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Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

Going Beyond the Agenda:
Investigating Local Government

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Game Plan for Covering City Hall

Journalists who investigate local government need to develop a plan to find and analyze the right documents, follow the right tips and deal appropriately with the demands of editors and publishers. (Story, video and more)

Use Documents and Computer-Assisted Reporting to Follow the Money

Following the money trail has become increasingly difficult unless you employ a blend of old-school people skills and sophisticated computer analysis. (Story, video and more)

Developing Sources – How to Create Your Own Network of Tipsters and Snitches

David Donald, training director of the Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, stressed the need to for strong interviewing skills, including the ability to plan an interview and a strong command of effective interviewing tactics. (Story, video and more)

Checking property and taxes: What you can find in appraisals, appeals, delinquents and liens

It's no surprise that rapidly growing markets attract more than their share of con men and these days the action is in real estate. (Story, video and more)

Knowing How It’s Supposed to Work

The sheer volume of paperwork that governments put out is so overwhelming that investigative journalists have to learn to narrow their focus to find the stories that matter. (Story, video and more)

Uncovering Hidden Government

“The first thing I learned was that you can have the scoop of the century, but if you can’t write, no one’s going to read it,” said Paul D’Ambrosio, the investigations editor of the Asbury Park Press. (Story, video and more)

Tracking Your Newsroom’s FOIA Requests and Building Resources

Filing a FOIA request is merely the first step to getting the information you need – as in most things, it’s the tracking and follow-up that make all the difference. (Story, video and more)

Statehouse Reporting and Strategies for Building your Own Data Library

Making a habit of requesting data – whether you need it or not – is paramount for any reporter investigating state and local government. (Story, video and more)

Unleashing the Watchdog in the Club Room

Investigative reporting and watchdog journalism are the keys to survival for traditional media, because no blogger or streaming video site can compete with this kind of high-quality, original content. (Story, video and more)

Investigating Those Who Protect: Police, Fire, Ambulances and Other First Responders

Cops and firefighters provide the kinds of stories that fill the inside pages of newspapers, but investigations into what’s going on at the station house can make the front page. (Story, video and more)

Writing and Editing and Investigative Projects

An investigative journalists’ job is only half over once they’ve dug up the dirt – then they have to figure out how to turn all those names, dates, facts and figures into something the public will pay attention to. (Story, video and more)

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Funded by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation