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Uncovering the Best Local Business Stories: Self-guided training

Photo by Flickr user Jo Naylor

The free workshop, “Uncovering the Best Local Business Stories,” was originally held at the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism on April 13, 2012, and at Texas Christian University’s Texas Center for Community Journalism on April 26, 2012.

The session recordings below are from the workshop held at TCU. John Cheves’ PowerPoint presentations and handouts from the workshop at UK are available, along with Carlie Kollath, Chris Roush and Linda Austin’s earlier presentations, as additional resources.


  • How to find good stories in the business of government, including budgets and contracts,
  • How to cover economic-development agencies at the state and local levels,
  • How to find public information on private companies,
  • How to find stories in publicly available databases, such as incorporation records and real estate transactions,
  • How to find stories in small businesses, including 15 questions to ask for small-business profiles, and
  • How to localize national and international stories for your audience.

Linda Austin

Linda Austin


Linda Austin is the former executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. A former editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader and reporter and editor at the Dallas Times Herald, she is also a former business editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

John Cheves

John Cheves

John Cheves is an investigative reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader, with a focus on government watchdog stories that track how taxpayer money is spent. His projects include a nationally published 2006 series, “The McConnell Machine,” examining $220 million in political donations collected by U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and the favors that McConnell did for his biggest donors.

Carlie Kollath Wells

Carlie Kollath Wells

Carlie Kollath has been a business reporter at the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 2007. She fell in love with journalism in high school and discovered business journalism while working for two trade publications in New York after graduating from the University of Mississippi.

Chris Roush is the Walter E. Hussman Sr. Distinguished Scholar in business journalism and the founding director of the Carolina Business News Initiative at the University of North Carolina. He was named Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Teacher of the Year in 2009 and the North Carolina Professor of the Year in 2010.

Chris Roush, UNC journalism professor

Chris Roush

Doug Swanson is the investigative projects editor at The Dallas Morning News. Before that, he was a projects reporter specializing in coverage of troubled state agencies and the financial misdeeds of state contractors. He has written five crime novels and is at work on a biography of Benny Binion, who started the World Series of Poker.

Doug Swanson, investigative projects editor, Dallas Morning News

Doug Swanson

Tommy Thomason is the founding director of Texas Christian University’s Texas Center for Community Journalism. He was also the founding director of TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism, which he led until starting the center in 2009. He has taught journalism at five universities and has been at TCU since 1984.


Take a look through the workshop session recordings and resources below. At your own pace, you can walk through essential tips and techniques for finding great business stories in your own community.

Session Recordings

Tommy Thomason

Tommy Thomason

PowerPoint Presentations

Additional Resources (PDFs)


In Beats, Business Beats, Economy, Financial/economy, Self-guided and archives.

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