Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) shares in the disappointment and sadness across our industry in the wake of recent layoffs at well-known traditional news outlets and in many smaller markets, which have received less attention but are just as devastating.
The cutbacks hurt journalism’s mission to inform the public. Yet, while fewer resources are disheartening, we cannot give up. There is a reason why the founders of the United States saw fit to include journalists in the First Amendment, and we at IRE are marshaling our resources and offering our strongest support to our colleagues, whose work is the very foundation of democracy.
From its beginnings in 1975, IRE has maintained a network of like-minded, fearless journalists who help each other in times of need, be it debugging a bit of code or finding a new job. And IRE members continue to do that today.
Here are some specific ways that IRE members can help today:
Investigative Reporters and Editors is a grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative journalism. IRE was started in 1975 with the goal of providing a forum for journalists throughout the world to share story ideas, news sources and newsgathering and data analyzing techniques. Its first conference was in 1976. It continues to educate, empower and connect journalists today, now with three conferences annually: NICAR in the spring, IRE in the summer and AccessFest, an all-virtual conference in the fall designed to increase accessibility and affordability of IRE’s top-of-the-line training. Members also have access to workshops and webinars throughout the year, as well as thousands of tipsheets and other resources online. The IRE network is thriving, with members reaching out to each other regularly online to resolve individual technical and content issues. If you’re not yet a member, join IRE here.
Investigative Reporters and Editors opens doors for investigative journalism.
While we serve more than 5,300 members of IRE, the nonprofit also works to advance investigative reporting standards in newsrooms around the world through numerous educational initiatives. Together, these efforts ultimately benefit society at large through a more informed public and greater accountability from forces of wealth and power.
The ways that IRE “opens doors” takes many forms. To close out 2022 with our end-of-year giving campaign, we will spotlight eight different IRE members who can speak to a different door that IRE helped open in their work as reporters and editors.
Your support will help IRE continue to open doors for investigative journalism. Please consider donating online at ire.org/donate or by texting “4IRE” to 41444.
Gunita Singh is a staff attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press where she works on litigation, policy, and amicus work, primarily around state and federal freedom of information laws while also helping reporters and news organizations with records requests.
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Gunita Singh by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
“Working with IRE has been so meaningful, just knowing that we are getting those resources into the hands of investigative reporters who have such a pressing need to get information and records and documents from government agencies.”- Gunita Singh
Tony Plohetski is an award-winning journalist whose work spans print, television and digital media. A veteran investigative reporter at the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE, he obtained surveillance footage from the Uvalde elementary school massacre that contradicted the official police narrative and proved failures in response to the gunman.
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Tony Plohetski by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
“Oftentimes, these are ongoing investigations or ongoing stories where you have to keep moving forward in the face of backlash (…) The most important things that I've gotten from IRE are just those resources and that level of support — people who can cheer you on during the course of your watchdog or investigative reporting.”- Tony Plohetski
Alexandra Kanik is the data visualization editor for the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. A longtime NICAR teacher, she is an exceptional educator and advocate for journalist training. Kanik brings numbers to life — and wants to help others do the same.
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Alexandra Kanik by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
"To really understand the nuance of code and how to work with data as it pertains to journalism, I had to go elsewhere; I had to go outside of my organization (…) I never would have been able to get there, to learn how to work with data had it not been for IRE.”- Alexandra Kanik
Mc Nelly Torres is an editor at the Center for Public Integrity and the 2022 Gwen Ifill Award winner. She was the first Latina elected to IRE’s board of directors and frequently speaks at IRE conferences and training events. Catch up with her (if you can) for a selfie at one of IRE’s upcoming conferences!
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Mc Nelly Torres by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
“We all get together, we learn about each other and then we go home and we deploy that knowledge. And that creates really good investigative journalism.”- Mc Nelly Torres
Matt Wynn was a student worker at IRE while attending the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He left the investigative team at USA Today to establish the Nebraska Journalism Trust and Flatwater Free Press in 2021. His first two reporting hires? Both IRE members and former student workers.
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Matt Wynn by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
"IRE is so vital to the highest calling of this industry. There is a lot of journalism that doesn’t matter and stuff that gets done in the name of journalism that doesn't matter. IRE almost uniquely trains people for the stuff that does."- Matt Wynn
Zahira Torres is the editor for the ProPublica-Texas Tribune investigative unit, a first-of-its-kind collaboration to publish investigative reporting for and about Texas. Previously at the El Paso Times, she was the first Latina and second woman to serve as the newspaper’s editor in its more than 100-year history.
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Zahira Torres by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
"It's not just about checking a box, it's about making sure that our journalists are truly reflective of the communities they serve."- Zahira Torres
Willoughby Mariano is an investigative reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she focuses on housing and criminal justice issues. She was president of the Asian American Journalists Association’s Atlanta chapter and chaired the national AAJA convention in 2019.
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Willoughby Mariano by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
"It is giving young investigative reporters, who look a little bit more like me – who are not white – the opportunity to not only learn the tools of the trade, but to not feel so lonely in the craft."- Willoughby Mariano
Zaneta Lowe is an award-winning anchor and investigative journalist at News Channel 3 WREG-TV in Memphis. On top of her work mentoring colleagues in her own newsroom, she has mentored younger IRE members at conferences and currently serves on the regional planning committee for NICAR23.
Opening Doors Video Testimonials - Zaneta Lowe by Gwen Ragno and Matt McCabe
"Being a newsroom leader is second nature. It's something that I feel is part of my job, literally, to share information, share the knowledge that I gain, and to help younger reporters."- Zaneta Lowe
Thanks to the IRE members featured in this end-of-year campaign. Thanks also to every single member of IRE for your important investigative work. Finally, thanks for your donation to open doors for investigative journalism. Your contribution will go toward supporting fellowships and educational programming that will ensure a brighter future for all.
Donations can be made at ire.org/donate or by texting “4IRE” to 41444.
Amid the recent fanfare surrounding big arrests in Mexico's drug war, those journalists still daring to shed light on the cartels and corrupt state officials keep on dying, and the killers, they just keep on getting away with it, according to an Al Jazeera report.
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