2012 Drilling Deep Investigative Reporting Workshop: Oklahoma City

Special to SABEW

Reporter-experts in the coverage of energy were featured at a July 13 SABEW investigative reporting workshop at the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City.

Brian Grow of Reuters, Margot Habiby of Bloomberg and Elizabeth Souder of The Dallas Morning News will be featured at the one-day “Drilling Deep” workshop, sponsored by SABEW with special funding from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

The all-day program was free for SABEW members. Non-members paid $35, for which they received a one-year individual SABEW membership valued at $55. Lunch was provided by The Oklahoman.

The program focused on what it takes to produce a successful investigative endeavor from start to finish — with an emphasis on coverage of the energy industry — from several top performers in this field.

“Energy remains one of the biggest stories out there. New exploration with oil sands, controversial natural gas exploration and manipulation in the markets are top business stories,” said Marty Steffens (right), workshop coordinator, who serves as the SABEW chair at the University of Missouri.  “Energy touches every business — and is a major consumer story, too.  We are bringing in top reporters to share their wisdom on how to do top-shelf in-depth and investigative reporting.”

The workshop was one of four conducted this year through a SABEW grant from the Ethics and Ethics in Journalism Foundation.  The foundation, based in Oklahoma City, made a $25,000 award as part of a series of grants to 19 journalism organizations nationwide.


To see materials and Powerpoint presentations provided by the speakers, please click here.


Presenters included:

Angel Gonzalez has been Houston bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires since January 2009, where he helps lead U.S. coverage of the energy industry for Dow Jones’ real-time news service. Before that he was a reporter for the Seattle Times, starting in 2007, where he covered biotechnology and alternative energy. He also reported for Al Dia, the Spanish-language publication of The Dallas Morning News. The holder of master’s degrees in both journalism and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, Gonzalez is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and wsj.com, and was part of The Wall Street Journal team that was a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist for coverage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gonzalez talks about what it takes to properly cover the oil industry in this two-minute video that was produced by the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business Journalism.


Brian Grow is a special enterprise correspondent based in Atlanta. He joined Reuters in September 2010 as a senior staff writer covering legal affairs. He has been working with recently worked with fellow Reuters reporter Anna Driver on coverage of the ongoing turmoil surrounding Chesapeake energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.  Prior to Reuters, Brian was the project director for business and financial investigations at The Center for Public Integrity in Washington, where he investigated FHA mortgage lending with The Washington Post, and litigation finance with The New York Times. From 2004 to 2009, Brian reported for BusinessWeek, covering retail, airlines, cyber-security and immigration, then joined the investigations team, where he wrote about the business of poverty, the buying and selling of delinquent debt, cyber-warfare and click fraud. Those and other stories won 18 awards in recent years.


Elizabeth Souder is a Dallas native who began covering the energy industry for The Dallas Morning News in 2005. She earned degrees in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and then worked for Dow Jones Newswires in New York and Frankfurt, Germany. Souder has been published in The Wall Street Journal and has appeared on CNBC. She’s fluent in German.




Margot Habiby covers crude oil futures and energy market options for Bloomberg News, based in Dallas. Prior to joining Bloomberg in 2000, she covered energy issues for five years at Dow Jones newswires, based in the Middle East, New York and California, where she focused on deregulation of the market. An Oklahoma native, she’s a graduate of the University of Oklahoma in journalism and political science. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University.



Phillip O’Connor recently joined the investigative reporting team at The Oklahoman. From 2000 to 2012 he was a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covering homeland security and immigration. Previously, he was a reporter for The Kansas City Star. He is a member of Military Reporters & Editors and has received numerous awards including ones from the Missouri Press Association, Heart of America Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Knight Ridder James K. Batten Excellence Award. O’Connor has a bachelor of science degree in radio and television from Kansas State University.


Steven Rich is a second-year graduate student studying investigative journalism at the University of Missouri. He is working on the data team of USA Today, and is a part-time developer for DocumentCloud.org. He will work with CNN-Money on data analysis and visualization this fall. At USA Today, Steven is working on creating a Java-based interactive map template while scraping the web to create databases of information and write stories that are driven by data and documents. Steven has done work for Investigative Reporters and Editors as a data analyst. There, he helped maintain databases and clean new ones for use across the country. His work has also appeared in The New York Times and the Roanoke Times. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech.


About the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, was established in 1982 by Edith Kinney Gaylord. The Foundation’s mission is to invest in the future of journalism by building the ethics, skills and opportunities needed to advance principled, probing news and information. The Foundation does so through contributions to media institutions and journalism schools nationwide, primarily in areas of youth education, professional development, ethics and investigative reporting.



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