Thursday, September 23, 2010

Watchdog Reporting Workshop for Bloggers, Citizen Journalists, and Activists

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting is piloting a powerful one-day training program for citizen journalists, bloggers, and others who want to learn the secrets and tools of professional investigative reporters. It will be held Saturday, October 16th, from 9 to 5 on the campus of Boston University. The session will be taught by Joe Bergantino and Maggie Mulvihill, seasoned, award winning reporters. A full course description and information on our organization appear below. Registration is limited to 20. The cost for this pilot session is $200. To register contact

What would you learn?
At the conclusion of this training you would know:

  • The Big Picture: How to do excellent investigative journalism with limited time and experience. What resources to use. The importance of knowing and using freedom of information laws. Types of stories and investigations that can be done.
  • Using Freedom of Information and Open Records Laws: How to use federal and state laws. How to write an open records request the right way. How to appeal and challenge denials.
  • Effective use of the Internet. What citizen journalists need to know. From better search techniques to the invisible Web, how to find documents and databases, and where to find reliable Web sites that can help you dig deep. The craft of better searching and not wasting time. Handling issues of credibility and ethics online.
  • Creating Paper and database trails. How to find and get documents and data you need for any topic.
  • Dissecting a Business or Non-Profit organization. How to investigate a large or small corporation or non-profit. Where to find information when tracking a company or organization, both in person and online and the key documents to examine.
  • The Art of the Interview. The best ways to approach sources as well as prepare for and handle the interview process. Advice for conducting video interviews for your Web site. Plenty of tips and strategies for handling tough situations, ethical trouble-spots, etc.
  • Computer-Assisted Reporting Hands-on training on using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to analyze specific databases for trends and story ideas.

Who is NECIR?

Democracy depends on a vigorous, free press. As citizens we need reliable, objective and independent information to sustain the common ground of facts we stand on to debate and decide our critical issues. The economics of corporate media can no longer meet this need. The digital revolution has too often left us with too much information and too little trusted common knowledge.

In response to this situation The New England Center for Investigative Reporting, (, a grass roots not-for-profit news organization, was founded by two veteran investigative journalists - Joe Bergantino and Maggie Mulvihill. Our goal is to arm citizens with the information needed to fully participate in the democratic process. NECIR has been working successfully on two major priorities: researching, writing and widely distributing investigative news stories that serve the public interest, and training the next generation of investigative reporters and citizen journalists. You can learn more about our purpose, progress, and people on our website. (