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IRE21 Conference going virtual

The 2021 IRE Conference will again be a virtual event, bringing together members for five days of training, conversations and networking online June 14-18.

The #IRE21 conference had been scheduled for mid-June in Indianapolis. 

“We decided to move this year’s conference online again because the safety of our members matters most,” said Cheryl W. Thompson, IRE’s board president. “We will miss seeing everyone in person.”

Most sessions will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time, to allow for participation across the United States and around the world. Training sessions will be recorded and available for attendees on demand for up to one year on the conference platform. The event will also include fun social events, such as happy hours, networking and a celebration of the 2020 IRE Award winners. 

IRE is seeking ideas for conference sessions through March 22. Please fill out this form to suggest ideas for speakers, topics, and fun social sessions.

Nearly 3,000 journalists, educators and students attended the first-ever virtual IRE Conference in September 2020, taking part in more than 200 sessions. Members joined from more than 30 countries.

“The IRE20 Conference was such an energizing event during a very trying year for journalists,” said Denise Malan, IRE interim executive director. “We’re excited to bring our community together online again this year, and we can’t wait to see everyone in person and celebrate together when it’s safe to do so.”

The online format also allowed IRE to lower the cost of registration. Registration rates are about half of the usual in-person rates for IRE conferences, and IRE will be offering about 200 fellowships that include free registration and membership.

“IRE board and staff members recognize that journalists have limited resources now more than ever,” Malan said. “We want to help ensure our training remains accessible through lower costs and more fellowship opportunities.” 

What will registration cost for the virtual IRE21 conference?

Registration rates are:

  • Professional/academic early bird rate: $150 (through May 24)
  • Professional/academic regular rate: $200 (May 25 through June 18)
  • Student rate: $50 (any time)

Attendees must be members of current members of IRE through June ($70/professional, $25/students). 

When will registration open?

We expect to open registration in mid-April. 

Will you have fellowships available?

Yes! We will offer about 200 fellowships, a record number for an IRE conference. Fellowships cover the cost of registration and a one-year IRE membership. Sign up to receive fellowship notices or watch IRE’s social media channels for application information. 

How do I give input on conference sessions?

We want to hear all of your ideas for the conference, including speakers you’d like to learn from, topics you want to delve into, and any fun ideas for social and networking in the virtual space. We’d also like to hear your ideas on the virtual format, and things that you liked (or didn’t like) from our last online conference to help us build an even better event.

Please fill out this form with your input by March 22. No idea is too big or too small! 

I’ve never been to a virtual conference. How will it work?

You’ll receive a secure link that will allow you (and only you!) to sign into the online conference. Once inside the virtual conference, you may browse the schedule, build your own personalized schedule, request one-on-one meetings with other attendees and much more. We will offer several options during any given time slot. The majority of sessions will feature video presentations with several speakers — typically using slides and tipsheets, similar to in-person events. You’ll be able to ask questions and interact with panelists in real time. We’ll also feature interactive social gatherings online.

Will I need special equipment or software to participate?

No. All you’ll need is Internet access and a computer, laptop or tablet — much as you need to participate in an online video meeting. To attend a virtual meeting on the Pathable platform, we strongly recommend using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers and downloading the Zoom app. 

What if I’m working, attending class or dealing with other obligations that cause me to miss some sessions?

That’s the beauty of a virtual conference. Most sessions will be recorded and available to attendees for up to one year. You can view them at your convenience. Most sessions will include video plus any related tipsheets, slide decks and chat transcripts.

Will #IRE21 be useful to international journalists?

Absolutely. We encourage international journalists, educators and students to join us online for #IRE21. An affordable registration rate — plus no need to spend money on travel, lodging and meals — opens up opportunities for far more journalists around the world to join IRE for learning, inspiration and collaboration. We’ll also provide ways for international journalists to connect with one another during the conference and have some fellowships for international journalists.

Will there be swag?

Yes, T-shirts, mugs, stickers and other items will be available for purchase in the IRE Store and will be shipped to you.    

How can I become a sponsor of the virtual #IRE21 conference?

The virtual platform offers many exciting opportunities for sponsors, including virtual trade show booths. If you’d like information on the benefits of sponsoring #IRE21, please contact Chris Vachon, IRE director of partnerships, by email:

How can I keep up with new developments connected to #IRE21?

Please sign up here to receive e-mail updates about #IRE21. It’s the best way to stay up-to-date on the latest virtual conference news. 

What if I have other questions?

Please contact

109 Lee Hills Hall, Missouri School of Journalism   |   221 S. Eighth St., Columbia, MO 65201   |   573-882-2042   |   |   Privacy Policy
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