Being a student at a 1000+ people conference full of industry professionals can be an intimidating experience.
Based on an unofficial survey, there were roughly 30 college students at the conference from schools around the US, Canada and Denmark. Their majors ranged from journalism and communication to statistics and computer science. While students were merely a small percentage of the conference, IRE and its vibrant CAR community seemed eager to enable and support each budding journalists as they grow.
In an effort to cater specifically to the interests of the students, the conference held a couple special events specifically for students:
CAR 2014 Knight Scholars
IRE received funding from the Knight Foundation to sponsor students interested in investigative and computer-assisted reporting to attend NICAR. Scholars connected with other students with similar interest and got tips on how to navigate the conference from industry mentors and the IRE staff. The scholarship is a great opportunity to create a community for student journalists who are looking to break into the field. The scholarship will be available for at least the coming three years, so students who are interested in CAR should keep their eyes out for it.
Student Brown Bag: What do you mean I can’t have that public record?
For students more interested in investigative reporting, IRE hosted a student brown bag providing advice on how to deal with legal problems with public records. Jill Riepenhoff from The Columbus Dispatch, Tyler Dukes from WRAL News and Adam Goldstein, Attorney Advocate for the Student Press Law Center in Arlington provided strategies to deal with student-privacy laws and real-life examples.
#Unsession for (and by) Young'uns
ProPublica's Sisi Wei and New York Times' Jeremy Merrill organized an unsession to help students break into the field and get internships or jobs. The informal and peer-to-peer session provided a safe space for students to feel like there are no questions too stupid to ask. Students got to connect with recent graduates who have gotten jobs and get some inside tips on how to get hired.
Every year New York Times' Chrys Wu curates 'Slides, Links & Tutorials' from the annual CAR conference: 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011. They are a fantastic resource for all journalists and investigators of all skill levels.