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Ron Nixon to keynote IRE21 virtual conference

Ron Nixon, global investigations editor for The Associated Press and a longtime IRE member, will be the keynote speaker at the IRE21 virtual conference in June.

The conference will include several other featured speakers who will talk about their experiences covering the pandemic, social justice protests, Asian-American hate, international corruption and more.

As the keynote speaker, Nixon embodies the spirit of IRE through his commitment to mentorship, training and volunteering with the organization.

“The board is excited to have chosen Ron as the keynote for this year’s annual conference,” IRE Board President Cheryl W. Thompson said. “Whether it’s mentoring younger IRE members or pitching in on a panel, Ron has contributed so much to this organization over the years. And his commitment to diversity is unwavering. We look forward to his inspiring message.”

Nixon joined the AP in early 2019 as international investigations editor, managing a team of investigative reporters in the U.S. and abroad. He was promoted to global investigations editor in March 2020.

Nixon has a passion for training and mentoring other journalists. He was training director at IRE from 2000 to 2003 and also is co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society, which trains journalists of color in investigative techniques.

He started his journalism career at South Carolina Black Media, a statewide weekly Black newspaper, and also has worked as data editor at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and as environment and investigative reporter at The Roanoke Times in Virginia.

Prior to joining the AP, Nixon was homeland security correspondent for the New York Times. He has reported from Mexico, Belgium, Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among other places. He is author of the book “Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda War.”

He has won numerous accolades during his career, including most recently the News Leader of the Year Award, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism, Virginia Press Association Public Service Award and the National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award.

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Dr. Sheri Fink, a correspondent at The New York Times, in conversation with Caroline Chen, who covers health care for ProPublica 
Fink's recent work has focused on hospitals treating Covid-19 patients and on other aspects of the pandemic, including, with Mike Baker, "It's Just Everywhere Already," which received a Sidney journalism award. A former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, Fink received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Julia Gavarrete, a Salvadoran journalist for El Faro, in conversation with Patricia Clarembaux of Univision 
Gavarrete specializes in political issues, violence and its impact on children and vulnerable communities. One of her main objectives as an investigative journalist is to open a space for a form of storytelling not fully explored in El Salvador: giving a human face to the problems faced by a country full of stories. She's collaborated with The New Yorker, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Elle, ProPublica, Univision and more.
David Jackson, a senior investigative reporter at Better Government Association, in conversation with Ellen Gabler of The New York Times 
Jackson was a longtime investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune and left last year after leading efforts to recruit local investors to purchase the paper from the hedge fund AldenGlobal Capital. At the Tribune he was a four-time Pulitzer finalist for articles that prompted law enforcement indictments and legislative reforms. His investigations often focus on injustices faced by vulnerable populations.
Michelle Ye Hee Lee, incoming Tokyo bureau chief of The Washington Post, in conversation with Vicky Nguyen of NBC News 
Lee also is president of the Asian American Journalists Association, which has been providing guidance for journalists covering hate and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, especially in the wake of the Atlanta mass shooting in March. Previously, Lee covered diplomacy, election administration and money and influence in politics on the national political enterprise and accountability team and was a reporter for The Post's Fact Checker. Before joining The Post in 2014, she was a government accountability reporter at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix.
Romina Mella, senior investigative reporter and founding member of IDL-Reporteros, an independent investigative media outlet in Peru, in conversation with Mark Rochester, managing editor at inewsource in San Diego
IDL-Reporteros is the first digital, non-profit media outlet in Peru wholly dedicated to investigative journalism. Founded in 2010, IDL-Reporteros has published more than 1,400 stories about corruption at the top levels of government and corporations, drug trafficking, organized crime, extractive industries and violations of consumer rights.
Pierre Thomas, chief justice correspondent for ABC News, in conversation with Cheryl W. Thompson, senior editor for station investigations and investigative correspondent for NPR
Thomas has covered many national news stories, including the death of George Floyd and the following protests against racial injustice and police brutality; the Mueller investigation; and investigations into how COVID-19 spread so quickly throughout the U.S. He has been with ABC since November 2000. 
Wendi C.Thomas, founder, editor and publisher of MLK50:Justice Through Journalism, in conversation with Tisha Thompson of ESPN
Thomas founded MLK50 in 2017 as a one-year project that grew into a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on poverty, power and public policy in Memphis. She is the 2020 Selden Ring Award winner for investigative reporting, and won an IRE Award in 2019 for her “Profiting from the Poor” investigation.
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