in Houston, Texas
Sunday, Aug 24, 2008, 11:20AM CST

Watchdog Training for You

Texas Watchdog offers training tailored to the needs of bloggers, citizen-journalists, activists and journalism students. Training is well-suited for those who have an interest in learning the tools that reporters use, an enthusiasm for shedding light on government and a healthy skepticism of the promises of politicians and bureaucrats.

Trainees learn investigative journalism skills: crafting a public records request, effective interviewing, using and presenting multimedia, developing sources, understanding libel law and legal issues and other skills.

For information on our training programs, call Lee Ann O’Neal at 713-980-9777 or e-mail

Trent TV

Trent TV is an interactive webinar for bloggers, citizen-journalists, activists and journalists. Topics range from investigating political candidates' backgrounds to examining transportation in your town. The sessions focus heavily on the ways public records can be used to produce original local reporting. Trent TV is free, open to the public, and offered via

Group training

For those who want training but need a flexible time commitment, Texas Watchdog offers two-hour to full-day training for groups. This service is ideal for working adults with an interest in journalism and a natural curiosity about the workings of government.

We teach investigative journalism techniques such as filing a public records request, using Texas’ open meetings law, interviewing techniques and other skills.

Citizen-journalists and activists care deeply about their communities, and many already have the instincts of an investigative journalist. But they may want to know more about the proven tools paid journalists use. That’s where Texas Watchdog can help.

Texas Watchdog can customize training to meet the needs of an individual or group. Our training is suitable for conferences and established civic and activist groups who already meet regularly.

Training participants should expect to take away tangible skills that can be applied immediately to their blogs, Web sites, or other research projects.

One-on-one help

Texas Watchdog's staff is available to help bloggers, citizen-journalists and activists who are trying to shed light on the workings of their government. Texas Watchdog staff has particular expertise in filing and following up on public records requests, but is also well-versed in multimedia tools, database crunching, maps and Google mashups, and reporting and writing for the Web.

Call 713-980-9777 or e-mail

Why is this important now?

-With a decline in newsroom jobs and an increasing number of newspaper buyouts, taxpayers and voters are losing their government watchdogs – which have traditionally been mainstream media reporters.

You can help by joining a new generation of watchdogs.

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