Friday, June 8, 2012

Why I'm going to next week's Investigative Reporters and Editors meeting

Here's why I'm going to next week's Investigative Reporters and Editors meeting.
1) It's in Boston and so am I.

2) I'm having trouble figuring out a way to do investigative projects as a freelancer. The stories I've pursued just don't fit into the -- I'll pay $100-$2,000-ish you when you're done --model. They take too long and involve too much work. And sometimes, there is no story at the end. So, I either have to find a sponsor, figure out Kickstarter (not a bad idea) or learn how to do quick hits.

3) I use my investigative skill for all sorts of stories, not just big projects, but I've discovered another barrier -- the ever changing world of digitized public records. Usually works to my benefit -- I can crank out a quick report on NIH funding in MA. But sometimes it can feel overwhelming. There's so much out there, it can  be hard to make sense of it all.

4) And, I've found that, here in Massachusetts, state government is way behind on digitizing records. I was told that a year's worth of citations against nurses would costs $800. I was also told that I was making "ridiculous" requests for other regulatory records. Yes, I guess if you have to pull paper, a years worth of licensing data might take a while. But, I was requesting records that I could download in a half-hour in other states. So -- how do I get around that?

5) I need to pick up some tips for my students, about how  multimedia and investigtaive reporting overlap.

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