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Managing investigators: Protecting your team from threats

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December 12, 2023


1:00 PM


2:00 PM


When an Oklahoma county’s officials were caught on a secret recording of racist rants and details about the deaths of journalists this year, a father/son editor/reporter duo’s subsequent coverage led to major shifts in government power – and brought safety and legal risks their newsroom had to learn to navigate fast. Join IRE’s inaugural “Managing Investigators” lunch-and-learn webinar for a Q&A with these McCurtain Gazette journalists, moderated by Kat Stafford. This management webinar series will continue in the spring and is free and open to any IRE member – especially those who currently, or aspire to, lead investigators.

Date and Time

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 from 1-2 p.m. (ET)


Kat Stafford, Reuters - moderator
Kat Stafford is Reuters' global race and justice editor. An award-winning journalist, Stafford has received several honors for work, including the National Press Club Journalism Institute’s 2023 Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism. She is a former vice president of IRE's Board of Directors and has held several leadership roles at other journalism organizations. Stafford is a leading voice on newsroom representation and equitable storytelling.

Bruce Willingham, McCurtain Gazette
Bruce began his career in 1970 as a student editor-in-chief at Asheville School’s “The Ashnoca” newspaper. He continued to pursue journalism at the University of North Carolina then later as a reporter and manager at various Oklahoma newspapers, including the Broken Bow News and the McCurtain Gazette — both of which he has served as owner and publisher since 1988. Among other highlights, his investigative work resulted in the removal of the entire Choctaw Electric Cooperative board.

Chris Willingham, McCurtain Gazette
Chris's first job was as a paperboy delivering the McCurtain Gazette to downtown Idabel businesses. After graduating from Oklahoma City University, Chris and his wife moved back to his hometown where they took over the positions of police beat reporter and news, copy and layout editor, respectively. When McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office leadership became the subject of his investigations, he withstood months of intimidation as he fought to expose corruption inside the agency.

Ticket Price

  • Free for current IRE members. You must still go through the ticketing/registration process so Zoom info can be sent prior to the webinar


The workshop will be held online via Zoom, registered attendees will receive login information before the webinar.

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