Investigative Reporters and Editors

December 16, 2011 in Community, Education, Resources, Technology

Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. IRE was formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the world could help each other by sharing story ideas, news gathering techniques and news sources. IRE provides members access to thousands of reporting tip sheets and other materials through its resource center and hosts conferences and specialized training throughout the country.” Source: Investigative Reporters and Editors

IRE’s programs and projects

National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting

“Founded in 1989, NICAR has trained thousands of journalists in the practical skills of finding, prying loose and analyzing electronic information.

NICAR also maintains a library of databases containing government data on a wide array of subjects, including airplane service difficulty reports, storm events, FBI crime data, fatal highway accidents, problems with medical devices and federal contracts awarded to private companies. This is just a short list of the more than 40 datasets in the collection.” Source: IRE



“[IRE’s] ongoing Census project [is] designed to provide journalists with a simpler way to access 2010 Census data so they can spend less time importing and managing the data and more time exploring and reporting the data. The project is the result of work by journalists from the The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, funded through generous support from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.” Source: CensusIRE



“DocumentCloud is a project that uses collaborative methods to host and organize primary-source documents … The project is a software system, website, and set of open standards intended as a tool for investigative reporting, and only news organizations, bloggers and watchdog groups can upload documents there. Its 200-plus contributors include many news organizations as well as other groups such as the ACLU, National Security Archive and Sunlight Foundation. DocumentCloud’s software, however, is open-source, and anyone can view the documents … DocumentCloud’s technology has been used on the websites of such news organizations as PBS, ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune to allow readers to search annotated copies of source documents.” Source: Encyclo

“DocumentCloud was founded in 2009 with a grant from the Knight News Challenge. After two years as an independent nonprofit organization, DocumentCloud became a project of Investigative Reporters and Editors in June of 2011.” Source: DocumentCloud


6 responses to Investigative Reporters and Editors

  1. Journalists, newsrooms and folks working with and/or reporting on public documents are encouraged and welcome to apply for accounts (which are free!)

    DocumentCloud has a list of examples of reporting done using the platform posted here:

    • Hey Ted, glad to see you here! Two things about DocumentCloud

      1. Regarding the bar to participation: “DocumentCloud accounts are all newsroom based. DocumentCloud is available to anyone who reports on primary source documents. For the most part our users are journalists, but if you are doing document based investigative reporting we’d love to have you join us, even if you aren’t a newsroom-based journalist in the conventional sense. If you’re not in a traditional newsroom, please do show us some of your reporting and tell us a little bit about the kind of documents you’re working with.”

      Surely there’s been much discussion about how citizen journalists who want to take a bite on a story but don’t have a track record can participate. I understand there would be problems with allowing just ANYBODY to publish documents to the cloud, but I also wonder if people who have juicy docs decide to not take the extra step to submit to the cloud because they don’t define themselves as Journalists.

    • 2. Wouldn’t it be cool to streamline documents obtained through FOIA assistance services, particularly Muckrock into the cloud? The question would be how to filter the submission process to achieve a high signal to noise ratio so the juicy docs get through and the generally mundane ones don’t (unless you’ve got a well scaled system and good search so that’s not an issue?)

    • Hey Jacob, actually, Muckrock uses DocumentCloud as it’s data store and publishing platform for it’s documents! For example:

    • Excellent! Just discovered a UK version of a service similar to Muckrock that helps with #FOIA requests, called

      Does DocumentCloud host international docs or just US?

    • We host english documents from nations around the world. US, Canada, UK, European, South American nations and more.

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