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David Donald and Tom Torok become first IRE Ring of Honor inductees

Investigative Reporters & Editors honored two former members this week, inducting them into the IRE Ring of Honor. The Ring of Honor launched in May 2022 as a fundraising initiative that celebrates members who have made significant contributions to the organization and investigative journalism.

On June 24, 2023, the late Tom Torok of The New York Times and the late David Donald of Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University became the first two members of the IRE Ring of Honor. The induction ceremony took place during the awards luncheon at the IRE Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Tom Torok

Lifelong journalist Tom Torok was a tireless reporter and editor, a popular mentor and a trailblazing data journalist of the highest caliber. Torok was a natural-born teacher in high demand at the countless sessions he conducted at IRE and NICAR conferences and in classrooms across the United States and worldwide.

He died in Camden, New Jersey, on March 6, 2022, after a brief illness. He was 73.

Torok was nominated to the IRE Ring of Honor by Andy Lehren of NBC News. Lehren and other supporters raised $4,147 in Torok’s name for the IRE Ring of Honor fellowship fund.

"Tom represents the best in the IRE and NICAR spirit, not only excelling at his own work, but he tirelessly helped others, generously teaching and sharing with others," Lehren said.

David Donald

David Donald was a visionary in the world of data journalism, eagerly embracing new techniques and technologies and sharing them with a passion that was infectious. Many remember him as a compassionate teacher who was always ready to help fellow journalists.

Donald died Dec. 10, 2016, of complications from mesothelioma. He was 64.

"David Donald changed the course of my career — his training, mentorship and overall support elevated my journalism and changed my perspective on finding and outing truths," said London-based journalist Crina Boros. "I once asked him why he mentored. 'I, too, once stood on the shoulders of giants,’ he said. ‘This is my way of giving back.'"

Donald was nominated to the IRE Ring of Honor by Jennifer LaFleur of the Center for Public Integrity and a group of IRE members called “Friends of D Squared.” In his honor, they raised $3,110 for the IRE Ring of Honor fellowship fund.

IRE honors their legacy by continuing their work

Tax-deductible donations to the Ring of Honor memorialize the legacies of these influential mentors and newsroom leaders while financially supporting the next generation of investigative journalists. Fellowships allow qualified recipients to attend conferences, participate in training and network with other investigative journalists.

For more information on how to nominate someone for the IRE Ring of Honor, please click here.

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