The Storyteller as an Investigator: How to Turn a Tip into an Investigation

This Webinar was originally broadcast on:
October 23, 2013 Enroll Now
Watch and listen to the original one-hour Webinar in its entirety. This Webinar recording features the full presentation led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty including Q&A from the audience and resources from the presenter.

Course Overview

The Storyteller as an Investigator: How to Turn a Tip into an Investigation
This $29.95 Webinar is free, thanks to the support of the Livingston Awards.
Originally Broadcast On:
October 23, 2013
Time Estimate:
One hour for the main presentation and questions. Sometimes presenters stay longer to answer additional questions from participants.

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In this virtual classroom, participants can join in a seminar led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty. This screencast includes live audio and a slideshow presentation in which participants can post questions and respond to poll questions posed by the host.

In the fall of 2011, the Tampa Bay Times got a tip about possible abuse at a boys’ military school in a remote part of the Florida panhandle. One year later, the Times published a three-part series about what reporter Alexandra Zayas learned: that children had, for years, been subjected to extreme discipline, bizarre punishments and physical abuse in private, religious group homes across Florida that state child welfare workers did not regulate and had no power to shut down. The series, called “In God’s Name,” led to a statewide crackdown and a new law, won three national awards, including a Livingston Award, and was a finalist in the Pulitzer Prize.

In this Webinar, which is sponsored by the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, Zayas will share the lessons she learned about how to pair storytelling techniques with an investigative mission that delivers stories with impact.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to turn a tip into the foundation of an investigation
  • How to find sources to expose the private and secluded
  • How to adjust the frame of a story for a harder hit
  • How to gain access when you think it’s impossible
  • How to organize mountains of documents and notes into stories
  • How to use narrative techniques for investigative impact
Who Should Take this Course:

Reporters, editors, freelance writers — and anyone who wants to learn to investigate compelling stories.

Course Instructor:

Alexandra Zayas

Alexandra Zayas is a senior editor at ProPublica. She spent 12 years at the Tampa Bay Times, ultimately as the newspaper’s enterprise editor. As a reporter, her investigation into abuse at unlicensed religious children’s homes across Florida won the 2013 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. She has served on the National Advisory Board of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.


The Livingston Awards

The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists and the University of Michigan honor outstanding achievement by professionals under the age of 35 in local, national and international reporting. The largest all-media, general reporting prize in American journalism, the Livingston Awards judge print, broadcast and online entries against one another, a practice of increasing interest as technology blurs the traditional distinctions between the branches of journalism. Many of today's top journalists were recognized by the Livingston Awards early in their career.

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