Eight years ago, I started my role leading KXAN’s investigative team, so I joined IRE and attended my first conference. I was blown away by the caliber of journalists and work featured. But it didn’t really feel like I fit in. I wasn’t from a big outlet in a major city. I didn’t have the same elite experience of those I saw leading IRE.
In recent years, new leadership has brought renewed focus to diversity and inclusivity. As IRE grows, it’s increasingly important those leaders also represent those points – and continue evolving. They must consider not only race, ethnicity, and gender… but also the size, type and location of workplaces… plus culture, disability and orientation. Do you see yourself reflected and supported? For me, that answer is: not always.
Today, I’m an active IRE member who understands how the organization works and wants to ensure it thrives. I’m also a local, multi-platform journalist. I live in the middle of the country in a medium-size market – Austin. I’m a newsroom manager and investigative reporter. I host an investigative podcast and a weekly statewide politics program, and I teach broadcast journalism at St. Edward’s University. I’m a member of the LGBTQ community, too.
I know there are many other IRE members like me who value that type of inclusivity and want IRE to be a place where anyone can have a seat at the table. It’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to run for the IRE Board this year, building on the impressive initiatives the current board has launched and helping to create new partnerships with other industry groups doing a good job in this area. I have experience leading large collaborations with other journalism groups. I want to use my teamwork and management skills to help make IRE a more welcoming environment for new members and entry-level journalists, while focusing on what veteran members and seasoned investigators need. Part of that could include new types of outreach efforts and membership campaigns – for which my broadcast background could bring a different approach.
We should also have greater focus on more practical and applicable investigative skills for newsrooms and journalists lacking resources. I know what it’s like balancing work in smaller markets, pressed for time and pushing to do meaningful work. How can we make IRE more beneficial for those people? It’s perhaps part of the biggest challenge I believe IRE faces today – effectively moving out of the pandemic and retaining some of the best practices our industry has learned during this time. For IRE, that includes more accessible, affordable and impactful training and membership benefits.
I love this organization. It’s helped me, my newsroom and community. That’s why I’ve given back over the years, including conference planning groups, moderating or teaching at ten conferences, presenting at watchdog workshops, screening award entries and sponsoring student IRE memberships through donations. I hope you’ll vote for me for the board, so I can help in a new way. Thank you.
Mc Nelly Torres, Center for Public Integrity: I met Josh Hinkle years ago at a NICAR convention. I’m proud to nominate Josh for the IRE Board. Josh is a natural leader. He brings knowledge and experience from a small news market. Josh has been an active member for years. He is what IRE needs now: someone who understands the membership needs, has a background and experience that brings the perspective and diversity needed on the board.
Nicole Vap, 9News: I’ve watched Josh Hinkle grow into an award-winning journalist, move into management, and grow his team to one of the biggest in Texas. He’s given back to IRE as a teacher, panelist, and mentor. He’s become more of a mentor to me than I was ever to him. Josh brings a diversity of market size, television leadership experience and a vision for the future that is deserving of your vote.
Issues I would like to address as a board member