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IRE names veteran journalist as next executive director

The IRE Board is thrilled to announce that Diana R. Fuentes will serve as the next executive director of the 6,000-member organization. She is the first person of color to serve in that role.

Fuentes, a Texas native, has served as the Deputy Metro Editor of the San Antonio Express-News since 2015. She has extensive senior management and masthead-level experience running newsrooms throughout Texas, and has served on numerous boards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors (now the News Leaders Association). She is past president, treasurer and secretary of the Texas APME and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. She is a lifetime member, and former secretary and financial officer of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

“Diana’s management skills—and her management style—combined with her three decades as a journalist and her deep appreciation and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, make her a good fit for IRE,” said IRE Board President Cheryl W. Thompson. “I have no doubt that she will do an amazing job.”

Fuentes brings a solid vision to IRE, which includes initiatives to support investigative journalists at smaller newspapers, broadcast outlets and online news sites. She also hopes to expand the organization’s program that provides investigative training at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions; and build on the partnerships with culturally diverse journalism organizations. And she’d like to launch a high-school program that would strengthen the pipeline for future investigative journalists.

“These are challenging times, but also a time of opportunity,” Fuentes said. “IRE is the acknowledged leader in training journalists to produce high-quality content, putting us in a prime position to expand the pool of diverse candidates and help newsrooms large and small reflect the communities they serve.”

Fuentes was chosen after a six-person search committee screened dozens of candidates. She impressed them with her practical experience in every critical element the committee cited as being important for the position. The board and staff also found her to be no-nonsense but affable.

“I’m enthusiastic about working with a passionate, open-minded board and a hard-working staff, dedicated members and visionary supporters who fund our work,” Fuentes said. “There’s much to be done, and we are going to do it together."

Former IRE board member Ziva Branstetter and IRE Vice President Mark J. Rochester co-chaired the committee. They were joined by Austin American-Statesman Editor Manny Garcia; University of Missouri Associate Professor Mark Horvit; Cindy Galli, director of investigative projects for ABC News and a current IRE board member; and Thompson, senior editor of station investigations for NPR.

Fuentes succeeds Doug Haddix, who left in January after nearly five years in the position. Fuentes will start the position on April 26.

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