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.

Meet our new board!

2018-19 Board

Congratulations to our 2018-19 board members! We can’t wait to see all of you next year. We’d love to hear your ideas and feedback for how to keep building SPJ.

Left to right in the photo:

Abby Yimer, secretary/treasurer

Erica Carbajal, social media coordinator

Ally Pruitt, 2017-18 president (she’s graduating!)

Jesus J. Montero, membership/Online News Association coordinator

Lacey Latch, vice president/events coordinator

Carina Smith, president

Find us online:

Twitter and Instagram: @spjonadepaul

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spjonadepaul/

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.

Diversity in War Reporting Panel: Wednesday, March 4

Diversity in War Reporting Flier

Join SPJ/ONA DePaul and our panel of experts for a conversation on war reporting and conflict-zone news coverage. Panelists will discuss issues including:

  • The controversy surrounding NBC “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams
  • How to navigate language and cultural barriers during foreign correspondence
  • Safety measures while reporting in conflict zones

Panelists:

  • 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
  • Alexandra Halaby, senior contributing editor and spokesperson at the International Middle East Media Center
  • Cornell Wilson, attorney, community advocate and United States Marine Corps veteran
  • Alex Rodriguez, Chicago Tribune Nation/World and Global Connections Editor

Moderator: Chris Bury, Al Jazeera America correspondent and DePaul University senior journalist in residence

This event is free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #SPJWDP

Freedom of Information Request Workshop

You’ve probably heard of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but do you know how to file a request?

“The FOIA has compelled federal agencies to yield millions of documents relating to government operations and performance,” according to SPJ’s website. “Every week, a news organization, scholar or public-interest group somewhere reports information of significance to public health or safety or good governance — based on material gleaned from FOIA requests.”

Join SPJ/ONA DePaul for a FOIA workshop with the Better Government Association. This event is free and open to both members and non-members.

  • When: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Where: 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room 1128

Email us at with questions or concerns. See you soon!FOIA Workshop

SPJ/ONA DePaul Wins Outstanding Campus Chapter Award

The 2014-2015 SPJ/ONA Executive Board, from left to right: Sadé Carpenter: Social Media & PR Coordinator, Stephanie Wade: Vice President/Events, Rima Mandwee: Secretary/Treasurer, Brianna Kelly: 2013-2014 President, Jenna Duddleston: Membership Coordinator, Emily Brosious: Current President

The 2014-2015 SPJ/ONA Executive Board, from left to right: Sadé Carpenter: Social Media & PR Coordinator, Stephanie Wade: Vice President/Events, Rima Mandwee: Secretary/Treasurer, Brianna Kelly: 2013-2014 President, Jenna Duddleston: Membership Coordinator, Emily Brosious: Current President (Photo/Mike Reilley)

SPJ/ONA DePaul received the Region 5 Outstanding Campus Chapter Award at the 2014 Excellence in Journalism (EIJ) Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. This is their third win in four years.

The organization was honored for its inventive programming during the 2013-2014 academic year, including a Women in Sports Journalism panel and web coding workshop with Andy Boyle of the Chicago Tribune. The chapter also presented a social media training for students at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School.

The chapter also organized a Free Speech Wall to celebrate Constitution Day, in which DePaul students exercised their First Amendment rights by sharing uncensored advice, opinions and thoughts. Past president Brianna Kelly and Secretary/Treasurer Rima Mandwee presented a workshop on September 5, 2014 at the EIJ conference with organizational tips for other campus and professional chapters.

2013-2014 E-board president Brianna Kelly (left) and Secretary/Treasurer Rima Mandwee (right) display the award. (Photo/Mike Reilley)

Brianna Kelly (left) and Rima Mandwee (right) display the award. (Photo/Mike Reilley)

SPJ/ONA DePaul was also a finalist for the National Campus Chapter of the Year Award, which they won in 2011 and 2013.