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IRE executive director search committee selected

October 28, 2020

Six veterans in the field of investigative journalism have been appointed as members of IRE’s executive director search committee.

IRE board president Cheryl W. Thompson has appointed Mark Rochester and Ziva Branstetter co-chairs of the committee. Thompson will serve on the committee along with Cindy Galli, Manny Garcia and Mark Horvit.

The job search was launched after current Executive Director Doug Haddix submitted his resignation, effective in January. Haddix has served as IRE’s director since 2016, overseeing the organization’s first virtual conference in September with nearly 3,000 attendees. Haddix also developed initiatives to further IRE’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, including training and mentorship programs for journalists of color.

“This is an opportunity to find someone who wants to build on Doug’s successes, particularly regarding diversity and inclusion,” Thompson said. “We’re excited to cast a wide net.”

David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri where IRE is based, said he looks forward to working with the new executive director.

“The Missouri School of Journalism and IRE have a longstanding collaboration training generations of investigative journalists,” Kurpius said. “The executive director is an important position in this relationship. Our faculty and staff look forward to … growing this work with the new executive director to the benefit of IRE members and organizations.”

The committee will meet regularly to review applicants for the position of executive director, who supervises the world’s largest organization supporting investigative, accountability and data journalism. IRE has more than 6,300 members, a $2.8 million budget and a $4 million endowment.

The committee will recommend finalists for the position to the full 13-member board of directors, which will make the final selection.

If you are interested in learning more about the executive director’s position, please contact Thompson at

Here's a closer look at the search committee members:

Thompson is an investigative correspondent for NPR. She joined NPR in 2019 after 22 years with The Washington Post, where she covered D.C. police, the Justice Department and the White House. She also was on the investigative team where her examination into political corruption in Maryland sparked a federal investigation that resulted in the conviction of several elected and appointed public officials. She has won dozens of awards, including an Emmy, a shared Pulitzer, an IRE and three NABJ awards. She became IRE’s first Black board president when she was elected in 2018 and is serving her third term in that role.

Rochester is the editor in chief at Type Investigations, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in New York City, and IRE board vice president. He is the former senior news director for investigations at the Detroit Free Press, and has also held senior leadership positions at the Associated Press, Denver Post, Newsday, Indianapolis Star and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Branstetter is corporate accountability editor at The Washington Post, supervising a team of reporters devoted to investigating corporate behavior, the pandemic’s impact on nursing homes and coverage of defense contracting. She previously worked at Reveal and spent more than two decades as a journalist in Oklahoma, at the Tulsa World and as founder of an investigative newsroom, The Frontier. She is an IRE award winner, a 2015 Pulitzer finalist and previously served three terms on the IRE board, including as board vice president.

Galli is chief of investigative projects for ABC News in New York and a member of IRE’s board of directors. At ABC News, she oversees a team of award-winning network correspondents and producers specializing in long-form investigations ranging from government fraud and waste to corporate corruption, social justice, human rights and consumer issues. Galli also heads up collaborative investigative projects between ABC News and network affiliates around the country. A member of IRE since 1994, her work has garnered regional and national awards over 25 years of reporting. She was elected to IRE’s board in 2019, and her term expires in 2021.

Garcia is the senior editor for the ProPublica-Texas Tribune Investigative Initiative. He previously served in top leadership roles at the USA Today Network and is also the former editor of the Naples Daily News, editor and general manager of Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald and senior news editor of the Miami Herald. As a reporter and editor, Garcia and his teams have won several prizes, including the Pulitzer, Goldsmith and IRE prizes. He previously served on the IRE board.

Horvit is an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he teaches investigative reporting, and is director of the school’s State Government Reporting Program. He previously served as executive director of IRE and NICAR, where he conducted training in investigative reporting and data journalism throughout the world. Horvit worked as a reporter and editor for 20 years before joining IRE.

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