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CNN donates $5,000 to IRE Journalist of Color Fellowship

CNN is contributing $5,000 to support IRE’s new Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship. This yearlong fellowship is designed to increase the range of backgrounds, experiences and interests within the field of investigative journalism, where diverse perspectives are critically important. The fellowship is open to U.S journalists of color with at least three years of post-college work experience.

CNN’s contribution will support funding for the 2020 fellowship, and applications will be available starting in October 2019. Fundraising for the fellowship is also taking place at the 2019 IRE Conference in Houston.

“In a world where the truth matters more than ever, never has our profession had this urgent a need for exceptional investigative journalists,” said Ramon Escobar, vice president of talent recruitment and development and the vice president of diversity and inclusion for CNN Worldwide. “As the global leader in news, CNN is committed to investing and developing diverse investigative journalists that reflect the complex world we cover. We know of no better partner to do that with than IRE, and we are proud to announce our support of the IRE Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship.”

Total donations will determine how many fellowships IRE can award this fall. News organizations and individuals are encouraged to support the fellowship. Interested news organizations may contact Chris Vachon, IRE director of partnerships, at

Individuals may donate securely online here (type “JOC fellowship” in the “specify a fund” field). Or, you may mail a check with “JOC fellowship” in the note field to IRE: 141 Neff Annex, Columbia, MO 65211.

The 2019 fellow is Bracey Harris of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. She is IRE’s first Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellow. Harris, an education reporter, has been at the paper since September 2015. She previously worked at WLBT in Jackson as an associate morning producer. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi. As part of her fellowship, Harris is exploring the effects of school integration on black families in Mississippi.

Harris received a suite of IRE resources and training opportunities. These included complimentary registration and travel assistance for an IRE boot camp and both annual conferences. Additionally, she is receiving complimentary IRE data services and a mentor network of IRE members.

The IRE Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship launched with generous donations from IRE members Meghan Hoyer, Megan Luther, Mike Tahani and Mike Gruss.

Learn more about IRE fellowships and scholarships here.

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