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IRE issues mission statement on diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion

Investigative Reporters & Editors celebrates its new mission statement on diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion, adopted unanimously by the IRE Board of Directors on June 14.

The statement reaffirms IRE’s commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment at all its events and meetings. 

“We believe a diverse and inclusive space helps secure a strong future for our organization,” said IRE President Mark Walker. “All our members and partners can be assured that IRE takes its commitment to diversity seriously.”  

While IRE has had a code of conduct in place for several years, board members saw a need for IRE to develop a separate document underscoring its DBEI principles amid growing concerns about hostile environments for journalists, particularly those from historically marginalized communities.

The move is particularly timely as the organization prepares for its annual flagship conference in Orlando, Florida, where there has been a backlash against inclusivity and high-profile attacks on LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities.

“At a time of such political uncertainty, IRE wants to reiterate its support for members of intersecting identities and backgrounds,” said Barbara Rodriguez, chair of the IRE Diversity & Inclusion Committee and a board member. “Let our message with this mission statement be clear: IRE is committed to being a safe and welcoming organization.” 

In response to IRE members’ feedback over legislation in the state of Florida targeting the LGBTQ+ community, the board issued a statement May 11 reaffirming IRE23 as a safe space for those most directly affected. The board has also worked with the staff and members to put together a guide for programming sessions and community activities that offers support and guidance to attendees navigating this developing situation. The guide includes businesses, including restaurants and entertainment venues, owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community.

This is the complete statement approved by the board June 14, now included on the IRE website:

IRE strives to reflect diversity and inclusion in all of its efforts and offerings. It is a foundational value, as a diverse membership strengthens our organization and produces higher-quality journalism that more accurately reflects the communities we serve. By centering inclusivity — both in our public programming and internal staffing policies — we help sustain IRE’s future and ensure that our members thrive as journalists, educators and students.

American journalism is in a state of flux, with a decline in newsroom employment that can limit what stories are told and who has the opportunity to tell them. That threatens diversity in an industry that still does not reflect the diversity of the nation. IRE is committed to taking practical steps to address the ongoing impact of such growing inequality within the industry. IRE will maintain the necessary data collection to assure membership of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

IRE develops programming, networking opportunities and training to create a safe space for all journalists, including journalists of color, LGBTQ+ journalists, journalists of different gender identities, journalists with disabilities and journalists of different religious beliefs and spirituality. For IRE, inclusivity means welcoming and supporting people with intersecting identities and backgrounds. IRE seeks to maintain a discrimination-free organization where everyone can learn and be supported professionally — including at conferences and events held in states with evolving laws and legal protections.

For more information on all of IRE’s DBEI initiatives, see our diversity and inclusion page.

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