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Join IRE online in October for DBEI Symposium exploring equity in newsrooms and news coverage

IRE’s first symposium on diversity and inclusion is going online Oct. 21-22, allowing members to join safely from their hometowns around the world as the pandemic continues.

The DBEI Symposium on diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion had originally been planned as a hybrid event, including an in-person component in Baltimore, but IRE is moving the event fully online because of the continued uncertainty of the coronavirus delta variant situation.

“IRE already had a robust virtual program well underway for the symposium and our staff and supporters are now finalizing the transition to fully virtual as we count down the weeks to this unique event,” said IRE Executive Director Diana Fuentes. “We’re working to create a safe environment to engage in difficult discussions about diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion issues. These discussions — and subsequent actions — are vital for the future of our industry. We hope you’ll join us.”

The symposium schedule can be viewed here, and new sessions and speakers are continually being added. The symposium will include a mix of panels, small-group conversations, networking and master classes, which are 2- to 3-hour deep-dive workshops. All sessions are included in the registration fee of $150 for professional members or $50 for student members. IRE membership is required to attend.

Sessions will provide journalists with tools to help make their newsrooms more diverse and inclusive as well as how to better cover historically marginalized communities and topics. There will be sessions geared toward reporters, editors, educators and students.

“We’ve got plenty of work to do to get to all the dimensions of DBEI work we are called to in order to improve our journalism, and IRE is committed to helping push those conversations forward,” said Francisco Vara-Orta, IRE’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion. “It’s a pivotal moment in history to rise to the occasion for journalists, and these panels we hope will help our colleagues feel better equipped to tackle their work inside and outside of newsrooms with more specific guidance and support.”

The symposium will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time on both days, to allow for participation across the United States and around the world. Training sessions will be recorded and available for attendees on demand on the conference platform after the conference is over. 

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions. 

What will registration cost for the virtual DBEI21 symposium?

Registration rates are:

  • Professional, Academic, Associate and Retiree: $150
  • Student: $50

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

Will you have fellowships available?

Yes! With the switch to a virtual format, IRE anticipates having more fellowships available that cover the cost of registration and a one-year IRE membership. Click here for more information and to apply. You also can sign up for our DBEI21 Symposium newsletter to receive more information about fellowships as it is released. 

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

Attendees will access session links on the Guidebook platform. The conference site will be private and accessible only to attendees. You will receive access to the conference platform about a week prior to the conference. 

Will I need special equipment or software to participate?

All you’ll need is Internet access and a computer, laptop or tablet — much as you need to participate in an online video meeting. Google Chrome is the recommended browser, and attendees will need to download Zoom to access sessions

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 (excluding networking and small-group conversations) will be recorded and available to attendees following the conference. You can view them at your convenience. Most sessions will include video plus any related tipsheets and slide decks.

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 #DBEI21 conference?

The virtual platform offers many enticing opportunities for sponsors. If you’d like information on the benefits of sponsoring #DBEI21, please contact Anna Lopez, IRE director of partnerships, by email:

How can I keep up with new developments connected to #DBEI21?

Just sign up here to receive e-mail updates about #DBEI21. It’s the best way to stay up-to-date on the latest virtual conference news. 

What if I have other questions?

Please contact We’re here to help!

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