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IRE announces 2020 Freelance Fellowship recipients

Projects investigating senior care during the pandemic, microfinance financial networks and the lack of protection for coal ash workers in Tennessee have been awarded IRE Freelance Fellowships. The recipients of the 2020 fellowships are:

  • Jared Whitlock, first place, is a freelance journalist based in Encinitas, California. His project will investigate regulatory holes in the assisted living and nursing home industries. 
  • Mara Kardas-Nelson, second place, is a UC Berkeley-based freelance journalist. Her project will investigate how American and European banks and investment funds are making money off tiny loans given to the world’s poor.
  • Austyn Gaffney, third place, is a freelance reporter based in Louisville, Kentucky. Her project investigates how state and federal regulatory agencies and private companies failed to prioritize worker safety in East Tennessee's Kingston coal ash disaster.

The generosity of an anonymous donor has allowed IRE to award fellowships for the last 13 years. The fellowships give independent journalists a financial boost to pursue investigative work.

If you’d like to donate to the Freelance Fellowship fund, click here to make a donation. Please designate "Freelance Fellowship” in the form. 

About the award:

IRE Freelance Fellowships are awarded annually to journalists who make their living primarily as freelance/independent journalists. Applications are scrutinized by experienced freelance journalists. Proposals are judged in part on the breadth, significance and potential impact of the investigative project. At the request of the donor, proposals dealing with whistleblowers, business ethics and/or privacy issues will receive priority; projects involving other topics will be given serious consideration by the committee as well. The freelance projects are to be published or aired primarily in U.S. outlets.

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