Archives for July, 2015

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

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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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Recent Posts

A shortlist of fall media

The autumn news cycle boiled over like some Northwestern river amid a peak salmon run. Here are exceptional examples of storytelling I’ve spent time with in the last few weeks. They pinball and rebound between the most salient topics in media of the moment: extreme wealth, the White House and race.

FRONTLINE, IRW launch new fellowship

The PBS series FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) at American University’s School of Communication announce a new journalism fellowship.

Barriers still keep disabled voters from polls

Nearly 28 years since the passing of the American’s with Disabilities Act, some polling places and voting systems still are not accessible.


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