INN, IRE to Hold Pre-Day Nonprofit News Event at 2012 Conference

Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and the Investigative News Network (INN) are partnering to host Best Practices for Nonprofit Newsrooms: A day of hands-on sharing and learning at the IRE Conference in Boston on June 14, 2012. This all-day program will focus on three areas that are vital to nonprofit investigative centers: collaboration, legal issues, and best practices in operations. All INN members are encouraged to attend. Additional conference details are available on IRE's website.

The agenda for June 14 includes:

9:45 a.m. Welcome remarks Kevin Davis, INN CEO

10 a.m. Collaboration Workshop Evelyn Larrubia, INN Editorial Director

As collaborations between newsrooms flourish, how do you handle serious journalistic disagreements, such as how a story’s findings are described in the nutgraph? We'll have a brief panel discussion on a case where that’s exactly what happened, hear how the newsrooms handled it, and hear your questions and opinions on the subject.

We will then break into groups to brainstorm collaborative story possibilities around four datasets, with the goal of returning to your newsroom and launching into a project. The break-out groups will be:

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution's test score data: Disseminated by the AJC team that released the "Cheating our Children" series earlier this year, these data contain the average reading and math test scores for grades 3 through 8 in roughly 69,000 public schools around the country, from approximately 2007 to 2011. The data compare a class's scores between years to help identify unlikely swings in results that could indicate tampering or cheating. The data include statistical test results that measure improbability, generated by the AJC team, for you to use as a guide.
  • Census Data on Minorities’ Socioeconomic Slide: When it comes to income, poverty, education and homeownership, the gaps between whites and minorities -- particularly, African-Americans and Latinos -- are worse now than they were before the Civil Rights movement. For example, when compared to the college graduation rates of whites, the gap has doubled for African Americans and more than tripled for Latinos in the past five decades. I-News Network in Denver has analyzed data from the U.S. Census back to 1960 for every state in the nation. Each INN member will be able to look at state and regional trends in education (high school and college graduation), income (median household/family), poverty and homeownership.
  • SBA 7a business loans: The SBA 7a business loans database, obtained by NICAR, contains information about loans guaranteed (but not funded) by the U.S. Small Business Administration going back to 1953. You can investigate business in your community and answer questions such as: Who are getting loans and in what income areas? How many loans have been forgiven? How many businesses have failed despite backing by the SBA? Federal Contracting Data: Investigative Newsource has merged different federal datasets on minority contractors to determine how often the minority-owned rule is skirted – and where this happens the most. Data experts joined and cleaned up the data and pulled out contracts where half or more was subcontracted to non-minority businesses.


1:30 p.m. Protect Yourself Digital Media Law Project
The Digital Media Law Project will lead a session examining legal and risk-management issues, and teaching news entrepreneurs how to avoid costly mistakes. The legal network is based at Harvard University and has provided valuable assistance to several INN members over the past year.

3 p.m. BREAK

3:15 p.m. Lightning Presentations from INN Members
Schedule of presentations subject to change.

Group A

  • Training as a Revenue Stream - Joe Bergantino, NECIRBU
    How to develop and market training programs that can add to your bottom line.
  • Diversifying Revenue Sources - Laura Frank, I-News Network
    When INN members and funders talk about diversifying revenue, we usually think about donated revenue vs. earned revenue. But what INN members really need are predictable sources of revenue to balance the unpredictable. We'll look at a diverse set of revenue streams, then break them down into predictable and not-predictable, and talk about how to get our revenue pie on the 60%-70% predictable side.
  • Diversity: Not Why But How - Brant Houston, INN
    A quick survey of some of the best practices in media diversity being employed by outlets to not only reach a wider audience and meet funders' expectations but - more importantly - help build a more viable strategy for sustainability.
  • Partnering with Public Media - Brant Houston, INN
    Investigative journalism centers and regional PBS and NPR stations have already had many successes and the future holds great promise. Brant Houston will share findings from his recent report on these collaborations. The presentation will include strategies and lessons gleaned from INN members.
  • Tracking your Impact - Lauren Hasler, Wisconsin Watch
    Lauren Hasler, public engagement director, will share tools for tracking your impact, and give other tips for recording, mapping and sharing metrics with your audience, and present and potential funders.

Q&A with Group A

Group B:

  • Free Data Tools - Kate Golden, Wisconsin Watch
    You don't have to spend big bucks to analyze big data. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's Kate Golden will discuss Tableau Public, Google Refine and other free tools that she has used recently for both analysis and presentation.
  • Reaching new audiences through YouTube - Steve Talbot, CIR and Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center
    CIR and INN recently announced the formation of the official investigative news channel on YouTube. Senior Producer Steve Talbot will share best practices in producing compelling online video to reach new audiences with greater impact.
  • Leveraging the NICAR Datasets - Elizabeth Lucas, IRE/NICAR
    As we did in the previous year, INN has subscribed to NICAR's complete data library for use by our member organizations in their reporting. Liz Lucas will provide INN members with an overview of the data library and share best-practices in using it.
  • New options in CMS - Nicole Hollway, St. Louis Beacon and Jessica Plautz, INN
    INN members have many options when it comes to publishing their content on the web. We will look at two different approaches to digital publishing for and by members.

Q&A with Group B

Closing Remarks - Kevin Davis, INN CEO

More details on the Investigative Reporters & Editors 2012 conference in Boston can be found on the IRE site.