Years ago, as a student volunteer for IRE’s Resource Center at Mizzou, I used to stay at IRE after hours, consuming one awards entry and tipsheet after the next. It became an addiction – as I discovered the wisdom of the world’s most accomplished investigative reporters, all accessible to me because of IRE. This immersion in the teachings of other investigative journalists was my first experience with IRE at its very best: It is an organization that, from its inception, has thrived most when investigative reporters put competitive and other differences aside and come together to help each other produce urgent work. We share our secrets. We mentor. We lift each other up. We celebrate our diversity. We admit where we can be better - and we CAN be better.
One of my roles as a student volunteer was to help IRE begin to digitize tipsheets and video investigations so that content would be accessible from anywhere. Yet today, large parts of our vast library of tipsheets and training materials have become difficult to access online. Even many components of IRE’s own past award-winners and our member directory appear to be missing from our website. I will work to restore these valuable resources, making them accessible and easier for our members to find.
My core focus as a Board member will be to ensure IRE remains the leading destination for training investigative reporters. I know we have become great at recruiting new members into our organization– as well as hiring those who want to build a career with IRE. But we must do better at supporting, growing and retaining them. If they leave, we should conduct exit interviews to better understand where we have fallen short.
As a journalist, I’ve worked for local television stations, networks, newspapers, multi-episode deep-dive podcasts -- and I've realized the best work I've ever done has been through collaborative partnerships (with Reveal, ProPublica, USA Today, The Toronto Star, and many others.) I’ve learned that team-oriented investigations are not only essential, they are our future.
As the immediate past president and former treasurer of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I led the nationwide search for the organization’s first full-time executive director. We then partnered with board members, collegially, to create new programs for mentors, expedited grants, and FIJ’s first diversity committee. We more than doubled the organization’s revenue, allowing us to most importantly set multiple records in the amount of grant money distributed to investigative reporters.
My experience leading that organization taught me valuable lessons which I will use to maintain positive and productive working relationships with IRE’s amazing staff and my fellow board members. That’s essential as our organization works to develop a strategic plan for our future- something that should incorporate multiple minds, including those belonging to trusted veterans who are invested in IRE and NICAR.
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