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Hearst Foundations donate $50,000 to IRE Journalist of Color Fellowship

The Hearst Foundations are contributing $50,000 to support IRE’s Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship

The yearlong fellowship, which launched in 2019, is intended to prepare and support journalists of color for a solid career in investigative reporting. The program also provides an opportunity for the fellow’s news outlets to benefit from the fellow’s investigative skill-building. An underlying goal of the program is to increase the range of backgrounds, experiences and interests within the field of investigative journalism, where diverse perspectives are critically important. The fellow continues to work in the newsroom and carry the regular workload while also working on this investigative reporting project with a high level of support from IRE. 

Hearst’s contribution will support funding for future fellowships, and applications will be available starting in October 2020. The fellowship is open to U.S journalists of color with at least three years of post-college work experience.

“Quality investigative reporting plays a critical role across the country,” said Hearst Foundations Executive Director Paul Dinovitz. “Helping journalists develop investigative skills has been IRE's mission from day one. Part of IRE’s work is diversifying newsrooms’ staffs to accurately portray the communities they cover.  To that end, IRE recently launched the Journalists of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship. The Hearst Foundations are pleased to support IRE in this endeavor.”

CNN, Gray Television, ABC News and ESPN have committed financial support of the program within the last year. More news organizations are encouraged to support the fellowship and interested news organizations may contact Chris Vachon, IRE director of partnerships, at

More than $25,000 has been raised for the program from individuals in the last two years. To donate securely online, go here (type “JOC fellowship” in the “specify a fund” field). 

“At IRE, we’re determined to do all that we can to help more journalists of color succeed as investigative journalists,” IRE Executive Director Doug Haddix said. “Readers and viewers across America benefit when more watchdog reporters reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of their communities.”

The 2020 fellows are Sameea Kamal of the Los Angeles Times, Josh McGhee of  The Chicago Reporter and Monica Velez of The Fresno Bee. The 2019 fellow is Bracey Harris of the Hechinger Report. Harris’s investigation published in The Hechinger Report and The Clarion-Ledger in February 2020.

Learn more about IRE fellowships and scholarships here.

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