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Josh Hinkle

IRE is an important organization for me. That’s because of its mission to provide training, resources and a sense of community to investigative journalists – something I think about a lot as a newsroom manager of local TV station KXAN and educator at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. It’s been an honor for me to serve on IRE’s board the past two years, and I’d love to continue the work I’ve started here.

Since joining the board, I’ve chaired IRE’s first-ever training committee, which is tasked with examining training opportunities for the organization. I’ve worked with an outstanding group of investigative journalists from a variety of backgrounds to shape this committee’s work regarding local journalism, inclusivity/representation, advanced training for longtime members, digital/hybrid opportunities, and diversity resources – including exploring college curriculum supplements for minority-serving institutions. These areas of focus led to exciting training initiatives, like an upcoming low-cost watchdog workshop for local journalists in underserved areas and students at a Hispanic-serving university, a web collection of diversity and accessibility support to be launched in conjunction with IRE’s digital-only AccessFest, and a closer look at training for more experienced members, including launching a master class (and corresponding engagement network) for investigative managers and editors – which will be held for the third time at this summer’s IRE Conference.

I’ve worked to improve diversity, equity and inclusion when recruiting members to the committees I’ve led. We must consider race, ethnicity and gender as well as size, type and location of workplaces, along with culture, class, disability, sexual orientation and identity. I’ve encouraged the board to include those points in its decisions. When I first campaigned for the board, I said this organization should be welcoming and inclusive – a place where anyone can have a seat at the table. Today, as an out gay journalist, I know this still isn’t what always happens in our industry. But the decisions our leaders make have the power to bring about real change.

I’ve helped lead LGBTQ+ networking sessions at our annual conferences, written for the IRE Journal about the board’s obligations to this community, and recently led the executive committee’s efforts to draft a public statement reaffirming IRE’s commitment to serving and supporting all members and “maintaining a safe, discrimination-free organization where everyone can learn and be supported professionally.” The latter came as hundreds of our members prepared to gather at the 2023 NICAR Conference in Tennessee – where state leaders had just passed legislation banning certain drag performances and gender-affirming care for transgender youth, drawing safety concerns from some of our members. The statement said: “IRE should be a space for all members to thrive.” I truly believe that and want to build on my work to solidify that for the future.

Josh Hinkle IRE Board Candidacy Statement from Josh Hinkle on Vimeo.


Mc Nelly Torres, Center for Public Integrity: Since Josh Hinkle was elected to the IRE board two years ago, he has worked to increase the pool of diverse people on committees including the training committee, helped create a master class for managers and built support for our LGBTQ+ members. Hinkle seeks feedback and help from long-time members because he values their knowledge and experience. And he understands that diversity and inclusion make IRE stronger. Josh is a hard worker and that's what IRE needs: leaders who are willing to get their hands dirty, listen to members and show commitment to the work. That's what leadership is all about. For this and more, I proudly nominate Josh as a candidate for the IRE Board.

Nicole Vap, CBS Innovation Lab: It is my honor to nominate Josh Hinkle for a second term on the IRE Board of Directors. Josh works hard and smart for IRE. His goals match the organization and his passion for IRE is contagious. It can take time to find footing on the board, but Josh jumped right in during his first term. He’s led IRE’s first training committee to more intentionally direct training outside of the conferences. His determination to increase diversity and inclusion is more than lip service, for him it’s personal. Josh strives for inclusion at IRE, in his career and with his every interaction. I know the incredible commitment board members make (having served myself for 6 years), and Josh has shown a dedication to serving the IRE membership in his first two years that few can match. I feel confident in IRE’s future with board members like Josh leading the way.

Candidate Q & A

Current position

  • KXAN (NBC) – Austin, TX (2009-current)
    • Director of Investigations & Innovation
    • Host/Executive Producer, “State of Texas” statewide politics program
    • Host/Executive Producer, “Catalyst” investigative podcast
  • St. Edward’s University – Austin, TX (2012-current)
    • Adjunct Professor, Broadcast Journalism

Prior experience

  • Work experience
    • KXAN (NBC) – Austin, TX (prior to current roles)
      • Investigative Reporter
      • Political Reporter/Multi-platform Journalist
    • KCRG (ABC) – Cedar Rapids, IA (2005-2009)
      • Anchor/Reporter
    • KOMU (NBC) – Columbia, MO (2003-2005)
      • Reporter/Anchor/Producer
    • University of Missouri – Columbia, MO (2003-2005)
      • Teaching Assistant – Political Radio Program
    • KWTV (CBS) – Oklahoma City, OK (2002-2003)
      • Associate Producer/Intern
  • Education experience
    • University of Missouri – Columbia, MO
      • Master of Arts – Broadcast Journalism/Public Policy (2005)
    • Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, OK
      • Bachelor of Arts – Broadcast Journalism/Spanish (2003)
  • Other journalism experience (non-IRE)
    • Service
      • Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas Board of Directors (2022-current)
      • Solutions Journalism Network Advisory Council (2022-current)
      • Maynard Institute Maynard 200 Journalist of Color Fellowship Mentor (2021-current)
      • Texas Association of Broadcasters Legislative Committee (2023-current)
    • Training
      • Poynter Institute
        • Build a Stronger Team by Being a Better Coach (2021)
        • Covering Jails, Police and Justice Reform (2021)
        • Leadership for Broadcast Executive Producers (2016)
        • Power Reporting (2008)
      • Loyola University Chicago Master Class for Media Managers (2022)
      • USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism National Fellowship (2021)
      • National Press Photographers Association
        • Red Dirt Storytelling (2022)
        • Advanced Storytelling Workshop (2013)
      • Texas Association of Broadcasters SW Broadcast Newsroom Workshop (2009-2018)

