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Celebrating Pride Month at IRE24

With Pride Month coming up in June, IRE members are excited to celebrate and reflect at IRE24.

Over the years, IRE has expanded programming on covering LGBTQ+ issues and historically marginalized communities, and this year is no exception. With more than a dozen IRE24 sessions — such as "Getting trans issues right in the 2024 elections" and "Investigating hate crimes and bias incidents" — journalists across the country will get top-notch training and guidance on how to responsibly and accurately cover these topics.

Some sessions were planned in partnership with LGBTQ+ members of IRE and the Trans Journalists Association; others were the result of listening sessions held to hear members' ideas and concerns.

Another panel, called "Authenticity in Investigations: Covering Your Own Communities," will help journalists navigate identity. Reporters who are members of minority groups, whether it be the LGBTQ+ community or a racial group, often face challenges and sometimes criticism when they cover their own communities. Especially on issues of objectivity and transparency.

At IRE24, Josh Hinkle of KXAN-TV, Barbara Rodriguez of The 19th and Kat Stafford of Reuters will share their experiences and how they ensure trust among their audiences.

This session was partly inspired by Hinkle's work at KXAN-TV, where he explored the nuances of this topic on an investigative podcast called "Catalyst." Francisco Vara-Orta, IRE's Director of Diversity and Inclusion, was a guest on this episode. (You can listen here before you head to IRE24).

IRE's Francisco Vara-Orta discussed LGBTQ+ identity in journalism on the podcast "Catalyst."

Along with learning how to report, we're proud that the IRE Conference offers a friendly space for LGBTQ+ members and allies to meet and mingle. This year, the LGBTQ+ networking session will take place on Thursday, June 20, at 11:30 a.m.

Always a lively event, the networking session builds on others that have been hosted at conferences in recent years, including at NICAR24 in Baltimore.

"There was plenty of queer joy and connection among LGBTQ+ members and allies at NICAR24, and we’re expecting a similar spirit of camaraderie in Anaheim," said Olivia Sanchez, chair of IRE's LGBTQ+ subcommittee.

The LGBTQ+ networking and listening session at NICAR24 in Baltimore (March 2024).

Sanchez and Hinkle, IRE Board Vice President and chair of IRE's Member Services Committee, hosted the two-part networking event in Baltimore. Vara-Orta and Training Director Adam Rhodes also were hosts. The listening part of the gathering led to a broad-based discussion on ideas for possible conference and workshop sessions, which bore fruit at IRE24 and will help shape conferences in the future.

At the NICAR24 event, members showed interested in increasing resources that could lead to stronger coverage of LGBTQ+ issues and finding ways to fill gaps for incomplete or inaccurate data related to queer and trans communities. These conversations are essential in helping IRE provide relevant and culturally competent training for its global membership.

If you have ideas or would like to contribute to this work, reach out to Vara-Orta at Committees for 2024-25 will be appointed in July and August, and volunteers are welcome!

Francisco Vara-Orta is IRE's Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Josh Hinkle, of KXAN-TV in Austin, is IRE Board Vice President and chair of IRE’s member services committee. Olivia Sanchez, of The Hechinger Report, based in Portland, Oregon, is chair of the LGBTQ+ subcommittee.

IRE24 will take place June 20-23 in Anaheim, California. Learn more about the conference here.

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