Board of Directors

The Board of Directors serves as the governing body of IRE.

  • Cheryl W. Thompson

    Cheryl W. Thompson, IRE Board President, is an investigative correspondent for NPR and teaches investigative reporting at George Washington University. Before coming to NPR in January 2019, she spent 22 years with The Washington Post, covering law enforcement, political corruption, guns and the White House during Obama’s first term. She was part of the Post team that produced a year-long series on police shootings that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2016. Her investigation into political corruption in Maryland led to a federal investigation that resulted in the conviction of the county executive, his wife and several others. She has won dozens of awards, including an Emmy and IRE, a National Headliner, three Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, and a 2019 SPJ Washington Dateline award for a story examining the 50-year-old unsolved murders of six little black girls in DC. Thompson also was part of the Post team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She was named NABJ’s Educator of the Year in 2017 and has won several other teaching awards. Before The Post, she was on the investigative team of the Kansas City Star, and was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, the Daily News of Los Angeles and the Gainesville (FL) Sun. She can be reached at or (Originally elected 2015; current term expires June 2021.)

  • Mark Rochester

    Mark J. Rochester, IRE Vice President, is the Editor in Chief at Type Investigations, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in Manhattan.  He was previously senior news director for investigations at the Detroit Free Press. His career includes senior leadership positions at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Associated Press, Denver Post, Newsday and the Indianapolis Star. He served on the IRE board from 2001-2003.  He is currently on the advisory board of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at or @mjrochester (Originally elected 2020; current term expires June 2022.)

  • Jodi Upton

    Jodi Upton, Treasurer, is the Knight Chair in Data and Explanatory Journalism at Syracuse University, where she is developing a data journalism program. Previously, she was Senior Database Editor at USA TODAY, where she led a team on stories from mass killings to Medicare fraud to football coach contracts.  She was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University and taught at Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center. Her team won many U.S. and international awards. She may be reached at (Originally elected 2018; current term expires June 2022.)

  • Jennifer LaFleur

    Jennifer LaFleur, Secretary, is data editor at The Investigative Reporting Workshop and teaches at American University.  She previously was a senior editor at Reveal/CIR, data editor at ProPublica, The Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was NICAR’s founding training director and has won awards for her coverage of disability, legal and open government issues. She can be reached at or @j_la28. (Originally elected 2018; current term expires June 2022.)

  • Steven Rich

    Steven Rich, at-large member of the Executive Committee, is the database editor for investigations at The Washington Post. He’s worked on investigations probing the National Security Agency, tax lien sales, asset forfeiture, police shootings and college athletics. Since coming to The Post in 2013, he has shared in several national awards, including a George Polk award, a Robert F. Kennedy award and a Gerald Loeb award. He has been a reporter on two teams awarded Pulitzer Prizes, in 2014 for Public Service and in 2016 for National Reporting. Steven is a graduate of Mizzou and Virginia Tech. He can be reached at or @dataeditor. (Originally elected 2015; current term expires June 2021.)

  • Bethany Barnes

    Bethany Barnes is a reporter on the investigations team at the Tampa Bay Times. She came to the Times from The Oregonian, where her coverage of Portland Public Schools prompted the Education Writers Association to name Barnes the nation’s best education beat reporter in 2018. Before Oregon, Barnes wrote about prisons, courts and corruption in Las Vegas. Barnes is part of the team that produces Local Matters, a weekly newsletter that showcases local investigative journalism. Barnes has a bachelor’s degree in creative nonfiction and a master’s in journalism from the University of Arizona. Reach her at or @betsbarnes. (Originally elected 2019; current term expires June 2021.)

  • Jodie Fleischer

    Jodie Fleischer joined WRC-TV in Washington as an investigative reporter in 2017. She’s earned several of journalism’s top honors including a duPont-Columbia Award, an IRE Award for Innovation, and numerous regional Murrow and Emmy awards. In 2015, she was recognized by the FBI director for her investigation of sovereign citizens that led to a dozen arrests and a change in state law. Her reporting on deadly police shootings helped change Georgia law to limit special treatment for officers. Jodie also exposed fraudulent activity which prompted the closure of a drug rehab run by the Church of Scientology, and her government corruption investigations have led to numerous indictments and resignations. Jodie previously worked for WSB-TV in Atlanta and stations in Orlando and South Carolina. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida. Jodie can be reached at and @jodienbc4. (Originally elected 2019; current term expires June 2021.)

