Top U.S. journalists to instruct Transparency and Investigative Reporting Workshop
FULLERTON, Calif. – Top U.S. journalists will join InquireFirst as speakers at our “Transparency and Investigative Reporting” workshop next week, when Latin American journalists travel to Southern California to attend sessions on fact-checking, in-depth investigative reporting, cyber security and reporting with drones.
Among our speakers are:
- Ginger Thompson, senior reporter at ProPublica who specializes in immigration and organized crime coverage. Ginger and her colleagues at ProPublica won a Polk Award in the immigration category in February 2019 for their "Zero Tolerance" series on the Trump administration's policy at the border.
- Sal Rizzo, reporter at The Fact Checker at The Washington Post who previously covered New Jersey politics, courts, state finances and Gov. Chris Christie.
- Erik Olsen, a Los Angeles-based video journalist who previously was the West Coast video correspondent for Quartz. Before joining Quartz, Erik was a senior video journalist for The New York Times. He is now focused on reporting with drones.
- Eileen Truax, an InquireFirst journalist whose work focuses on immigration and politics and has been published in the U.S., Latin America and Spain. Eileen is the author of four books, including, “Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream.”
- Walter Baranger, who left his position as senior editor of news operations at The New York Times last year. One of Walter's many roles at the Times was to travel to foreign bureaus and shore up cyber security. Walter, who is now VP of InquireFirst, will give a presentation on protecting information and equipment from cyber attacks.
We'll be holding the Feb. 25-March 1 workshop on the California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) campus, where Walter is on the journalism faculty. Our partners for this workshop are the Latino Communications Institute at the CSUF College of Communications and the Latino Journalists Club.
We anticipate the workshop will equip a team of Latin American journalists with investigative skills to produce deeply reported and carefully fact-checked investigative reports that lead to greater transparency in their countries. The workshop will also help build professional alliances between journalists and their media organizations that encourage cross-border reporting on high-impact regional investigative stories.
In Collaboration With
InquireFirst board member and health care expert Rosemary Gibson engaged in an in-depth interview on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour about her recently published book, “China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine.”
Radio host Ralph Nader said Gibson’s meticulously researched book outlines how U.S. dependence on China for medications represents “a clear and present danger to the American people.”
“Our listeners should be notified that this is going to alarm them,” Nader said when introducing Gibson’s work to his audience. “Right now, more and more of the medicines in our country are imported from China and India.
“You argue very convincingly, Rosemary, that there’s a national security problem here,” Nader told Gibson. “And secondly, to put it mildly, the inspection level by the FDA of these labs in China is non-existent, confused or very rare.”
Listen to Ralph Nader’s interview with Rosemary Gibson.
InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker travels to Ecuador to lead investigative reporting workshops
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador -- S. Lynne Walker, President and Executive Director of InquireFirst, traveled to Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador, in January 2019 to instruct a series of interactive workshops titled “Investigative Journalism in High-Risk Situations.”
In Guayaquil, journalists from newspapers, television networks and online news sites participated in a nine-hour interactive training session conducted by Walker on January 14-15. During the first session – a spirited discussion that engaged the journalists in a dialogue about the “do’s and don’ts” of coverage -- Walker focused on techniques for gaining access and finding credible sources for investigative reports, as well as new approaches to interviewing subjects who have delicate information to share.
During the second day of the workshop series, which was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil, Walker worked with journalists on organizing complex information and presenting it to audiences in a compelling way. She also conducted a session on security protocols for journalists working in high-risk situations.
Walker instructed a 3-hour workshop in Guayaquil with journalism students at Universidad Casa Grande on interview techniques for investigative reporters.
In Quito, Walker led a 9-hour interactive workshop for mid-career journalists from newspapers, news agencies, television networks and online news sites. She worked with the journalists on new techniques for gaining access to sensitive information, interviewing people who are reluctant to reveal sensitive information, and on the crucial issue of journalist safety.
It is clear that journalists in Quito are still deeply affected by the March 2018 kidnap and murder of El Comercio journalists Javier Ortega and Paúl Rivas and their driver, Efraín Segarra.
The Ecuadoran government said the journalists were kidnapped by a holdout faction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the leftist rebel group that laid down its weapons and became a political party in 2016 after signing a peace accord with the Colombia government.
The murders of the journalists in this nation of 17 million stunned the people of Ecuador and shook their long-held perception of Ecuador as a tiny, peaceful country insulated from the drug violence that has plagued neighboring Colombia.
