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.