The Center for Public Interest Journalism is sponsoring six area journalists who will attend the 2013 IRE Conference this week in San Antonio, Texas.
This year’s conference promises to bring together the best in the business for more than 100 panels, hands-on classes and special presentations on how to practice investigative journalism in print, broadcast, web and alternative newsroom models.
CPIJ is sending Philadelphia Daily News Political Editor Chris Brennan, PlanPhilly.com reporter Jared Brey, and freelancer Laura Goldman of Metro and Good Morning America, as well as James McGinnis of Greater Philadelphia Newspapers, Joelle Farrell — recent New Jersey statehouse reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer — and Philadelphia Daily News city hall reporter Sean Walsh.
Brennan says he is challenged with tracking the flow of political contributions each year and that groups such as Open Secrets and the Sunlight Foundation, regular exhibitors at IRE conferences, are helpful in discussing ways to keep track of the campaign spending. He is also interested in the scheduled seminars on financial misdeeds in sports.
Brey covers issues related to zoning, development, real estate, taxes, and historic preservation, and says he is hoping to substantially increase the portion of his work that discovers new information, in addition to simply relaying and explaining information that is already public. Working for a small, niche news outlet, Brey says that he looks forward of learning from more seasoned reporters.
Goldman says that she hopes combining new investigative skills with her proven interviewing skills will help her to break more big stories. Farrell pointed out when applying that the conference would be important in a time of contracting newsrooms, where she said it had become more difficult to find mentors.
McGinnis expects IRE to deliver new information and tools he can pass along to readers as well as students. Walsh want to learn more about analyzing data in a time when the city has been making more information available.
Investigative Reporters and Editors is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting, formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the world could help each other by sharing story ideas, news gathering techniques and news sources.
Come back to cpijournalism.org in the coming weeks for takeaways from our group.