More thoughts about NewsliBlog and the IRE conference

Back in DC:

Pete makes the point I’m thinking we want to make with this blog. I’ve been asked why we would do this when we already have a great communications tool in the Newslib listserv. I question that myself but I think the reason is to post the sort of things that Pete has posted: interesting and useful comments about news we can use or links we might all be interested in. Also: this forum is a bit more public: since I’ve made this a ‘private’ blog so far it isn’t showing up on Blogger’s lists but once Google finds it or people start linking to it any one will be able to find it. So this is more of a forum for news researchers to put information out there that we’d like everyone who’s interested to know about.

And, news from IRE: The Washington committee put together a terrific program. At least one researcher, Margot Williams, was one of the organizers. Examples of what researchers have been able to share in last day or two: A session this morning on using the National Archives, including a tour. I didn’t go on the tour, but maybe someone can contribute some words about that. Also, last night, a very entertaining panel on covering the war and terrorism (and discussion of the NYT’s problems) from Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh, Judy Woodruff, and CBS’s David Martin. This panel alone was worth the price of conference registration. Today at the lunch the speaker was Ben Bradlee, who spellbound the audience with great stories, including the story of his first investigative reporting job, where he climbed out on a ledge on the 11th floor of the Willard Hotel to take notes while police talked a potential jumper down.

There have been some great panels, including a couple with Bartlett and Steele, on finding and using documents in investigative reporting. Hearing great reporters talk about documents — whether old clips or regulatory agency reports — reminds us what our work is all about.

– Liz Donovan, in DC.

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