Watching Reporting will focus on how to obtain important documents and aggressively pursue stories that make a difference in the lives of your readers. Panelists will include Rachel George of the StarNews in Wilmington, N.C., and Jodi Upton of USA Today.

George won first place in APSE’s 2009 investigative reporting contest for a series of stories that revealed major structural problems with a local high’s field house, causing its athletic teams to use mobile trailers for locker rooms. The building was eventually condemned because of George’s persistent reporting (she examined more than 700 pages of documents), and the school board ultimately approved $756,000 in funds to renovate the building.

Upton was the editor for a comprehensive examination of college football head coaching compensation that was published under the headline: “Pay Booms In Hard Times”. While many schools were cutting funds for education, this series reported that athletic budgets continued to grow unabated. Open-record requests were used to gather information on more than 120 Division I schools. In numerous cases, the documents revealed information on compensation that had not previously been announced by the schools. The series also included information about high-ranking assistant coaches receiving large salaries and multi-year contracts.

Both George and Upton will explain how they got their stories, how to effectively file freedom of information requests and offer tips on how to pursue watchdog journalism in markets both large and small.

The deadline for the $200 registration fee is June 1, and APSE members should have received registration forms and a listing of social activities in the mail. If you have not, e-mail Executive Director Jack Berninger at jackapse@aol.com or at 804-741-1565.

In a change from past years, one registration fee allows multiple people from your organization to attend. Register for the hotel, the Marriott City Center, by calling 877-907-4491. The group code is APS (no E).

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