More than two dozens journalists from throughout the U.S. gathered in Champaign, IL for an intense three-day workshop on covering big agribusiness companies.
The workshop is primarily funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago and hosted by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Sessions were led by agribusiness experts from Midwest universities and top reporters.
The journalists came from large and small newsrooms, both profit and nonprofit, and work in every medium. The workshop received support from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation in Oklahoma and College of Media at the University of Illinois. The Midwest partners with Harvest Public Media and the Investigative Journalism Education Consortium.
For full details, follow this link: http://investigatemidwest.org/training/
Our participants begin to stream in Thursday night for the organized reception kicking off the 2013 Agribusiness Workshop.
Session 1: Tracking the Farm Bill and its Potential Impact
Patrick Westhoff, University of Missouri-Columbia, starts the day by explaining the Farm Bill.
Download Westhoff's Presentation
Session 2: Exploring Biofuels and Ethanol in Agribusiness
Madhu Khanna, University of Illinois, discusses the role and effects of bio-fuels in agribusiness.
Download Khanna's Presentation
Lunch Session: The Business of Feeding the World: Food Insecurity and Agribusiness
Craig Gundersen, University of Illinois, discusses food insecurity during the luncheon.
Session 3: Understanding Crop Insurance
Bruce Sherrick, University of Illinois, discusses the vast complexities of crop insurance.
Presentation Available by Request
Session 4: Tour of the National Soybean Research Laboratory
A private tour organized for the workshop provided journalists with an opportunity to gain a rare behind-the-scenes view into research methodologies at a major research laboratory. The work taking place at the NSRL is largely due to the cutting edge technologies that allow researchers to control nearly every variable.
Nathan Deppe, the plant care facility coordinator for the National Soybean Research Laboratory guided us through a behind-the-scenes view of the various types of research for disease resistance, bio-fuel applications, quarantined greenhouses, and far more than could be listed. Such an amazing tour to see how much effort goes into advancing crop sciences.
Q & A on Friday's Sessions
Brant Houston, University of Illinois, starts the day off with a free-flowing discussion of the events from the day before.
Session 1: Using Food Safety and Inspection Reports for Investigations
Mike McGraw, Kansas City Star, reviews his work on meat processing.
Beef's Raw Edges
Merit System Protection Board
USDA OIG Reports
System Tracking E-coli Positive System (STEPS)
USDA Reports & Data
Food Safety Inspection Recalls
Session 2: Investigating Environmental Issues in Agribusiness
Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group, speaks about investigating environmental issues in agribusiness.
Lunch Session: Living and Working on the Farm
Jaimi Dowdell, Investigative Reporters and Editors, leads a lunchtime discussion with the journalists about growing up and experiencing the farm life.
Third Session: Exposing Abuses in Farm Labor
Miguel C. Keberlein Gutierrez, Legal Assistance Foundation of Greater Chicago, discussing his experiences working with migrant workers in the Midwest.
Fourth Session: Overview of the USDA Inspection System
Doug Powell, Kansas State University, joined the workshop by Skype while in Australia to discuss his observations and research into food safety.
Mark Horvit, Investigative Reporters and Editors, leads a workshop on computer assisted reporting techniques.
Jaimi Dowdell, Investigative Reporters and Editors, leads an advanced class on computer assisted reporting techniques.
Tip Sheets at IRE
Thank you for coming!
We present the fellows and participants of the McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute, "Covering Big Agribusiness in the Heartland" 2013 workshop.
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