By Adil James, MMNS
Detroit–October 10-11–Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), together with New America Media (an ethnic media advocacy and organizing body) and Wayne State University, conducted a training session this past weekend to help ethnic media reporters improve their reporting skills.
Investigative Reporters and Editors is according to its own website a â€œgrassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting.â€ It was formed in 1975 to provide a forum for journalists around the world to help each other by sharing story ideas, newsgathering techniques and news sources.
IREâ€™s mission is to foster excellence in investigative journalism by providing training, resources and a community of supportto investigative journalists, promoting high professional standards, protecting the rights of investigative journalists, and ensuring the future of IRE.
The session covered investigative aspects of current hot topics such as tracking stimulus spending, covering immigration, developing sources, going deeper into issues, using technology and new tools to connect with your audience, and covering education and youth issues.
The session began with a brief introduction of the participants, then each of the substantive subjects was delved into by the professional reporters who were present, including Manny Garcia of the Miami Herald, Antonio Olivo of the Chicago Tribune, Bankole Thompson of The Michigan Chronicle, Andrew Humphrey of WDIV Detroit, Michael Grabell of ProPublica, and Chastity Pratt Dawsey of the Detroit Free Press.
Suzanne Manneh and Aaron Glantz of New America Media were in attendance at the event, and IRE was respresented by Doug Haddix.
Ms. Manneh said of the event that a part of the purpose was to help media outlets â€œreach out more to their own readership,â€ and she said the IRE reporter trainers at the event spoke about connecting to sources by establishing a trust relationship with someone either in city hall or in community organizations.
About 15 different media outlets were present, including Arab media, Latino media, African American media, and Asian media.
Manny Garcia of the Miami Herald, one of the eventâ€™s trainers, spoke about his previous experience of being a successful salesman and the importance of continuous contact with potential buyers and also with potential sources.
One of the main benefits of the meeting was developing the feeling in the relatively small ethnic media outlets of a sense of brotherhood with the much larger and more established traditional newspapers, and a sense of shared struggle and work.