By Jill Riepenhoff, IRE Contest Committee Chair

To eliminate any appearance of favoritism, the IRE Board of Directors has voted to bar board members from participating in the IRE Awards if they played a major role in the investigation.

Beginning with work published or aired in 2019, board members may not enter the IRE awards if they contributed in a significant way to the work. Such examples would include named reporters/producers or the front-line editors/executive producers.

Work in which the board member did not play a significant editorial role can be entered. Ultimately, the contest judging committee will determine whether the role is acceptable or not.

Board members will be required to submit a letter to the judging committee detailing their work on any entered project or story.

Because of collaborations and management responsibilities — no matter how tangential – a board member’s involvement in past contest years could have potentially disqualified dozens of people; this was an unintended consequence of a more rigorous recusal procedure.

This new policy will ensure transparency without penalizing collaborations in which a board member played a minor role.

The IRE board president, the contest committee chair and members of the contest committee are not permitted to enter any work that involved them – no matter how small the role.