IRE14: The wrap-up: Big lessons, key tipsheets and the city

san fran hill


Big lessons

A good conference inspires us to do something better on Monday, as long as other things don’t get in the way. Here are the big lessons I’ll take back to the newsroom. Some of these are basic or often repeated but it’s a good time to be reminded.

  • Investigative reporting is a craft. Perfect it. It’s easy to get lost in the daily production cycle of journalism. To produce compelling investigative work, we have to work at it every day and every week. If you want to learn Excel, find a story on Monday that will force you to learn it.
  • Experiment. The future is here. The world has adapted to the information revolution. (Here’s a clear reminder, if you need one.) That means we must adapt our work habits, too. We should experiment with new ways to use technology to report and tell stories. Areas ripe for experimentation: Data, social media, mobile, geo-location, distribution, partnerships.
  • Data. It’s everywhere. Use it. Because it matters.
  • Ask for help. Someone somewhere in IRE is an expert in whatever you want to learn. Just ask for help. If you like data, the NICAR listserv is a great place to start.
  • Fight on. The business of journalism is tough. We can whine. Or we can suck it up, open another spreadsheet and find the next story.

Key tipsheets

You can find all conference tipsheets on the IRE site. Some of my favorites:

General investigative reporting



Documents + public records


Web + tech

Blog posts

Here are my round-ups of sessions I attended on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Or check out the full thread.

And a another big thanks to the staff, volunteers and speakers who put everything together.

The city

It’s hard not to have a good time in San Francisco. The best parts.

  • AT&T Park. A beaut.
  • Specs. A fine example of North Beach life. Unionized bar tenders and cans of Oly.
  • And so is Caffee Triste. Crappy website. Fantastic lattes.
  • City Lights Books. Not as good as Powell’s. But still cool.
  • Chinatown.
  • Getting lost with this guy because of we were too busy staring at the view of the bay.



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