Shop Notes

Blind cords kill hundreds of children, report says

Posted: April 20, 2015 | Tags: Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC, Fair Warning, WCMA, Window Covering Manufacturers Association

Three-year-old Voxie had a fascination with necklaces. Chesshuwa Beckett, Voxie’s mother, thinks that this fascination attracted her daughter to the blind cord one day in August 2012, after she and her husband, Erik, had put the toddler and her 2-year-old brother down for an afternoon nap. When the Becketts, both high school teachers in Sacramento, California, stopped by the bedroom to check on the children, they found Voxie’s lifeless body: The cord had strangled her. Fourteen months later, 2-year-old Colton Shero died in his suburban Chattanooga, Tennessee, home. A blind cord killed him, two days before his second ...

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What we're reading

Posted: April 14, 2015 | Tags: journalism

Illustration by Sydney Ling

As students of investigative journalism, we don’t want to make our living pumping out a steady stream of regurgitated click bait, but some would consider us lucky to be paid at all after graduation. Reading Philip Meyers’ “Public Journalism and The Problem of Objectivity” validates our endeavors. And Reading the work of the “new journalism ecosystem,” about the growth of nonprofit news organizations throughout the country, gives me hope.

The need is certainly there, and so are the channels, yet there’s still a lot we’re tasked with to make success of those channels ...

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Food safety: 'The Trouble with Chicken' airs in May

Posted: April 13, 2015 | Tags: antibiotics, FDA, Frontline, health, health newss

FRONTLINE investigates the spread of dangerous pathogens in our poultry — and why the food-safety system isn't stopping the threat. Preview our co-production, which airs May 12 nationwide (check local listings).  

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Small steps, real impact

Posted: March 22, 2015 | Tags: Impact, journalism, Shattered dreams

By Christina Animashaun and Mel Jones

As reporters, we’re always wondering, and hoping, that our stories have impact. Maybe a law will be enacted or improved, a high mark that everyone can see and cheer.  Sometimes impact is expressed in smaller ways — a neighborhood joins together to sort out what went wrong; someone shows concern by using his or her position to make changes; an official announces an investigation or a policy change.

We looked at three investigations in which we contributed research and reporting to Washington Post teams and found three different outcomes. And very real impact.

Here ...

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Students help Post analyze decline of black wealth

Posted: Jan. 26, 2015 | Tags: journalism

Thanks to Workshop grad researchers Danielle DeCourcey, Pietro Lombardi, Mariam Baksh, Mel Jones; to AU grad students Miranda Strong and Moriah Balingit; and to Northwestern student and Workshop intern Cathaleen Chen. All contributed their time and talent to research and analyze the ongoing housing crisis in Prince George's County, Md. Their story is featured in today's Washington Post and co-published by the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

The three-part series focuses on the nation's highest-income majority black county, and the unequal recovery its thousands of residents have experienced since the housing crisis of 2008.

For the past year, these ...

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Donald receives 2014 Philip Meyer Award

Posted: Jan. 14, 2015 | Tags: journalism

“Donald”

Photo by Christina Animashaun, IRW

David Donald teaches data journalism at AU.

David Donald, now data editor at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, and a team at the Center for Public Integrity today received the first-place 2014 Philip Meyer Journalism Award from the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.

The Center won for "The Medicare Advantage Money Grab," by Fred Schulte, David Donald, Erin Durkin and Chris Zubak-Skees. The project revealed nearly $70 billion in “improper” Medicare payments to health plans from 2008 through 2013. The investigation exposed how federal officials missed multiple opportunities to corral overcharges and other billing errors.  

The ...

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How to apply for 2015 internships

Posted: Dec. 29, 2014 | Tags: interns

The Investigative Reporting Workshop, a privately funded, nonprofit news organization at the American University School of Communication in Washington, is looking for smart, engaged students from around the country for summer 2015 internships.

Positions include researchers, videographers, graphic designers and web producers. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply. Preferred majors include journalism, communication, film, public policy, public health, history or economics.

The Workshop publishes in-depth stories about government and corporate accountability, ranging widely from the environment and health to national security and the economy. The Workshop pairs experienced professional reporters and editors with students and co-publishes with mainstream ...

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Data editor trains Belgium journalists

Posted: Nov. 4, 2014 | Tags: data

David Donald, the Workshop’s new data editor, will be in Kortrijk, Belgium, through Sunday, representing the School of Communication and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the annual investigative journalism conference of the Vereniging van Onderzoeksjournalisten (VVOJ).

Donald will be training reporters from the Netherlands and Belgium in data journalism skills through a hands-on session in database management and analysis. He’ll also give a talk about current trends in data journalism and what it takes to produce a data-driven project that holds up to increasing media scrutiny.

This is Donald’s fourth time training for the VVOJ, a nonprofit ...

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Trouble with Antibiotics airs Oct. 14

Posted: Oct. 3, 2014 | Tags: antibiotics

PBS FRONTLINE, in a co-production with the Investigative Reporting Workshop, will air a new one-hour program, "The Trouble with Antibiotics," Oct. 14 at 10 p.m. (check local listings).

Correspondent and reporter David E. Hoffman looks at the widespread use of antibiotics in food animals and, in a follow-up to last fall's documentary, "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria," talks with the parents of a young man who died at the National Institutes of Health.

“Nearly four decades ago, scientists and government officials warned that widespread antibiotic use to raise food animals could put human health at risk. Today, we’re ...

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Bank Tracker updates

Posted: Sept. 17, 2014 | Tags: BankTracker

BankTracker has been updated with second-quarter data on banks and credit unions around the country. Our ongoing study is based on reports from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the National Credit Union Administration. You can search for information by the name of your bank or by state and city.

Our new data editor, David Donald, will be analyzing trends and writing stories occasionally based on this material, which we'll continue to update quarterly.

How we do this: Each quarter the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. requires every bank in the nation to submit detailed reports about its financial condition ...

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Recent Posts

Blind cords kill hundreds of children, report says

FairWarning, a nonprofit investigative news organization, reports on the strangulation hazard from window blind cords, a long-running problem that the Consumer Products Safety Commission first began looking at in 1981.

What we're reading

Philip Meyer wrote " “Public Journalism and the Problem of Objectivity ” 20 years ago but it still offers lessons for the new digital age. 

Food safety: 'The Trouble with Chicken' airs in May

FRONTLINE investigates the spread of dangerous pathogens in our poultry — and why the U.S. food-safety system isn't stopping the threat. Preview our co-production, which airs May 12.


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