  • Jennifer Forsyth

    Jennifer Forsyth is Deputy Chief of Investigations at The Wall Street Journal.  She managed a collaboration with PBS’s Frontline on the poor quality of health care provided by the U.S. Indian Health Service, which won the Worth Bingham Award for Investigative Journalism in 2020. She edited stories that were part of the Journal’s coverage of Trump’s hush money that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In addition, Jennifer edited stories that were part of three Pulitzer finalist entries. Before the Journal, she worked as a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Times of Shreveport, La., and the Press-Republican of Plattsburgh, N.Y. She received a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She studied in Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship. (Originally elected 2020; current term expires June 2022.)

  • Cindy Galli

    Cindy Galli is Chief of Investigative Projects for ABC News in New York. She oversees a team of award-winning network correspondents and producers specializing in investigations ranging from government fraud and waste to corporate corruption and consumer issues. Cindy also heads up collaborative investigative projects between ABC News and network affiliates around the country. A member of IRE since 1994, her work has garnered regional and national awards over 25 years of reporting. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @mustangalli. (Originally elected 2019; current term expires June 2021.)

  • Marisa Kwiatkowski

    Marisa Kwiatkowski is an investigative reporter at USA TODAY. She previously worked for media outlets in Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana. Marisa’s work has spurred federal and state investigations, criminal charges, resignations and changes to federal law and state policy. In 2017, she and her IndyStar colleagues earned IRE’s Tom Renner Award, as well as other national and state awards, for their investigation into USA Gymnastics’ handling of child sexual abuse allegations, including those against former doctor Larry Nassar. Marisa has earned more than 50 other journalism awards. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University. Marisa can be reached at or @IndyMarisaK. (Originally elected 2020; current term expires June 2022.)

  • Brian M. Rosenthal

    Brian M. Rosenthal has been an investigative reporter on the Metro Desk of The New York Times since 2017. Before joining The Times, he covered state government for The Seattle Times and for the Houston Chronicle. He won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for a series of stories on predatory lending in the taxi industry. He was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for revealing Texas was secretly denying special education to tens of thousands of children with disabilities. And he was part of a reporting team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for coverage of a deadly mudslide. He also has won an IRE medal, two George A. Polk Awards and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, in addition to being named a finalist for the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. He grew up in Indiana and graduated from Northwestern University. He can be reached at or @brianmrosenthal. (Originally elected 2019; current term expires June 2021.)

  • Kat Stafford

    Kat Stafford is a national race and ethnicity writer at The Associated Press. Prior to joining the AP, she was an investigative journalist at the Detroit Free Press. Her investigative reporting has led to Congressional inquiries, a federal watchdog audit, proposed city and state legislation and sparked a criminal probe. Stafford has received numerous awards for her work, including two Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the 2019 First Amendment Award from Michigan’s Associated Press Media Editors. She was named a 2019 Ida B. Wells Investigative Fellow and received the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2017 Young Journalist of the Year Award from the organization’s Detroit Chapter. She can be reached at and on Twitter @Kat__Stafford. (Originally elected 2020; current term expires June 2022.)

  • Mark Walker

    Mark Walker is the FOIA coordinator at the Washington bureau of The New York Times. Prior to joining the New York Times, he was a training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors. Before joining IRE, Mark worked as a watchdog reporter focusing on law and order at The Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, S.D. In 2016, he was named South Dakota Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year and won the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s public service reporting award for the series Locked in Limbo, on mentally ill criminal defendants languishing in jail because of delays in mental competency evaluations. Mark, a graduate of Fort Valley State University in Georgia, grew up in Savannah. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @bymarkwalker. (Originally elected 2020; current term expires June 2022.)