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EXPOSÉ: America's Investigative Reports
EXPOSÉ 2008 Season
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TIPS FROM THE REPORTERS
When doing stories on government contracts
(From the IRE Resource Center)*

1 Develop a broad and deep network of sources within a department and its agencies to understand the system and get documents.

2 Be persistent in seeking documents.

3 Don't rely only on Freedom of Information requests to get documents.

4 Master the system and the documents within the system. Take a class about a topic if you need to understand it.

5 Don't just skim documents. Read contract documents closely for nuances and problems.

6 Think constantly about how to translate difficult material into stories that people can understand.

7 When working on federal contracts and lobbyists use Web sites such as sopr.senate.gov for looking at Senate lobbyist filings to see contract trends.

8 When backgrounding businesses that are publicly traded and you need to examine corporation filings with the government go to www.sec.gov

*Based on the reporting of Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow, Jr. of The Washington Post for "The High Price of Homeland Security," a series of articles published in 2005 that revealed the fraud, waste and abuse in the billions of dollars worth of contracts for security systems handed out in the wake of 9/11.

Read the original reporting and watch the full Exposé episode about the reporters and their investigation online.


Guide to Investigative Reporting
Download the education guide

Watch full updated episodes online, see additional features, and play segments directly from the site:

 Blame Somebody Else
 An Inside Job
 Crisis Mismanagement
 Nice Work If You Can Get It

Request a printed copy of the Exposé Guide & DVD, while supplies last, by contacting us at:

guiderequest@thirteen.org.

Please specify the program title EXPOSÉ in the subject line and be sure to include your complete mailing address.

Essays
Essays
Tips From Reporters
Tips From Reporters
Resources
Resources