Business Journalists as
Investigators

Raquel Rutledge
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Reynolds Business Journalism Week
Jan. 2...
Where to look?

•  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs
Where to look?

•  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs
•  Make it easy for readers and
whistleblowers to send in leads
Where to look?

•  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs
•  Make it easy for readers and
whistleblowers to send in leads
...
When to bite
•  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected?
When to bite
•  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected?
•  Is there a local angle? Broader potential?
When to bite
•  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected?
•  Is there a local angle? Broader potential?
•  What ...
When to bite
•  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected?
•  Is there a local angle? Broader potential?
•  What ...
When to bite
•  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected?
•  Is there a local angle? Broader potential?
•  What ...
“Shattered Trust”

2011 Barlett & Steele Awards video
“Shattered Trust”
•  Started with small story about lawsuit
involving a company near Milwaukee
“Shattered Trust”
•  Started with small story about lawsuit
involving a company near Milwaukee
•  Had many insiders tellin...
“Shattered Trust”
•  Started with small story about lawsuit
involving a company near Milwaukee
•  Had many insiders tellin...
“Shattered Trust”
•  Started with small story about lawsuit
involving a company near Milwaukee
•  Had many insiders tellin...
Cashing in on Kids: The story behind the story
Business journalists as investigators | Raquel Rutledge
Business journalists as investigators | Raquel Rutledge
Business journalists as investigators | Raquel Rutledge
Business journalists as investigators | Raquel Rutledge
Business journalists as investigators | Raquel Rutledge
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Business journalists as investigators | Raquel Rutledge

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Raquel Rutledge, an investigative reporter from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, welcomed the 2014 Reynolds Week fellows with a discussion on finding and working great investigative stories.

Rutledge won the silver award in 2011's Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Journalism.

“A Case of Shattered Trust” by Raquel Rutledge and Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel received the silver award of $2,000. The series revealed how a firm with a decade of serious regulatory violations of sanitary conditions was allowed to operate while the Food and Drug Administration did nothing. As a result of the stories, the FDA revealed the name of the bacterium that it found in the manufacturer’s contaminated alcohol wipes. Following a permanent federal injunction against the firm, the product is no longer manufactured.

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Business journalists as investigators | Raquel Rutledge

  1. 1. Business Journalists as Investigators Raquel Rutledge Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Reynolds Business Journalism Week Jan. 2, 2014
  2. 2. Where to look? •  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs
  3. 3. Where to look? •  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs •  Make it easy for readers and whistleblowers to send in leads
  4. 4. Where to look? •  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs •  Make it easy for readers and whistleblowers to send in leads •  Play off breaking news events
  5. 5. When to bite •  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected?
  6. 6. When to bite •  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected? •  Is there a local angle? Broader potential?
  7. 7. When to bite •  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected? •  Is there a local angle? Broader potential? •  What data are available?
  8. 8. When to bite •  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected? •  Is there a local angle? Broader potential? •  What data are available? •  Outrage factor. Do any of the facts make your jaw drop? Is it surprising?
  9. 9. When to bite •  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected? •  Is there a local angle? Broader potential? •  What data are available? •  Outrage factor. Do any of the facts make your jaw drop? Is it surprising? •  Can you prove it with documents and people on the record?
  10. 10. “Shattered Trust” 2011 Barlett & Steele Awards video
  11. 11. “Shattered Trust” •  Started with small story about lawsuit involving a company near Milwaukee
  12. 12. “Shattered Trust” •  Started with small story about lawsuit involving a company near Milwaukee •  Had many insiders telling of filthy conditions. Caution: employees sometimes carry baggage
  13. 13. “Shattered Trust” •  Started with small story about lawsuit involving a company near Milwaukee •  Had many insiders telling of filthy conditions. Caution: employees sometimes carry baggage •  Accountability angle with FDA. Got decade worth of inspection data. Used names
  14. 14. “Shattered Trust” •  Started with small story about lawsuit involving a company near Milwaukee •  Had many insiders telling of filthy conditions. Caution: employees sometimes carry baggage. •  Accountability angle with FDA. Got decade's worth of inspection data. Used names •  Married investigative with narrative
  15. 15. Cashing in on Kids: The story behind the story
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