The Storyteller as an Investigator: How to Turn a Tip into an Investigation


About this product

How to turn a tip into the foundation of an investigation

Type: Webinar

Originally broadcast on October 23, 2013

TIme Estimate: One hour

$29.95 $0.00

SKU: NUWEB01-13 Category:


In the fall of 2011, the Tampa Bay Times got a tip about possible abuse at a boys’ military school in a remote part of the Florida panhandle. One year later, the Times published a three-part series about what reporter Alexandra Zayas learned: that children had, for years, been subjected to extreme discipline, bizarre punishments and physical abuse in private, religious group homes across Florida that state child welfare workers did not regulate and had no power to shut down. The series, called “In God’s Name,” led to a statewide crackdown and a new law, won three national awards, including a Livingston Award, and was a finalist in the Pulitzer Prize.

In this Webinar, which is sponsored by the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, Zayas will share the lessons she learned about how to pair storytelling techniques with an investigative mission that delivers stories with impact.


  • How to turn a tip into the foundation of an investigation
  • How to find sources to expose the private and secluded
  • How to adjust the frame of a story for a harder hit
  • How to gain access when you think it’s impossible
  • How to organize mountains of documents and notes into stories
  • How to use narrative techniques for investigative impact


Reporters, editors, freelance writers — and anyone who wants to learn to investigate compelling stories.


Alex Zayas

Alexandra Zayas

Alexandra Zayas is a senior editor at ProPublica, where she supervises six investigative reporters whose beats include immigration, the environment, and social services. She spent 12 years at the Tampa Bay Times, ultimately as the newspaper’s enterprise editor. As a reporter, her investigation into abuse at unlicensed religious children’s homes across Florida won the 2013 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. She has served on the National Advisory Board of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.