration and Customs Enforcement referrals

* City and school district-issued credit card purchases

* Outstanding parking fine data

* Public payroll data

* City and county check registers

* Contracts and vendors (what the government pays for a project is not always what the contract stipulated)

* State and local lobbying records

From "Ready when the story breaks"

By Jessica Seaman

Maryjo Webster was driving home one night after work in 2007 when she got a phone call from her editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, telling her that the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis had collapsed. She turned around and went back to the newsroom, where she was faced with the daunting task of understanding data on a short deadline.

"If I had not had previous experience, there would have been no way I could do it on deadline," Webster said.

Webster and Fran Gilpin, from the Fayetteville Observer, led a session on how to be prepared to use data when a story breaks. Journalists must be familiar with the data before they are on deadline, Gilpin said. To start becoming familiar with data on their beats, journalists should first request a list of databases and record layouts from the government to get an idea of what is available, he said.

When a story first breaks, you look up data the first night but do the crunching to get a bigger story a few days later, Webster said.

Here are tips on preparing for a breaking story that needs data:

* Spend time researching what is available at the federal, state and local level and bookmark websites.

* Get to know the people who actually keep the data, not just the public information officer. Have them explain the data.

* Practice organizing and analyzing the data. If it is in a database, get familiar with the buttons and how to set up to get the results that you want, or import it into software you can use.

* Go ahead and write a story using the data now. It will get you familiar with the data in case news does break, while also doing a public service.

From Teaming up to tell human stories, without the clutter"

By Eddie Sykes

We tell human stories. That's the message investigative reporter Stuart Watson from WCNC in Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill journalism professor Ryan Thornburg want you to remember. "In TV and multimedia, we want to present a human story," Watson said. "There is a tendency in journalism to forget this."

It's the narrative that gives a story character, but it's the challenge of communicating that narrative on television that journalists can struggle with - especially in data-intensive CAR stories. That's why, Watson said, it's important of getting rid of the "clutter" that can distract the audience.

Easily understandable illustrations can help the audience comprehend the information faster and more effectively, but it's easy to go overboard. Keep your graphics and explanations simple and relevant, and get to the heart of the information, Watson suggested.

Investigative reporting has traditionally been a solitary occupation, but starting the CAR with a team approach can improve both the depth of the content and the overall efficiency. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Snapshots from Our Blogs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.