The journalists who participated in the workshop spoke about the dangers they face, the security measures they’re taking when reporting on dangerous stories and the limits they place on themselves during high-risk coverage.
Walker also participated in a panel discussion at Universidad San Francisco de Quito titled, “Border security, migration and high-risk coverage.” Joining her for the panel discussion were: Iván Flores, former Editor-in-Chief of La Hora; María Belén Arroyo, political editor of Vistazo; and Arturo Torres, former Editor-in-Chief of El Comercio. Arroyo and Torres spoke about their recently released book, “Rehenes,” and the question of journalist security in Ecuador.
The Investigative Journalism in High-Risk Situations workshops resulted in two important takeaways for reporters and their news organizations. First, the reporters said they planned to talk with top directors at their news organizations about implementing safety protocols. Second, they discussed the advantages and challenges of establishing a nationwide journalist network.
The workshop also encouraged journalists to keep striving for excellence in their investigative reporting.
Telerama reporter Leonidas Castro Rodríguez, who is based in Guayaquil, said that Walker’s workshop gave him clarity “about ideas such as focusing on research and sources in order to assemble the information puzzle” and he said it also made him aware “of safety recommendations that must be taken and how to identify when there are risks.”
“It was very useful to learn the experiences of a very experienced journalist who gave us her knowledge in a clear and didactic way,” Castro said.
Another reporter wrote, “I'm a young journalist and I've been covering difficult subjects for a relatively short time. I think the workshop with Lynne inspired me. It has motivated me to try to cover complex issues with a little less fear.”
New opportunities for Latin American reporters and editors announced during Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Latin American science journalists were presented with a host of new professional development opportunities during the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop at Stanford University.
The June 17-21, 2018 workshop, organized by InquireFirst and Mexico City-based Fundación Ealy Ortiz, focused on training opportunities – with Latin American science journalists as both participants and instructors – as well as steps to form a regional science journalism network.
Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, owner and publisher of the Mexico City daily newspaper El Universal, announced that he is establishing a multi-platform “high-impact” science section with “the highest standards for content and selection of infographics.”
Ealy Ortiz also announced that he is forming an Institute for Science Journalism and International Training which will be headed by Enrique Bustamante, who also serves as director of Fundación Ealy Ortiz. The Institute will offer training to science journalists, researchers, scientists and science communicators, he said.
Ealy Ortiz said he will be providing travel fellowships for Latin American and Caribbean science journalists to attend the 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(Journalists can find more information about WCSJ2019 at this website: https://bit.ly/2N4JPiP)
Rosalind Reid, executive director of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writers, also announced fellowship opportunities that will support the participation by Latin American and Caribbean journalists in ScienceWriters 2018, a regional forum for science journalists organized by the National Association of Science Writers that will be held Oct. 12-16, 2018, in Washington D.C.
The deadline to apply is July 17. Latin American and Caribbean journalists can find information about the travel fellowship at this website: https://bit.ly/2lHmR4x
Reid conducted a discussion during the Ealy Science Journalism workshop with Latin American reporters and editors on ways that U.S. and international organizations can support the growing cadre of science journalists in the region.
Among the measures suggested by Latin American journalists were:
- Workshops that offer environmental investigative journalism training
- Workshops specificially designed for science journalists who report for television audiences
- Workshop sessions on effective ways to pitch editors on science, health and environment stories
- A workshop on how to report on breaking environmental/health stories such as a global outbreak of an epidemic
- Cross-border reporting initiatives to share resources and increase the impact of science, health and environment stories and
- A website that gives higher visibility to science journalists by publishing and promoting the best Spanish-language reports in Latin America and the Caribbean
Dawn E. Garcia, director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships (JSK) at Stanford University, urged Latin American science journalists to apply for the prestigious fellowship which provides a stipend to journalists to work on projects while they study at Stanford for the 10-month academic year.
Garcia noted that at least one of the 20 annual fellowships is designated for a Latin American journalist. Yet few journalists from Mexico or other Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America apply for a Knight fellowship. The majority of the Latin American applicants are from Brazil, she said.
Journalists can learn more about the Knight Fellowships at on the JSK website:
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Will the United States continue to be a country where people can turn on the tap and assume the water that comes out is safe and affordable? In this, the first major report in InquireFirst’s long-term drinking water project, reporter Elizabeth Douglass travels to Lake Station, Indiana, to begin answering that question by exploring the growing pressure on cities and towns to privatize their municipal drinking water systems.
View photos by John Nelson/InquireFirst