Training: Investigating Government Contractors

by April 22, 2014

Photo by the Oregon Department of Transportation

Investigating Government Contractors was originally held April 22, 2014.

Contractors have literally become a fourth branch of government. Name a government function, and it’s a good bet that it’s being carried out by a contractor, including national security, as we’ve seen with NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Some contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, get more federal dollars than several government agencies combined.

In this one-hour webinar, learn how to track local and national government spending on contractors in public databases and see examples of stories that have or could be done.


  • How to find or FOIA public databases on spending on contractors at the federal and state levels.
  • What to look for in identifying stories on contractors.
  • How debarment of contractors works — or not.


Ron Nixon is a domestic correspondent in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times, where he has worked since 2005. He is the former computer-assisted reporting editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a former training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors.


Review the session materials below to infuse your local government reporting with an emphasis contractor coverage.

PowerPoint presentations