Marshall Helmberger, publisher and general manager of The Timberjay Newspapers, was a speaker at IRE 2013 in San Antonio. The Investigative Reporters and Editors is an international association of investigative journalists. Over 1,200 members attended the annual conference held June 20-23.
Helmberger was one of four community newspaper reporters that were part of a panel titled “Investigating in a Small Town.” Helmberger spoke about his investigative reporting surrounding Johnson Controls Inc., and the current public records access case before the Minnesota Supreme Court. Other speakers on the panel included Jonathan Austin (Yancey County News, North Carolina), Samantha Swindler (Forest Grove Leader, Kentucky), Katyhy Cruz (Hood County News, Texas).
The panel was sponsored by the Texas Center for Community Journalism, which paid for the travel expenses of the panel members. Tommy Thomason, head of the Texas Center for Community Journalism, moderated the session. Thomason will be publishing a book in 2014 about investigative reporting in small towns. The Timberjay is one of the newspapers that will be featured in the book. About 100 journalists attended the panel discussion.
The conference featured both hands-on and panel discussion sessions, and was geared towards print, radio and television reporters. The conference was sponsored by Bloomberg, Google, Open Society Foundations, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Rockerfeller Brothers Fund, and Scripps Howard Foundation.