Polish your skills in computer-assisted reporting (CAR) and learn how to hold local businesses accountable with this free, daylong workshop co-presented by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and Investigative Reporters and Editors.
Even if you’ve never touched an Excel spreadsheet before, you will leave this hands-on workshop with the skills you need to begin analyzing the wealth of information available in public databases about businesses.
Remember: the 2010 Pulitzer for Public Service was won by a reporter for The Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier who used CAR skills he learned from IRE to investigate the mismanagement of natural gas royalties.
Please note that this training is for journalists, including freelancers, who cover business. Due to the hands-on nature of the workshop, attendance will be capped at 20 journalists. Each organization is limited to one attendee.
This free workshop precedes the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Conference March 15-17, for which there is an additional fee. During it, the Reynolds Center will offer additional training on how not to be bamboozled by local economic studies, taught by Sarah Cohen, Duke University’s Knight Chair in Journalism.
Data is one of four developments transforming the business and financial press, according to then Forbes Managing Editor Carl Lavin in a July 1, 2010, interview with IR Alert.
“There will be an exponential increase in data available—to analyze businesses, to compare them to model future activity and so on. The people with the tools and personnel that can mine business data for intelligence will be adding tremendous value,” he says.
(The other three developments are social media, the semantic Web and mobile Web.)
Here’s an example of a story on the area store selling the most winning lottery tickets produced by reporter Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star, who attended a similar workshop in Milwaukee in 2010.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
- Find and download online databases.
- How to use Excel spreadsheets to analyze that information. No previous experience with Excel is expected.
- How to translate that analysis into business stories.
AGENDA: Be a Better Business Watchdog — CAR for Business Journalists
8:30-9 a.m.: Continental breakfast and registration
9-9:10 a.m.: Introduction and welcome
9:10-12:40 p.m.: How to use Excel spreadsheet software
12:40-1:30 p.m.: Box lunch provided.
1:30-3:30 p.m.: Where and how to access great databases with examples of business stories done from them
3:30-5 p.m.: Questions and review of specific concepts
Jaimi Dowdell joined IRE as a training director in October 2008. She taught this workshop in Atlanta and Milwaukee in 2010 and in Seattle and Cleveland in 2011. Before joining IRE, she was computer-assisted reporting editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for more than three years. Her duties included obtaining and analyzing data for daily and long-term stories; training staff on CAR and investigative techniques; and maintaining the newspaper’s online data center. In addition to her work at the Post-Dispatch, she taught a CAR course for Washington University in St. Louis.
Previously she worked at IRE and NICAR in the Database Library and Resource Center while completing her master’s degree at the University of Missouri.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Please do not register unless you are sincere about participating. Because this workshop offers hands-on training on individual computers, space is extremely limited, with spots allotted on a first-come, first-served basis. Signing up and not participating deprives someone else of the opportunity.
Those who successfully complete three regional workshops or online seminars presented by the Reynolds Center are eligible to receive a “Circle of Achievement” certificate.
This free seminar is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. If you have any questions about the workshop or the center, please e-mail Executive Director Linda Austin or call 602-496-9187.