Veteran journalist Walter Baranger joins InquireFirst as VP

If you haven’t already met Walter Baranger in his travels across the globe, check out his bio.

Walter Baranger, former senior editor of news operations at The New York Times, has joined InquireFirst as Vice President.

Baranger took a buyout from The Times earlier this year and is headed to California on August 28 to join the journalism faculty of California State University, Fullerton.  We're pleased to announce that he will also be joining InquireFirst as we expand our organization.

In his role as InquireFirst Vice President, Baranger will focus on strategies for growing our nonprofit news organization, which offers professional development programs for journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Baranger has a deep understanding of the challenges facing journalists in Latin America and around the world. During his 27-year tenure at The New York Times, he logged more than 3 million airline miles traveling to more than 60 countries and nearly all of the U.S. states in support of the Times newsroom.

He will also work on technical and security issues confronting our online organization.  And he will instruct journalists attending InquireFirst workshops on cyber security issues and ways to protect their equipment and their information from private and state-sponsored hackers.

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, we begin answering that question by exploring the growing pressure on cities and towns to privatize their municipal drinking water systems. 

Elizabeth Douglass reports from Lake Station, Indiana, on towns that sell their public water systems — and often regret it.

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker talks about the importance of press freedom during an interview at La Prensa, the leading daily newspaper in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Photo by Yoseph Amaya/La Prensa

Executive Director Lynne Walker leads investigative journalism workshops in Honduras and Guatemala

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker traveled to San Pedro Sula in June 2017 to meet with investigative journalists who cover crime, corruption and gang warfare in the most dangerous city in Honduras.

San Pedro Sula is an industrial center, a business hub on the northern coast with more daily flights than the capital of Tegucigalpa.  But it is also a center of gang activity, making it the most violent city in the most dangerous country in Latin America.

Against that backdrop, more than 60 journalists attended two-day investigative journalism workshops led by Walker, a career journalist who for 15 years reported on Mexico, Central America and Cuba as Mexico City bureau chief for Copley News Service. The workshops were held at the Colegio de Periodistas and organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa.

Walker directed interactive workshops designed to help journalists think creatively as they search for credible sources for investigative stories.  All too often, stories are blocked by official sources who refuse to provide information.  In that reporting environment, Walker led journalists through a series of reporting scenarios in which they used their experience, their wits and their intuition to find untapped sources who can provide reliable information for in-depth news stories.

Walker challenged journalists to think outside the box, to push themselves to conduct in-depth reporting while maintaining a clear sense of journalistic ethics. And she underscored the need for investigative journalists to always be mindful of their personal safety.

In the colonial city of Comayagua, some 80 journalists attended two-day investigative journalism workshops led by Walker. Many of the journalists traveled from the distant regions of Marcala, La Paz, Tela and Progreso to attend the professional development programs.

Walker also traveled to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, to lead an investigative journalism workshop for print, radio and television reporters.  During the day-long session at the Rafael Landivar University, Walker talked with journalists about the importance of their work in reducing corruption and strengthening democracy.  Read more


InquireFirst and Fundacion Ealy Ortiz form partnership to offer science journalism workshop in San Francisco

InquireFirst has signed a collaborative agreement with Mexico City-based Fundacion Ealy Ortiz A.C. to organize and direct the 2017 Latin American edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop on October 25 in San Francisco.

The workshop, which will host 50 journalists from countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, will be held as part of the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCJS) from Oct. 26-30. This marks the first time the WCSJ has held its global conference in the United States. Some 1,200 science journalists from 70 countries are expected to attend.

During the day-long Ealy Science Journalism workshop, reporters and editors will participate in an interactive session on mining hidden science stories in Latin America.  They will also attend sessions on collaborating across borders to enrich storytelling, separating scientific fact from fiction, and staying safe while reporting on potentially dangerous issues such as logging, oil rights and mineral extraction.

The workshop will offer a mentoring program that will match Latin American science reporters with colleagues seeking to focus their work on science, health and environmental reporting.

The Fundacion Ealy Ortiz is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 by Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, publisher and owner of the daily newspaper El Universal in Mexico. Since its inception, the Fundacion has awarded more than 1,500 scholarships to journalists at more than 500 news organizations in Latin America to attend workshops the organization has conducted in Latin America, Europe and the United States.

Fifteen science journalists have received Ealy fellowships to attend the San Francisco workshop and the WCSJ. The journalists are working at media organizations in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Jamaica and Cuba.

At the opening plenary of the WCSJ, Ealy Ortiz will talk about his vision for science journalism in Latin America and in countries around the world.  He will also introduce keynote speaker John P. Holdren, who was President Obama’s science advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology from 2009-2017.


2017 Symposiums

InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker will organize and instruct journalism symposiums in 2017 on investigative reporting and safety protocols, digital storytelling and science, health and environment coverage in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The symposiums will be presented in Spanish.



August 21-25, 2017
San Diego, California
Digital Storytelling in the 21st Century

This five-day workshop will focus on multi-platform storytelling as well as the dissemination of information through new media. The program includes discussions with specialists on the issues of accuracy and credibility, libel and other legal questions, reporting ethics and the sourcing of information in electronic media. During training sessions with digital media and social media experts, journalists will engage in hands-on training sessions designed to provide new reporting tools that will allow them to present immediate and accurate information in this new reporting environment. The workshop will be offered in Spanish. Register here


October 25-30, 2017
San Francisco, California
Bridging Science and Societies

InquireFirst and Mexico City-based Fundacion Ealy Ortiz will bring together 50 science journalists for a October 25 professional development workshop to present practical, hands-on training sessions to sharpen reporting skills on the most pressing science, health and environmental issues in the Western Hemisphere.

The 2017 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop workshop is designed to promote excellence in science, health and environmental coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean and to underscore the need for deeply reported science coverage by local and regional media organizations.

This year’s workshop is being organized as part of the World Conference of Science Journalists 2017 (WCSJ) in San Francisco, California. Journalists attending the workshop will also participate in the WCSJ, which will host 1,200 reporters and editors from 70 countries.


LE PICTORIUM/Alamy Stock Photo

November 9-11, 2017
La Paz, Bolivia
Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age

Reporters and editors in the capital city of La Paz will attend a 14-hour workshop instructed by Walker on Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age. The workshop, organized by the Fundacion para el Periodismo, is being offered to journalists studying for a Master of Journalism degree.

Read more