EIJ Day 3: Investigative Journalism and Podcasts

We’re sharing highlights from the Excellence in Journalism national conference. Follow @spjonadepaul on Twitter for more journalism news and tips!

By Lacey Latch

On the final day of EIJ 2018, investigative journalists convened to discussed the fairly recent transition of in-depth reporting in “Through Earbuds: Investigative Journalism and Podcasts.” Led by Nicole Vap, the director of Investigative Journalism at 9NEWS in Denver, the panel included Sarah Delia, reporter and host of the podcast “She Says,” which follows a sexual assault case in North Carolina, and Amber Hunt, host of “Accused” which investigates an unsolved murder.

Below, I have compiled a list of recommended investigative journalism podcasts to inspire the next generation of podcasting reporters:

WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune dive deep into the trial of Chicago police officer Jason van Dyke in the killing of Laquan McDonald in 2014. With background and context explained, reporters follow each day of the high-profile trial and experts give their take on the historic event.

Season one follows the abduction case of Jacob Wetterling, which remained unsolved for nearly three decades due largely to a mishandled police investigation. APM Reports further explains how the notorious child abduction case fueled national anxiety and led to the creation of the nation-wide sex-offender registry.

The Center for Investigative Reporting consists of a team of talented multimedia reporters that consistently create impressive podcasts that tell important stories and hold the powerful accountable.

The award-winning podcast, created by the people behind “This American Life,” is hosted by Sarah Koenig, wherein she tells one true story each season. Season one looks into a murder trial in Baltimore in which an innocent man might have been convicted.

EIJ Day 2: Bad News Writing

We’re sharing highlights from the Excellence in Journalism national conference. Follow @spjonadepaul on Twitter for more journalism news and tips!

By Erica Carbajal

On day two in Baltimore for EIJ 2018, the “Bad News Writing: The no good, the bad and the ugly” session led by radio journalist Christopher Cruise served as a good reminder for fellow journalists in the room: write like you talk.

The breakout session started off by highlighting the “strange” ways we as reporters often talk and write, and how it’s almost like its own language. The audience poked fun at this while watching the “How a local news anchor makes a phone call” video by feature reporter, Kate Welshofer. The crowd laughed and nodded along in agreement at the exaggerated pronunciation and change in tone, recognizing Welshofer’s demonstration of news reporter speaking style in themselves.

Cruise’s presentation then transitioned into the overused phrases and journalism cliches that can be seen in almost any local newscast. “What does an ‘area resident’ mean?” Cruise asked, “Why don’t we just say ‘local resident’?” and the audience laughed in agreement. His favorite though, is “local hospital.” Cruise said he sees this in almost every script that comes across his desk. His simple solution is to write like you talk. “Just say ‘hospital,'” Cruise said, reminding everyone that no viewer or reader will assume a victim was taken to a hospital hours away.

My personal favorite phrase that I hear often, particularly on broadcast news, was “brutal gang rape.” Cruise said “Is there any other kind of gang rape?” reminding members of the field to avoid fillers and tell a story similar to the way you really talk, while maintaining balance and professionalism, of course.

Cruise convinced us to always consult the “Overused Phrase List” when in doubt, and to never reference tragedies as “terrible” again.

Diversity in War Reporting Panel Recap

Panelists spoke about their experiences during a discussion about diversity in war reporting. (Left to right: Alex Quade, Jackie Spinner, Alex Rodriguez, Cornell Wilson, Moderator Chris Bury)

Panelists (seated) spoke about their experiences during a discussion about diversity in war reporting. (Left to right: Alex Quade, Jackie Spinner, Alex Rodriguez, Cornell Wilson, moderator Chris Bury)

An audience of more than 30 students and journalism professionals joined SPJ/ONA DePaul and an expert panel for a discussion on war reporting last Wednesday evening.

Panelists fielded questions from SPJ/ONA DePaul’s executive board as well as questions from the audience. Chris Bury, DePaul’s senior journalist in residence and award-winning broadcast journalist, moderated the event.

Audience members listen to discussion.

Audience members listen to discussion.

Panelists included:

  • Alex Quade, award-winning war reporter and documentary filmmaker
  • Jackie Spinner, journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago and correspondent for the Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project
  • Cornell Wilson, attorney, community advocate and United States Marine Corps veteran
  • Alex Rodriguez, Chicago Tribune Nation/World and Global Connections Editor

Alexandra Halaby, senior contributing editor and spokesperson at the International Middle East Media Center, was prepared to join the panel via Skype, but could not due to technical difficulties.

President Emily Brosious sets up camera to record event.

SPJ/ONA DePaul president Emily Brosious sets up camera to film event.

Audience members live-tweeted the conversation using the Twitter hashtag #SPJWDP.

Freedom of Information Workshop Recap

Matt Topic, BGA outside counsel, presents to the workshop attendees. (photo/Emily Brosious)

Matt Topic, BGA outside counsel, presents to the workshop attendees. (photo/Emily Brosious)

DePaul students and members of the Chicago community joined us and the Better Government Association (BGA) last Wednesday to learn about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and how to use it for reporting. Attorney Matt Topic explained what the FOIA covers, what it doesn’t, and how to file a request with government agencies. He also shared steps for appealing a denied request.

SPJ/ONA DePaul Presents LinkedIn Workshop

DePaul Career Specialist Michael Elias joined SPJ/ONA for a workshop on best practices for LinkedIn. Participants had the chance to work on their profiles while learning new tips and tricks for networking and ultimately getting a great internship or job. Check out these photos from the event.

LinkedIn Workshop & Free Headshots Tuesday, Nov. 11

So you have a LinkedIn account, but do you know how to use it? Join SPJ/ONA DePaul to go beyond the basics.

Communication Career Specialist Michael Elias will show attendees how to take advantage of LinkedIn’s networking opportunities to snag a job.

2013-2014 SPJ/ONA President Brianna Kelly will also be on site taking free headshots. You’ll leave with new tips for maximizing your LinkedIn presence as well as a high-quality portrait.

LinkedIn Flier

When: Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014

Where: Daley Building, Room 1130 – 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604

Time: 4 to 5:45 p.m.

See you there!