Behind The ScenesJournalism

ESPN’s Enterprise Journalism team leads discussions, sharpens skills at Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Conference

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ESPN Enterprise Unit coordinating producers Carolyn Hong and Tim Hays are among the ESPN employees who participated in the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) 2013 Conference in San Antonio last week.

“One of the things I enjoy most about the IRE Conference is the opportunity to be around other journalists and learn and exchange some valuable tips about investigative reporting,” Hong said.

Some of those tips were dispensed by ESPN investigative reporters T.J. Quinn and Michael Fish, who headlined a panel on “Performance-Enhancing Drugs,” and Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steven Fainaru, who led a discussion on “Concussions and Sports.”

“You could see that other journalists were interested in understanding how T.J. and Mike went about developing the stories they have broken related to Tony Bosch and PEDs,” Hong said. “And after the ‘Concussions’ panel, other journalists asked Mark and Steve for advice on how they approach investigating stories.”

The annual four-day event focused on how to practice investigative journalism in print, broadcast, online and alternative newsroom models.

“I enjoyed the panels and learned helpful hints about ‘Coordinating an Investigative Team’ and the importance of planning when editing and storytelling for multiple platforms,” Hays said. “The ‘Google’ panel was one of the most informative — I learned some new tricks that can help us do searches while doing investigations, and some other shortcuts that can make everyday life on Google easier.”

IRE Conference 2013 featured speakers sharing various strategies, including locating documents and gaining access to public records, finding the best stories and managing investigations.

“One interesting panel was on getting skeptical sources to talk, and there were also panels that were helpful to my job as a producer,” Hong said. “Each discussion provided some insight into different approaches by various news organizations.

“Attending a conference like this helped me feel energized about what our Enterprise Unit does,” Hong said. “Hearing the success stories of many fellow journalists reinforced the importance of what we do.”

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