Articles about "Investigative journalism"


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What breaking news reveals about your newsroom culture

Here’s what a lifetime in journalism has taught me: Breaking news reveals the true character of a newsroom’s culture and quality.

Spot news success happens in cultures with specific systems, skills, values, mindsets – and leadership.

In the healthiest cultures, when news breaks, here’s what staffers can count on:

  • We have a plan. We don’t have to scramble to figure out how to respond each time a big story breaks. Everyone on our team has an understanding of the key roles that need to be filled – both in the field and at the mother ship. We automatically call in and report for duty. We adapt the basic plan by situation and story, and we’re never caught flat-footed.
  • It doesn’t matter if our boss is on vacation.
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5 investigative journalism tips from New York Times’ David Barstow

After a publisher chopped away at one of David Barstow’s early investigative stories, he considered ditching journalism and heading off to law school. Since then, Barstow — now a reporter at The New York Times — has gone on to win three Pulitzer Prizes for journalism that has exposed poor working conditions and bribery in America’s companies and manipulation of the American media.

New York Times investigative reporter David Barstow (right) talks to Butch Ward, senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute at a Master Class. (Photo by Ren LaForme)

But Barstow’s professional journey hasn’t been easy. It’s one that left him with “scar tissue” and an evolving understanding of the best way to approach cagey sources, unyielding spokespersons and impatient editors.

He shared some of that knowledge Friday with senior faculty member Butch Ward for Poynter’s inaugural “Master Class,” a discussion on the trajectory of his career and some of the stories that shaped it.… Read more

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Five things I learned from prize-winning journalism

I did something last year that I hadn’t done before in all my years as a journalist: I read (or otherwise consumed) virtually all of our profession’s prize-winning work.

The task was awe-inspiring; it gave me a new bar for measuring my own work as an editor.

“Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism 2013,” an e-book from The Poynter Institute

It was also daunting. As co-editor of Poynter’s first e-book, “Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism 2013,” I knew the book could feature interviews with the creators of only 10 pieces. To say the selection process was tough is an understatement. But I believe the stories we ultimately chose are a fair representation of the larger body of work in at least this way: They prove that despite journalism’s challenges and its shifting landscape, the talent, tenacity and passion to do meaningful work is ever-present.… Read more

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China Citizens Movement Trial

Covering China: for foreign and domestic press, self-censorship’s the threat

A plainclothes policeman, center, tries to block a foreign journalist filming while police detain the supporters of Xu Zhiyong near the No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing Wednesday. Xu, a legal scholar and founder of the New Citizens movement, is on trial facing a charge organzing a crowd to disrupt public order. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

It’s not easy being a journalist in China these days.

Chinese reporters are facing new government restrictions, including forced training in Marxism and a new written “ideology” exam. Some, pushing the investigative envelope, have been detained, demoted and fired. Bloggers have been arrested under a new law that forbids rumor-mongering.

Meanwhile, foreign journalists have had visa renewals held up by the government, with the threat of expulsion. The standoff grew so contentious that Vice President Joe Biden had to make a personal appeal to China’s president before last-minute visas were issued earlier this month.… Read more

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Sheriff in NYT-Frontline story says reporter didn’t ask enough questions

In a “Message to the Media” that disappeared, then reappeared on his office’s website, St. Johns County, Fla., Sheriff David B. Shoar writes he was originally “more than willing” to discuss the death of Michelle O’Connell with New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich, who wrote about the case and helped make a “Frontline” documentary about it. O’Connell’s boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, is a sheriff’s deputy in St. Johns County.

Reached by phone Monday, a representative for Shoar’s office said it was adding more documents and the message should reappear later. It did, as did a page collecting documents from the case.

One includes the answers Shoar says he didn’t send Bogdanich. Shoar says he decided against an interview, he wrote in an earlier letter to Bogdanich, after he became convinced that “your story has already been written.”… Read more

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New York Times, ‘Frontline’ collaborate on investigation of Florida woman’s death

Next Tuesday, “Frontline” will broadcast “A Death in St. Augustine,” an investigative collaboration with The New York Times. The Times plans to run a multimedia story on the investigation this weekend.

The collaboration tells the story of Michelle O’Connell, a Florida woman whose death was ruled both a suicide and a homicide. Her boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, a sheriff’s deputy in Florida’s St. Johns County, has sued the Florida Department of Law Enforcement over its investigation of O’Connell’s death.

Producer Glenn Silber first brought the story to New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich. “I decided it was worthy of looking into more deeply than anyone had to date because it touched on some issues I was interested in,” Bogdanich said in a phone call with Poynter.… Read more

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How news nonprofits are making money

How can nonprofit news organizations diversify their revenue streams? A recent report from the Knight Foundation surveyed 18 nonprofit news outlets between 2010 to 2012 to find the most effective practices in the areas of finances, organizational structure and audience engagement.

Although most nonprofits increased revenue, relying less on foundation grants and bringing in money from individual donors, sponsorships, events and syndication, financial stability is still a big concern for nonprofit news.

Our guests: Anne Galloway, the founder and editor of Vermont-based VTDiggerMark Katches, the editorial director of the California-based Center for Investigative Reporting, and Mayur Patel, the Knight Foundation’s vice president of strategy and assessment.

VTDigger is a five-year-old organization with six full-time employees and an annual budget under $400,000; CIR was founded in 1977 and has a staff of 73 and a budget of $10 million.… Read more

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University Of Alabama Sororities

How student reporters ended discrimination among University of Alabama sororities

In the weeks before school started, it was widely known on campus at the University of Alabama that a well-qualified black woman was pledging the white sororities. Her high-school resume was stellar, her family were alums and her grandfather was on the Board of Trustees.

The staff at the student newspaper, The Crimson White, was poised to document the seminal moment when she was accepted, which would coincide with the 50th anniversary of the university’s integration.

But the woman received no invitations to join any of the school’s 16 white sororities.

A couple days after the invitations were issued, Culture Editor Abbey Crain and Magazine Editor Matt Ford both stepped up at the Crimson White. Crain said in a phone interview for the Poynter Excellence Project that she assumed someone else was already working on the story and just wanted to help.… Read more

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IRE’s Horvit: To be an effective reporter, get more comfortable with data

Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), recently shared his thoughts on how data has changed investigative reporting and how IRE fits into the future of journalism.

IRE partnered with Poynter to run a week-long program on investigating local government on a shoestring budget last week. A large portion of the training revolved around using data, including teaching journalists how to source documents and use spreadsheets.

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RELIANT

What the ESPN/Frontline breakup teaches us about investigative reporting

As we put the pieces together in this week’s ESPN/Frontline breakup, we’ve learned something about investigative journalism: it’s incredibly difficult for a news organization to hold its own partners accountable.

That may have been obvious. But for the 18 months I was the lead writer on the Poynter Review Project, which served as ESPN’s ombudsman, the brass in Bristol, Conn., insisted ESPN could do both.

We don’t surprise our partners, ESPN executives told me. But they always added that not surprising partners wasn’t the same as not investigating them, as ESPN and Frontline were doing with the NFL. And indeed, ESPN has amassed a remarkable body of work on the subject at hand, the long-term effects of concussions on professional football players.

But investigative reporting is more than just acknowledging harsh realities.… Read more

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