By the time I attended my first IRE conference in 2008, I was already ten years into my reporting career. I quickly realized I’d found my people: journalists who choose every day to ask why, how, who’s to blame, and use the power of their words to effect change.
Let’s face it, the past year has been exhausting. Journalists, students and professors worked harder than ever and, through it all, IRE helped us learn new skills, meet collaborators, inspire our investigative spirit, and support each other. That’s harder to do virtually, but we worked as your Board to make sure IRE thrived.
One of my proudest accomplishments has been developing IRE’s Campus Campaign, which brought in more than 500 new student members and raised more than $40,000 by engaging universities to send students and educators to our two virtual conferences. Our students are among our most diverse participants and this program will continue to broaden diversity within our organization and future newsrooms.
I also worked to strengthen IRE’s commitment to mentorship, recruiting new mentors when needed, and helping build our new partnership with Media Mentors. Our new online platform will help journalists at every stage of their career by giving them the power to select and schedule meetings with mentors who specialize in the guidance they’re seeking.
Both programs are still in their infancy and I hope you will grant me the opportunity to continue to increase our engagement with young journalists and grow our membership, while making sure IRE reflects our diverse community. We must ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for journalists from every background, race, gender, platform, and market size, to learn new skills, to better their careers, to better their communities.
To outsiders, the IRE ethos can be hard to understand. One year, as I was preparing for an IRE conference panel, a manager warned me not to give away too many of my secrets. I responded, “Where do you think I learned those secrets?”
In a historically competitive industry, it can be difficult to maintain that sharing mindset. But I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with print and data journalists and produced some of my best work. I’ve written newspaper articles for broadcast investigations, TV packages from sound gathered by print reporters, and produced stories side by side. I will work to foster increased collaboration across every platform; our changing industry not only supports that but demands it.
I will advocate for a crossover track at conferences and push to keep a virtual option to expand access for international members, students, and those who otherwise couldn’t attend.
I’ve built life-long friendships here and developed my skills as a journalist, mentor and leader in a way I never could have imagined at the start of my career. I believe IRE is more important than ever and I know our future is bright. I hope you will grant me the opportunity to continue working to better our organization and better serve your needs as a member.
Nicole Carr, WSB-TV: As a former colleague and current IRE member, I’m pleased to nominate Jodie Fleischer for the IRE Board. Jodie is passionate about mentoring and developing investigative talent within the organization. I benefitted from her mentorship years ago, transitioning from general assignment to investigative unit work at WSB-TV in Atlanta. Jodie possesses the work ethic, passion and drive needed to advance IRE’s mission.
Jodi Upton, Syracuse University: As one of our most active board members, Jodie has been instrumental in expanding IRE’s membership, revenue and mentorship program. She works tirelessly to ensure IRE elevates and supports all members. As the only local-market broadcast member, Jodie represents a key constituency and brings the experienced leadership we need at a critical time. I second Jodie’s nomination.