Columbia, Mo. A very strong group of stories were submitted for the IRE Freelance Fellowship competition. The winners of the Freelance Fellowship for 2012 are:  Stephy Chung, freelance journalist working in Beijing, for her story “Rising Prostitution among Migrant Workers in Beijing” and Brendan Borrell, a freelance journalist who won for his story “The Search for Missing Migrants” in the Laredo, Texas city cemetery.  This award of $1,000 each will help them continue their work.

Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, this fellowship program has allowed IRE to award fellowships for the last five years, giving freelance journalists a much-needed boost in the pursuit of their investigative work.  IRE is creating an online library of the winners of this fellowship for the last five years.  This will be available to all IRE members and will become a part of IRE’s library.

These fellowships are for journalists who make their living primarily as freelancers.  Applications are scrutinized by three experienced freelance journalists; they are ineligible for the award while serving on the committee.  Proposals are judged in part on the breadth, significance and potential impact of the investigative project.  At the request of the donor, proposals dealing with whistleblowers, business ethics and/or privacy issues will receive priority; projects involving other topics will be given serious consideration by the committee as well.  The freelance projects must be published or aired primarily in US outlets.

IRE is a non-profit educational and professional organization of more than 4,500 journalists working to foster excellence in journalism.  Founded in 1975, IRE also runs the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, a joint program of IRE and the Missouri School of Journalism, where IRE is housed.

The freelance fellowship is one of many awarded each year by IRE to continue to support quality investigative journalism.