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InquireFirst heads to Switzerland for World Conference of Science Journalists

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – We’re headed to Switzerland in July to direct the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism workshop at the 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ).

We are thrilled to once again collaborate with Fundación Ealy Ortiz on the 16th annual Latin American edition of the Ealy workshop at the world gathering of science journalists. At our July 1 workshop, which will be held from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (before the inaugural ceremony of the WCSJ), we are expecting almost 50 journalists from countries throughout Latin America.

InquireFirst is proud to sponsor two Mexican environmental journalists – Sergio Vicke and Pablo Mares – by providing them with full scholarships to attend the Ealy workshop and WCSJ.

Fundación Ealy Ortiz is sponsoring 12 journalists to attend from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile. With our combined efforts, we are expecting an impressive contingent of science writers from Latin American countries.

During the day-long workshop we’ll have two interactive sessions on narrative science writing and shaping transborder science stories – from idea to reality.

We’ll also have panel discussions on new economic models for online science journalism sites and on building a regional team of science journalists.

Among our speakers will be:

  •  Iván Carrillo, editor of Tangible (Mexico)
  • Thiago Medaglia, founder of Ambiental (Brazil)
  • Daniela Hirschfeld, Latin American correspondent with SciDev.net (Uruguay)
  • André Biernath, reporter with Saúde (Brazil)
  • Aleida Rueda, freelance science writer (Mexico)
  • Lynne Friedmann, former editor of ScienceWriters (U.S.)
  • Rosalind Reid, executive director of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (U.S.)
  • Follow our workshop on Facebook and Twitter @inquirefirst and check out our agenda at the WCSJ2019 web site.  Hope you can join us in Lausanne!
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Pablo Mares

Mexican science journalists Pablo Mares and Sergio Vicke awarded InquireFirst scholarships to attend WCSJ2019

We're excited to announce that InquireFirst is providing full fellowships to Mexican science journalists Pablo Mares and Sergio Vicke to attend the 2019 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop and the World Conference of Science Journalists which will take place July 1-5 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Pablo is the founder of CientificoDigital.mx, which focuses on science, health and environmental coverage. He writes for the online environmental website Mongabay.com and for the health website Medscape.com. He is also a member of the Earth Journalism Network.

He has participated in the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Hawaii, in the Conference of Parties 13 (COP13) on Biodiversity in Cancun, as well as a journalism workshop in Costa Rica organized by LatinClima and the Stanley Foundation on the transition to carbon neutral.

Pablo is a professor of digital journalism at the University of Guadalajara and an experimental musician who has composed several musical pieces for news reports and radio programs.

 

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Sergio Vicke

Sergio is an environmental journalist who is the anchor of the program “Solo Preguntas y Respuestas” on Mexico’s Public Broadcasting System (SPR).

For more than two decades, Sergio was a familiar face on Television Azteca, where he worked as both a reporter and anchor. His coverage has taken him to 14 countries, as well as remote corners of Mexico, where he has covered hurricanes and floods and political and public security stories of national importance.

Over the years, Sergio has specialized in science, health and environment coverage, attending numerous journalism training programs, including the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop, in Mexico and the United States. Sergio left TV Azteca in 2016 to work on environmental documentary projects from his home in Merida, Mexico.

 

A special thanks to our sponsor

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InquireFirst leads regional Science and Health Journalism Seminar in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY – “Writing is music…language can be used in so many creative ways,” Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, told almost 30 science and health journalists attending our regional workshop in Mexico City.

As Blum lead journalists through an interactive workshop on narrative science writing, she told them “we are the best people in the world to remind people that science is a part of their daily life.”

Blum was the keynote speaker on the final day of our March 31-April 3, 2019, regional Science and Health Journalism Seminar which InquireFirst organized in collaboration with MSD. Journalists from major media organizations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico attended our first InquireFirst regional workshop conducted in Mexico City.

“Excellent,” one journalist said about Blum’s teaching session. “It is refreshing to hear how journalism is done in other places and to investigate and analyze the tools we have within our reach to do better journalism.”

This seminar focused on urgent health issues in Latin America such as cancer and diabetes and HIV, as well as public health issues such as resistance to vaccines and sexual and reproductive rights.

As the journalists heard from prominent MDs and researchers, Blum told them, “we recover lost science. There’s no one better to do it than science writers.”

Also joining us for an interactive session was Mariana Alvarado, training fellow for Google News Lab in Mexico, Central America and Colombia.

Alvarado showed journalists how to use Google on-line tools to verify information before publishing.

“We are in a unique and challenging moment for quality journalism,” she said. “It is more difficult to assure people that they are consuming accurate information.”

