May 15 - 16, 2006
Unleashing the watchdog/ become a more effective editor
A combined workshop presented by Investigative Reporters & Editors
and NewsTrain, the national training program of the Associated Press
Walter Lippmann House on the Harvard University campus
One Francis Avenue
We want to thank our conference host, Bob Giles and The Nieman
Foundation, and our sponsors: The New England Associated Press News
Executives Association, the New England Newspaper Association and ASNE.
NewsTrain and IRE receive major funding from the John S. and James L.
Knight Foundation. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
also helped underwrite this event.
All classes will be held in the Taylor Seminar Room.
|Monday, May 15:
||Welcome and conference overview
Brant Houston, executive director of IRE and NICAR, and Lillian Swanson,
director, APME NewsTrain.
||Coaching your writers
Why: It's an effective way to edit
How to coach rather than fix stories. A five-step approach to coaching
writers that involves reporters and editors working together throughout
the entire story process, discussing ideas, focus, reporting,
organization, structure and prose.
Presenter: Michael Roberts, deputy managing editor/staff development,
The Arizona Republic
||Editing Common Story Forms
Why: It will help you discuss story organization with your writers
Beyond the inverted pyramid, there are several story forms that editors
working with reporters can use to shape and focus stories. This segment
will cover three, with examples and a chance for editors to apply the
forms to their own story ideas.
Presenter: Michael Roberts
Why: Because you often face these critical decisions
How to think about ethical issues. We'll examine what you are trying to
balance when you are faced with ethical dilemmas. Editors will be
encouraged to discuss ethical problems they've encountered and through Q
and A, we'll see what the best solutions might be.
Presenter: Robert Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation
||Conceiving and managing the watchdog story
Now that the groundwork has been laid, it's time to go after the harder
investigative and public-service stories on the beats that are not
getting done. This session will show you how to get the watchdog effort
going in your newsroom every day.
Presenters: David Boardman, managing editor, The Seattle Times, and
Deborah Nelson, investigative projects editor, The Los Angeles Times
||Bulletproofing the watchdog story
Watchdog stories attract attention and attacks no matter how valuable
they are. This session will show you how to avoid both simple and more
complex errors so that your stories can withstand the assaults.
Presenters: Deborah Nelson and Tim Nostrand, assistant managing
editor/projects for the The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)
||Reception at Lippmann House
Why: To keep the conversation going
|Tuesday, May 16:
||Welcome back & announcements
||Better Online journalism
Part One: Rethinking your role
Why: Because online has moved into the mainstream
We take a look at online journalism and how it is changing the industry
and your role as a frontline editor. Storytelling possibilities expand
greatly as Web sites, podcasts; blogs and citizen journalism present new
challenges for the assigning editor. Being resourceful and creative has
always been a key part of a frontline editor's job. Now, the mid-level
editor must be thinking about all the different platforms that can be
served, including how the print version of the next day's story must
change as a result of the 24/7 news cycle.
Presenters: Teresa Hanafin, editor, Boston.com, and John Yemma, deputy
managing editor/special projects, The Boston Globe.
Part Two: Secrets of writing for the internet, and other new media
Writing in real-time and in inverted pyramid and broadcast styles are
good starting points for writing for online. But to use the Web to
great advantage, editors must know who their Web audiences are, what
they find compelling and when they are likely to be reading your site.
Also, you'll learn secrets to headline writing and key words in text
that will increase your chances of being listed higher in search
Presenter: Daniel Rubin, a reporter who writes Blinq, a blog on blogs
for The Philadelphia Inquirer
||Why Training Matters
Why: Because newspapers are a business, too
A discussion of why some news organizations are putting more emphasis on
professional development of their staffs. Resources you can use to get
valuable training for yourself and push for more training for those you
lead. Take a virtual tour of a new e-learning site, News University at
Presenter: Lillian Swanson, APME NewsTrain project director
||Lunch & a Q and A with John Carroll
His topic: Editing, watchdog journalism and the turmoil in the news
John is the Knight Visiting Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government
and former editor of The Los Angeles Times
||Presenting the watchdog story: From writing to
graphics and the Web
Watchdog stories can be full of numbers and often explain the failure of
systems so the need to present them clearly, concisely and with impact
is greater than ever in this visual age. Here are tips and techniques to
make sure these stories don't go unnoticed.
Presenter: David Boardman
||Using the internet effectively for watchdog stories
Editors and newsrooms are missing many good Web sites for beats and
investigations. This session provides a jumpstart in how to mak sure
that every search brings back useful results and stories.
Presenter: Brant Houston
||How to use open-records laws more effectively for
This session will cover how to ensure your newsroom and staff is getting
the most out of open-records laws and generating watchdog stories from
open-records requests. The session also will offer techniques to use
when officials balk at giving up public records.
Presenter: Brant Houston and Deborah Nelson
||Questions, answers and follow-up
||End of workshop|