Notes from IRE '11

Ellie Fields
on June 10, 2011

This week a couple of us traveled to sunny Orlando, Florida for the conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). It’s a great group of skeptical, smart people with slightly dark senses of humor, doing the hard work of keeping governments and others honest, in a time of deep cuts in their own industry.

Talking with journalists is fun and always interesting. David McKie at the CBC showed us some data he had on which countries Canada sells arms to. Kate Golden told us about some fantastic email text analysis she did to track the truthfulness of a politician. Highly statistical (but friendly) folks from the Census bureau showed up, fresh from releasing their 10-year national survey.

After a flurry of training sessions at the data journalist pre-day on Thursday, we all got down to real business: the Party with Your Data Happy Hour.

We learned that journalists are pretty good at emptying a bar. But that's ok, because it’s about time someone bought a journalist a drink.

And of course, there's always a deeper story:

Stats leads to Happy Hour:) “@hollyhacker: Stats panel at 4:50. Happy hour when it's over. Maybe correlation IS causation. #ire11less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply