Shop Notes

Lily pads help military expand

Posted: Aug. 25, 2015 | Tags: military spending

“david_vine“

Photo courtesy David Vine

Author and anthropologist David Vine documents the growing military presence in 80 countries and U.S. territories.

The Investigative Reporting Workshop showcases anthropologist and author David Vine’s book today in a new project, “The Lily Pad Strategy.” 

Vine, a professor at American University, has spent years documenting the growth and influence of the U.S. military worldwide. His latest book, "Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World" (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt 2015), shows the military’s increasing footprint across Asia and Africa. The Workshop’s Kelly Martin created more ...

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What Pluto tells us about journalism

Posted: July 23, 2015 | Tags: science

When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft sent back its first crisp images of Pluto last week, the culmination of a 3-billion mile, 9 1/2-year journey filled with cliffhangers and near disasters, you didn't need to be a scientist to feel the exhilaration of discovering what was, until then, a dark and blurry corner of the solar system.

Lief

Photo by Jeff Watts, AU

Lief will develop projects that connect scientists and journalists in her role at the Workshop.

Given my interests within research and media, I also thought about the lessons for journalism. 

The project I began last year ...

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What we're reading: award-winning journalism

Posted: July 22, 2015 | Tags: computer-assisted reporting, data, journalism, prisons, reporting

One way to constantly improve as a journalist is to observe and learn from the work of others. The May/June issue of Quill, the Society for Professional Journalists bimonthly magazine, included 85 examples of some of the best journalism from 2014. I read investigative journalism stories that debuted in print, broadcast and online formats. No matter the medium, I found the work to be incredibly detailed, insightful and informative. Stories relied on large data sets, public records and human voices to give an in-depth look at various issues from multiple vantage points.

Below are some examples that stood out ...

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How ISIS uses social media

Posted: July 16, 2015 | Tags: national security

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Workshop graduate researchers and fellows are assigned to work with The Washington Post reporters on long-term projects as part of our ongoing partnership, and Post reporters Scott Higham and Ellen Nakashima took Workshop student Fauzeya Rahman on this summer to help them with "Why the Islamic State leaves tech companies torn between free speech and security," a project that combines national security, social media and censorship.

Their piece looks at ISIS and other terrorists groups that use social media to spread propaganda and recruit individuals. Their story also explores the relationship between freedom of speech, censorship and social media companies ...

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SRCCON Highlights

Posted: July 9, 2015 | Tags: computer-assisted reporting, data, interactive data, journalism, NICAR, SRCCON

“These are my people,” I heard many attendees at SRCCON (pronounced "source-con") say during the two-day conference in Minneapolis last week.

SRCCON, first conceived at NICAR, and now in its second year, wanted to feature the hallway conversations, skillshares and collaborations that happen naturally at bigger conferences and make them the highlight of the event. The small conference, organized by Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, drew 225 people — news developers, data journalists, designers, editors and reporters from The New York Times and Quartz to local NPR stations and freelance journalists.

I went to the conference as a volunteer, helping people register and running ...

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Sometimes the safest digital footprint is the simplest

Posted: July 8, 2015 | Tags: Workshop news

computer icon

 

Icon by Sydney Ling, IRW

Cybersecurity is a bit of a balancing act. Employ too many tools, and you could end up with complicated workflows that make you more susceptible to unwanted attention. Do nothing and you could put yourself, or your sources, at risk. 

To better understand this balancing act, I attended a cybersecurity training session offered at the National Press Club recently. Below I’ll share some key takeaways and easy steps we can all take to be more secure. 

Know what you have

The first step on the path to cybersecurity: Stop and think about what information ...

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Takeaways from IRE

Posted: July 7, 2015 | Tags: IRE

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Icon by Sydney Ling, IRW

Reporters and editors from the Investigative Reporting Workshop were among the 1,800 attendees at this year’s Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) conference in Philadelphia. Earlier this month, we traveled from our home base in Washington, D.C. to learned how to better serve our community by improving our chops at finding stories, fact-checking, interviewing, source-building and data reporting. Here are some of the sessions we’re still talking about the programs: 

Python introduction

Always trying to add to our data reporting repertoire, some Workshop reporters headed to a two-hour Python introduction. Python, as ...

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PBS to re-broadcast 'Nightmare Bacteria'

Posted: July 2, 2015 | Tags: Frontline

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Addie Rerecich

"Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria," a FRONTLINE program co-produced by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, will be re-broadcast on PBS on July 7.

The program looks at whether the age of antibiotics is coming to an end, following individuals, such as Addie Rerecich, left, thrust onto life support in Arizona, and institutions, including an uncontrollable outbreak at one of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals. (Those of you who saw the original program can find updates on Addie on her mom's Facebook page.)

"Nightmare Bacteria" is one of three programs related to drug-resistant bacteria that Producer Rick Young and ...

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The people vs. the coal baron moves to a fall court date

Posted: June 29, 2015 | Tags: coal, courts

Illustration by Sydney Ling

I'm a fan of profiles, and reading "The People vs. the Coal Baron," which details Don Blankenship's complex personality, is yet another reason why. The New York Times story by David Segal is a fascinating portrait of Blankenship's rise from an impoverished childhood to success as an accounting major in college, then his climb from an office-manager position to CEO of Massey.

His leadership role was marked by an autocratic, uncaring style, said many former employees; even safety programs were tied to saving money. Yet Segal found others who saw a competent manager ...

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Stats class resumes in 2016

Posted: June 29, 2015 | Tags: Investigative Reporters and Editors

The advanced statistics workshop run by IRE each spring, and last year hosted by the Investigative Reporting Workshop here in Washington, has been canceled this year but will be rescheduled for May 2016 at American University, home of the Workshop offices. 

It will again be taught by Jennifer LaFleur, senior editor for data journalism at The Center for Investigative Reporting, and David Donald, formerly data editor for The Center for Public Integrity and now data editor at the Workshop.

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Recent Posts

Lily pads help military expand

The Investigative Reporting Workshop showcases anthropologist and author David Vine’s book today in a new project, “The Lily Pad Strategy.” 

Vine, a professor at American University, has spent years documenting the growth and influence of the U.S. military worldwide. His latest book, "Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World" (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt 2015), shows the military’s increasing footprint across Asia and Africa. The Workshop’s Kelly Martin created more than a dozen historical maps for the new book and a new set of interactive maps for the Workshop’s website.

What Pluto tells us about journalism

When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft sent back its first crisp images of Pluto last week, the culmination of a 3-billion mile, 9 1/2-year journey filled with cliffhangers and near disasters, you didn't need to be a scientist to feel the exhilaration of discovering what was, until then, a dark and blurry corner of the solar system.

Given my interests within research and media, I also thought about the lessons for journalism. 

What we're reading: award-winning journalism

One way to constantly improve as a journalist is to observe and learn from the works of others. The Society of Professional Journalists' Quill Magazine announced its top journalism picks from 2014.

Read on for summaries of some award winners.


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