In San Francisco right now there are more Pulitzer and Peabody winners assembled than you can count.
Scores of award-winning journalists have gathered in the Bay Area at the annual conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors, which starts today.
On panels and in hallway conversations, legendary investigative reporters such as Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times and Brian Ross of ABC News will generously share tips and techniques to help spread watchdog reporting and storytelling skills. The beneficiaries of this knowledge will be hundreds of young journalists and students attending the conference for the first time, as well as veterans in the crowd seeking inspiration and guidance. A record crowd of more than 1,500 is expected.
The annual conference is probably the best training event in the industry, which is why I have made sure to attend every conference this century. I credit everything I know about investigative journalism to IRE and all the mentors and friends who have shared their wisdom with me.
So it’s with great pride that The Center for Investigative Reporting is playing the role of co-host of this week’s conference with our friends at NBC Bay Area.
We’re thrilled to have played a role in bringing the conference back to California for the first time in more than a decade. CIR typically sends a good contingent every year to the conference. But this year, the location is allowing us to send virtually everyone.
We have 20 CIR staffers speaking on panels ranging from covering veterans to getting sources to tell you things they might not be inclined to share. About 20 more staffers and interns will be in the audience soaking up as much as they can at the more than 200 panels, workshops and hands-on classes that extend until Sunday morning.
This weekend also marks a coming-out party of sorts for our new investigative radio show, “Reveal.” Our third hourlong pilot will begin airing Saturday on public radio stations across the country. The latest episode features new investigative stories reported by CIR’s Aaron Glantz and G.W. Schulz. And we collaborated closely with the Center for Public Integrity’s David Heath to produce the lead segment. At IRE, we will have an exhibit booth to answer questions about “Reveal.” We are eager to partner with investigative reporters and producers to help showcase their important work. So this will be an opportunity to get the word out about our new show. We hope to begin airing it weekly in early 2015.
On Saturday, one of CIR’s founders, the legendary Lowell Bergman, will deliver the keynote address at IRE’s awards luncheon. Bergman has been a true pioneer. The proliferation of nonprofit investigative news operations began with him. He also blazed trails in getting print and broadcast outlets to work together and in deploying university journalism students to produce successful investigative projects in collaboration with larger news outlets.
I can’t wait to get back to work next week to begin applying what I’m about to learn.