Economic development incentives website

I wrote a story on a new state economic development website for today’s Tennessean that came directly out of a tip I got at the IRE conference and a panel I attended there on incentives and subsidies. Thanks again for the opportunity to go.

Michael Cass

The Tennessean

Corey Johnson, Pulitzer finalist and Gannett award winner, gives advice to investigative journalists.

-Arvin, Pacific Daily News

In-Depth Coverage: The new money trail: Tracking spending in an earmark-free world

Mark Barrett from the Asheville Citizen-Times provided in-depth coverage of the panel “The new money trail: Tracking spending in an earmark-free world”.  Click the link to read Mark’s report.

Session description:
In 2010 Congress banned earmarks, a legislative gimmick, which lets lawmakers attach pet projects to spending bills. But that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from trying to bring home the dollars. This panel will examine the many ways lawmakers are still able to get projects funded for highways, sewer systems, even projects to beneficial to campaign donors, in their districts or states despite the ban.

A group of veteran journalists gave tips on how to preserve truth in the presence of “truthiness.” 

Readers often will reject facts that go against their beliefs. At best, the blogosphere can hold journalists accountable. At worst, it can undermine months of investigation. 

Maintain high standards at all times. Do not rush! 

Jessie Balmert
The Advocate in Newark, Ohio

Len Downie, Vice President At Large at The Washington Post, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview and for all the interviews form the Gannett Salon @ IRE, click the “Interviews” link above.

Len Downie, Vice President At Large at The Washington Post, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview and for all the interviews form the Gannett Salon @ IRE, click the “Interviews” link above.

In-Depth Coverage: Are you ready? Digging into breaking news

Mark Sommerhauser of the St. Cloud Times provided in-depth coverage of the panel “Are you ready? Digging into breaking news”.  Click the link to read Mark’s report.

Session description:
Tips and strategies for bringing an investigative edge to breaking-news stories, including how to develop a story in real time while using documents, databases, readers, and innovative tools to own the story in print and online.

Manny Garcia, executive editor/general manager at El Nuevo Herald who has won three Pulitzer Prizes and been a finalist for two others, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview.

Manny Garcia, executive editor/general manager at El Nuevo Herald who has won three Pulitzer Prizes and been a finalist for two others, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview.

In-Depth Coverage: Managers: Making the Investigative Commitment and Building the Team

Detroit Free Press Business Editor Christopher D. Kirkpatrick provided in-depth coverage of the panel “Managers: Making the Investigative Commitment and Building the Team”.  Click the link to read Christopher’s report.

Session description:
It starts with a firm vision at the top and unwavering courage to pursue watchdog stories in the face of declining profits, heavy criticism, and competing news priorities. How do you keep the watchdog commitment firm and strong (and actually build something) when financial pressures are forcing newsroom cutbacks in most places. Newsroom leaders share their experiences, success stories and survival tips.

Corey G. Johnson, money and politics reporter at California Watch and finalist for 2012 Pulitzer Prize in local reporting, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview.

Corey G. Johnson, money and politics reporter at California Watch and finalist for 2012 Pulitzer Prize in local reporting, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview.

In-Depth Coverage: Follow the money: The boom in toll roads

Ben Jones from The Post-Crescent provided in-depth coverage of the panel “Follow the money: The boom in toll roads ”.  Click the link to read Ben’s report.

Session description: 
For a century, building and operating U.S. roads has mostly been a government monopoly. Taxes have mostly paid the bill. No longer. Now roads are often built, run and even owned outright by investors. That means tolls. It also means that governments have to sift through a maze of ways to finance, build and operate a highway while still protecting the public interest. Find out how to follow the money in the booming world of toll roads.

In-Depth Coverage: Social media for journalists

Brad Harper of the Montgomery Advertiser provided in-depth coverage of the panel “Social media for journalists”.  Click the link to read Brad’s report.

Session description:

You know the basics of Tweeting and posting Facebook status updates. Now it’s time to take it to the next level as a social media sleuth – harnessing the power of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, plus geolocation and analytic tools. Learn new ways to find sources, background people and companies, and break stories before the competition.
Raquel Rutledge, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner in local reporting, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview.

Raquel Rutledge, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner in local reporting, is interviewed by Gannett’s Mackenzie Warren at the IRE Conference in Boston on Friday.  Click the photo to watch the interview.

In-Depth Coverage: Digging into housing scandals

Brian Eason from The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. provided in-depth coverage of the panel “Digging into housing scandals”.  Click the link to read Brian’s report.

Session description:
In communities large and small, there is plenty to investigate involving low-income housing. But it’s a topic that many news organizations ignore. Learn about the kinds of stories you can uncover, and the impact you can have, when you dig into housing issues. Reporters from two small news organizations – the Advertiser Democrat in Norway, Maine (a Pulitzer finalist this year) and the Chicago Reporter – have had big impact with their work.

In-Depth Coverage: Fighting for records and access

Michelle Mitchell from the Palm Springs Desert Sun provided in-depth coverage of the panel “Fighting for records and access”.  Click the link to read  Michelle’s report.

Session description:
The panel explores public records practices across the U.S., with special attention to emerging trends in privatization, electronic documents, privacy claims of corporations and commonly requested records.

At 11:05 pm, just landing at BWI.  Great meeting everyone. I look forward to working with you soon.  Russ Ptacek.  WUSA

At 11:05 pm, just landing at BWI. Great meeting everyone. I look forward to working with you soon. Russ Ptacek. WUSA