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Posts Tagged ‘Center for Investigative Reporting’

The CIR Is On It: Telling the Story of Solitary Confinement for Teens Over, and Over, and Over Again

CIR the boxThis week, the Center for Investigative Reporting released a print story, a short animation, and a photo essay about solitary confinement for adolescents in the U.S. prison system. That’s in addition to a NewsHour and a public radio piece released last month and to a yet unreleased half hour documentary and graphic novel. By the end of the month, there will be around 10 pieces of the adolescent solitary confinement story circling you on one form of media or another.

It’s enough to make you rethink what you’ve been reporting on all year. CIR reporters Daffodil Altan and Trey Bundy started over a year ago trying to gain access into prisons and report on conditions for teens. Altan says that the access issues surrounding the story seemed “almost insurmountable” at a certain point. Instead of being deterred, they pressed on and worked on thinking of different ways to handle the content. Says Altan:

We started of thinking of ways to tell the story even though we were dealing with essentially invisible sights. That’s  where the idea for the animation came up. We had met this very compelling young man in New York who told us about his experience at Rikers very powerfully and we had all this tape of him…we decided to try to take 3 hours of interview and see if we could carve that into something smaller and with a narrative arc.

And so the reporting team of two or three turned into a team of somewhere around 15-20, according to Bundy. Bundy says that as they are reporting they’re “always having conversations about what else we can do besides what we’ve already settled on.” In this case, there was a written story in mind, with photos to boot. But a colleague who acts as a liaison between the CIR and KQED “heard radio all over this,” says Bundy. When New York State started talking about banning the practice of solitary confinement for teenagers, NewsHour suddenly wanted the story sooner. “That wasn’t always supposed to be the first piece that was released on this,” Bundy adds. Having the story told across platforms means you reach more people. Says Bundy, “There’s some overlap between people who listen to public radio or watch NewsHour, or read Medium, but it’s not total overlap. The benefit of having multiple platforms is that you are going to catch multiple, different types of audiences, hopefully.”

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

The (Digital) Radio Star Lives: PRX Launches Podcast Network for Story-Driven Journalism

radiotopia finalThis week, PRX announced the launch of Radiotopia, a podast network for story-driven journalism, backed in part by a $200,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX, likens Radiotopia to an independent music label:

The analogy works in two ways. We’re trying to create a collective around a particular sound and approach in style so these artists, essentially, share an affinity for story driven, high quality audio inspired by public radio but designed for digital listening. And then role that the label ends up playing is one of marketing, distribution, promotion, sponsorship… and experiment with editorial collaboration, crowdfunding and so forth.

PRX has built mobile apps for podcasts such as This American Life,  The Moth, among many others, and plans on using Radiotopia to continue to learn and implement some ideas gained from their experience. Says Shapiro:

We are very interested in creating a feedback loop that gains from those insights and data and help improve not only PRX’s own tools for distribution and tactics but also becomes information that producers can start to use about better serving their audience. Radio for decades has honed ways of producing a broadcast, but in the world of producing for mobile listeners, we are still in very early days.

It may be early days, but story-driven journalism is certainly having a moment on the radio and in podcast form. And, unlike in print or on television, it’s somehow easier to make investigative journalism entertaining for broader audiences. Shapiro says exploring that space is inherent in PRX’s mission:

There’s a spot between making sure that we’re doing informative, mission driven journalism but still aiming for a broad audience with something thats extremely engaging and high quality and entertaining and well produced…it’s about finding that spot.  Read more

Knight Foundation, Investigative News Network Supports Nonprofit News with Micro-grants

If not for enterprising and investigative-minded journalists, the recent George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal in New Jersey might never have been brought to light.

INN picSame goes for that stubborn NY1 reporter, whose recent relentless questioning of Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm about campaign finance irregularities led to an on-air blowup that revealed the congressman as something of a bully. Read more

Still Making Summer Plans? Deadline Nears For Google’s Journalism Fellowship

It’s the time of year when young journalists start hearing back about their internship applications or perhaps getting worried if they haven’t heard back yet.

googleIf you haven’t already received and accepted an offer and made your summer plans, you still have some time to apply for one of the coolest opportunities available this summer: the Google Journalism Fellowship. But not much time — the deadline is this week.

This isn’t your typical summer internship, though. It’s something more immersive, more data-centric and, honestly, sounds more fun. They’re looking for journalism students who have already demonstrated proficiency and interest in digital projects and technologies, but the desired skills and interests are pretty reasonable for j-school students these days. Here’s how they describe the gig:

The program is aimed at undergraduate, graduate and journalism students interested in using technology to tell stories in new and dynamic ways. The Fellows will get the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to a variety of organizations — from those that are steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age. There will be a focus on data driven journalism, online free expression and rethinking the business of journalism.

And they will pay the fellows $8,000 (plus a travel stipend) for 10 weeks, from June through August, to work at one of these journalism organizations:

  • Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Investigative Reporters & Editors
  • Nieman Journalism Lab
  • Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project
  • Poynter
  • PRI.org
  • ProPublica
  • Sunlight Foundation
  • Texas Tribune

This application is due Friday, January 31… So, um, why are you wasting time?! Apply here.

So Many Digital First ‘News’ Outlets, So Little Investigative Reporting

The 2014 duPont Award Winners from Alfred I. duPont Awards on Vimeo.

The winners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards were announced this week, and though they are given for broadcast, radio,  and multimedia reporting, it’s sort of surprising that more digital projects weren’t awarded a coveted silver — or even gold — baton. Read more

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