Among the speakers were:

  • Dr. Carlos Espinal, head of the Global Health Consortium at Florida International University, who said that by 2050 microbial resistance to antibiotics will claim more lives worldwide than cancer.
  • Dr. Javier Baez, who treated the first HIV case in Mexico. Today, Brazil has the highest reported number of HIV/AIDS in Latin America, followed by Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Chile.
  • Dr. Carlos Barrios, director of the Oncology Research Center at Hospital São Lucas in Brazil, who noted that while the prevalence of cancer is lower in Latin America than in the United States, more people die of cancer in Latin America due to a complex and often inaccessible health care system.
  • Dr. Carla Vizzotti, director of the National Program of Immunizations in Argentina, who spoke about the public resistance to vaccines. “Vaccines are victims of their own success,” she said.
  • Dr. Claudio González, director of MSD Global Medical Affairs, who talked about the increase in diabetes in Latin American countries. Mexico ranks first in the region.
  • Dr. Raffaela Schiavon, advisor on health and sexual and reproductive rights in México, who said that Latin America ranks second in teen pregnancy after Africa.
  • Javier Picó, a partner in Life Sciences Consultants in Mexico City, who spoke about the impact of biopharmaceutical innovation in Latin America.
  • Frank Lichtenberg, business professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Business, who said the medical industry is the most labor-intensive sector of the economy, making it an important engine of economic growth.

The response from the journalists attending the seminar was overwhelmingly positive.

“This was an enriching seminar which, unlike others, not only presented health issues but also gave instructions on tools like Google,” said one journalist.

“Worth its weight in gold for reporters,” said another journalist. “The more tools we have, the more we can document our work.”

 

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Erik Olsen, who is a video journalist, filmmaker and avid drone pilot, tested out his drone during a session with Latin American journalists at our Transparency and Investigative Reporting workshop on the next generation of reporting. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

Top U.S. journalists instruct Transparency and Investigative Reporting Workshop

FULLERTON, Calif. – Top U.S. journalists joined InquireFirst as speakers at our  “Transparency and Investigative Reporting” workshop Feb. 25-March 1, when Latin American journalists traveled to Southern California to attend sessions on fact-checking, in-depth investigative reporting, cyber security and reporting with drones.

Among our speakers were:

  • 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 held the 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.

The workshop equipped 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 also built professional alliances that encourage journalists to conduct cross-border reporting on high-impact regional investigative stories.

 

In Collaboration With


 

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Photos by David Nader/Universidad Casa Grande

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.”

2019 Symposiums

InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker will organize and instruct journalism symposiums in 2019 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.


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July 1, 2019
Lausanne, Switzerland
Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop

The 2019 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop will bring together reporters and editors for a professional development workshop to present practical, hands-on training sessions to sharpen reporting skills on the most pressing science, health and environmental issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Journalists attending the workshop will engage in interactive sessions to discuss subjects such as building international partnerships to enrich science coverage, finding funding for science reporting, and making complex global science, health and environmental stories relevant for local audiences.

Data journalism experts will demonstrate digital tools for making complex data accessible to audiences on a wide range of topics such as biodiversity, climate change, environmental policy and public health. Reporters and editors attending the workshop will discuss techniques for connecting with the global scientific community as well as effective ways of obtaining information from research institutions and organizations.

A special focus of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop will be on establishing a platform to encourage reporters, photographers, videographers and filmmakers to build on professional relationships established during 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists and collaborate across the region to produce in-depth, international reporting on global science stories.


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Graphic design by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

March 31-April 3, 2019
Mexico City, Mexico
Science & Health Journalism Seminar

This seminar will focus on urgent health issues in Latin America such as cancer and diabetes and HIV, as well as public health issues such as resistance to vaccines and sexual and reproductive rights.

More than 40 journalists and health care professionals from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico and Mexico will attend the seminar – our first in Mexico City.

During the March 31-April 3 program, reporters and editors will participate in a high-level, interactive training
session with Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.

Journalists will also meet with Mariana Alvarado, a teaching fellow with Google News Lab in Mexico, Central America and Colombia.  During her session, Alvarado will work with journalists on identifying data bases that contain in-depth information for health and science stories.


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February 25-March 1, 2019
Fullerton, California
Transparency and Investigative Reporting

As reporters across the Western Hemisphere are facing threats to their credibility and to their safety, this workshop organized and directed by InquireFirst for Latin American and Caribbean journalists will offer sessions on investigative reporting and interview techniques, as well as fact-checking, journalism ethics and journalist safety. The workshop, which will be conducted on the California State University, Fullerton campus in Southern California, will provide training on data research and the use of low-cost and no-cost software for investigative reporting.

Latin American journalists have asked us to include content on preparing investigative reports in video formats and for television networks which have special demands because of time limitations and the need for on-camera interviews. Because Cal State Fullerton is home to the regional Univision station, speakers from Univision will work with journalists, as well as hosting a visit to the Univision newsroom.

Many of the sessions will be taught by prominent U.S. journalists, some of whom have been awarded prestigious national awards for their investigative reporting. We anticipate that this 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.


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January 14-18, 2019
Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador
Investigative Journalism and Journalist Safety

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker will travel to Ecuador in January 2019 to instruct a series of workshops on investigative journalism and journalist safety.

Walker will meet with journalists in Guayaquil and in the capital of Quito to lead sessions designed to provide tools and techniques for investigative reporting in areas ranging from corruption and organized crime to environmental investigative journalism.

The workshops will focus on identifying credible sources and fact checking as the backbone of investigative reporting.

During the intensive, two-day sessions, Walker will also discuss safety protocols with Ecuadoran journalists, who have witnessed recent deadly attacks on colleagues investigating organized crime.

Drilling Down on America's Water Supply

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