IRE experience

  • IRE member (2013-current)
  • IRE Board of Directors (2021-current)
    • Board secretary (2022-current)
  • Committee experience
    • Training Committee (2021-current)
      • Chair (2021-current)
      • Local Journalism Working Group (2021-current)
      • College Curriculum Toolkit Task Force
        • Chair (2022-current)
    • Conference Committee (2021-current)
      • Broadcast Track Conference Sub-committee (2021-current)
        • Chair (2022-current)
    • Executive Committee (2022-current)
    • Conference Regional Planning Committee (2019)
    • IRE Conference Fundraising/Donor Event Planning Group (2023)
  • Conference experience
    • IRE Conference (2013-2022)
      • Served as moderator/panelist at eight conferences
      • Led broadcast networking session
      • Led LGBTQ+ networking session
      • Led early-career roundtable
    • NICAR Conference (2017-2023)
      • Served as moderator/panelist at six conferences
      • Served as master class instructor at two conferences
      • Led LGBTQ+ networking session twice
      • Led broadcast networking session
      • Led college student networking session
      • Led early-career roundtable
    • DBEI Symposium (2021-2022)
      • Served as moderator/panelist at two symposia
      • Led networking session
  • Other workshops
    • Online Management Master Class instructor (2022)
    • Online TV Watchdog Workshop presenter (2021)
    • NLGJA National Convention/IRE Bootcamp Panel presenter (2021)
    • Watchdog Workshop (San Marcos, TX) presenter (2019)
    • TV Watchdog Workshop (Dallas, TX) presenter (2018)
  • IRE Awards
    • Winner (2015)
    • Finalist (2018-2019)
    • Award Screener (2019-2023)
  • Other IRE experience
    • IRE Journalism Mentor Program (2021-2023 Mentor)
    • Conference Mentor Program (2021-2023 Mentor)
    • IRE Journal (contributed three times since 2016)
    • I-Team Toolkit Newsletter (contributed five times since 2018)
    • IRE Radio Podcast (featured once in 2018)
    • Extra! Extra! Blog (featured once in 2018)
    • Total Newsroom Training (recipient in 2019)
    • Managing Investigators Facebook Group administrator (2023)
    • IRE Meetups (organized two meetups in Austin, TX, 2022-2023)
    • Led IRE Conference lunch fundraiser (2022)
    • Sponsored several student journalists’ IRE memberships
    • Donated money during IRE fundraising campaigns


  • Investigative reporting/producing
  • Management/leadership
  • Broadcast journalism (television)
  • Local journalism
  • Podcasting
  • Multi-platform/digital reporting
  • Open records/public information
  • Collaborations/partnerships
  • Innovative storytelling
  • Teaching/mentoring/coaching
  • Solutions journalism

Related links

  • Website
  • KXAN Bio
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • LinkedIn
  • KXAN Investigates
    KXAN Investigates is a nationally-recognized, award-winning team of journalists – the largest investigative unit in Central Texas. The team has been honored with the Investigative Reporters & Editors Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, five National Edward R. Murrow Awards, four National Headliner Awards and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award. We tackle stories that hold leaders accountable and make communities safer.
  • “Catalyst” Podcast
    Catalyst is an investigative podcast from KXAN News. Each season, KXAN’s investigative team exposes societal problems facing the state of Texas and shortfalls in the systems that impact everyone living here. These journalists tell thought-provoking stories that might ultimately lead to positive change.
  • “State of Texas” Program
    Launched in 2011, “State of Texas” is the only statewide, network-affiliated show focused solely on Texas politics. Produced at KXAN in Austin and seen in 14 markets, the weekly program gives viewers greater perspective on the Texas Legislature and elections.
  • Recent Project #1 (Mental Competency Consequences)
    For years, KXAN investigators have explored a growing backlog of people in Texas jails who need mental competency restoration. While an advisory committee has largely focused on finding state hospital beds for that group, our team took a closer look at the backgrounds of individuals on the waitlist to determine trends experts say could help drive down numbers. Our research found data on this topic is often hidden or unreliable – a discovery sparking promise for change from state leaders.
  • Recent Project #2 (Justice for Some)
    For decades, public corruption cases against state officials were investigated and prosecuted in Texas’ capital city. But in 2015, after a dustup at the highest levels of state government, lawmakers instead moved those responsibilities to the Texas Rangers and local prosecutors. A new analysis of the cases from the past five years reveals few have been prosecuted and most Ranger investigations focused on lower-level officials. In an investigative collaboration with the Texas Observer and other media outlets, KXAN takes a closer look at the Central Texas cases falling short and the legislative history that led to a system critics claim does little to hold your elected leaders accountable.
  • Recent Project #3 (Medical Debt Lawsuits)
    An anonymous tip led KXAN investigators to discover hundreds of medical debt lawsuits piling up in one Central Texas court filed on behalf of one local hospital. While its collection methods are legal, what’s most important to convey is the impact they have on patients. This project aims to show you what can happen financially when you face medical debt, how you can avoid it and why Texas leaders may soon take a closer look at the state’s debt collection system.

Issues I would like to address as a board member

  • Focusing on “local journalism” through greater board representation, new/enhanced conference/training activities and membership goals
  • Building new diversity and inclusivity initiatives and partnerships – focused on but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, disability, socioeconomic background, culture, location, organization, medium and experience
  • Evolving IRE’s training strategy, including best practices for accessibility and affordability learned during the pandemic
  • Focusing on cultivation and outreach for new and potential IRE members, while also finding new ways to engage and retain current and veteran members – which could include listening/feedback sessions and different approaches to membership campaigns
  • Continuing to build on board organization and efficiency learned during my first term and my history as a newsroom manager to keep IRE on track and prepared for future challenges
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