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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. …

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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  • 1. Business Journalists as Investigators Raquel Rutledge Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Reynolds Business Journalism Week Jan. 2, 2014
  • 2. Where to look? •  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs
  • 3. Where to look? •  Tips from sources, beats, obscure pubs •  Make it easy for readers and whistleblowers to send in leads
  • 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. When to bite •  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected?
  • 6. When to bite •  Assess scope of problem How many might be affected? •  Is there a local angle? Broader potential?
  • 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. 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. 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. “Shattered Trust” 2011 Barlett & Steele Awards video
  • 11. “Shattered Trust” •  Started with small story about lawsuit involving a company near Milwaukee
  • 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. “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. “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. Cashing in on Kids: The story behind the story