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Run for the IRE board

We are now accepting applications for candidates for the IRE Board of Directors. Below you'll find an article written for the current IRE Journal by Board member Sarah Cohen explaining more about what it means to serve on IRE's Board, and details on how to file. If you have questions, you can contact me at If you're interested in running, make sure you get your name to John by May 3 to make sure you're on the first absentee ballots.  Submit your declaration of candidacy to IRE membership coordinator John Green at


By Sarah Cohen

It’s time to start thinking about running for the IRE board of directors. If you think you are ready to give back to the organization that has meant so much to your career, consider running for the IRE board this year. IRE is doing well under Mark Horvit’s steady hand, but we always need our members to help us improve even more.

What does a board do? It doesn’t run IRE. Instead, it makes broad policy decisions and sets priorities, and then trusts the able staff to put them into place. In recent years, the board has set policy on organizations we will solicit for conference sponsorships and how to adapt the annual contest so it reflects the melding of media.

Six seats up for election on IRE board

The filing period will begin April 1st for those planning to run for the IRE board of directors. Six seats on the 13-member board are up for election. The election will be held June 22 at the IRE conference in San Antonio.

The IRE board serves as the governing body of IRE and generally meets in person twice a year to discuss and vote on IRE business. One meeting is at the annual conference in June.

The board periodically has conference calls. Directors serve on committees and task forces made up of board members and appointed non-board IRE members.

The seats are for two-year terms, and incumbents may seek re-election. A board position is unpaid; board members and their news organizations are expected to pay all, or a substantial amount, of travel expenses to board meeting

IRE will provide limited help in cases of need. Candidates must be IRE members in the professional or academic category. Board members are expected to help raise funds and contribute financia l or other resources to the organization. In addition, they lose eligibility to enter the IRE Awards contest for entries in which they have a significant role.

Here is the schedule of this year’s elections. Full information about election procedures is available at the board elections page.

2013 BOD Election Timeline

  • April 1 – Open date for declaration to run for IRE BOD
  • May 3 – Deadline for candidates to file
  • May 8 – Online absentee voting begins; candidate statements posted at
  • June 7 – Deadline for candidates to be listed at
  • June 19 – Absentee voting CLOSES
  • June 21 – Deadline to file – 12 noon CDT
  • June 22 – Election

A good IRE board reflects diversity of all kinds – ethnic and gender as well as a mix of specialties from narrative authors to data journalists. We need those in diverse media, from the newest nonprofit online newsroom to broadcasters in local TV markets. We need journalists from smaller and nonprofit news organizations, those working on their own and those in more traditional large newsrooms.And we need reporters, editors, producers and professors. Some experience in raising funds or sitting on another board is useful and many successful candidates have volunteered for IRE committees or as speakers or Journal contributors. But being able to give time and energy as an ambassador for IRE is just as important.

It’s not expensive to join the board. Yes, we ask all board members to donate something to IRE – foundations frown on organizations that can’t get all of their board members to contribute. But it doesn’t have to be a lot. Some boards use this guideline: consider IRE to be one of your top three causes of the year, no matter how much or how little that is. The board has also reduced the out-of-pocket costs, understanding that most of us can’t rely on our news organizations to pay for our travel. We meet in person only twice a year: once on the Thursday of the annual conference, and another time in the fall at an inexpensive hotel near the St. Louis airport.

This year, we want you to think about your candidacy earlier. One reason is that we want to improve turnout among people who can’t attend the conference. In an organization of more than 4,000 members, about 900 members attend the conference but only about 75 of the rest vote absentee. To that end, we’ll ask every board candidate to answer a standard set of questions and allow emailing ballots to a private mailbox that won’t be opened until Election Day during the conference. We may also hold some online candidate forums and publicize the ability to vote absentee more aggressively. This means that getting your message out to all of IRE matters even more. Call or write me if you’d like to discuss your candidacy or anything else about governance at IRE. And even if you don’t want to run or if you can’t come to the June conference in San Antonio – please vote.

Sarah Cohen is secretary of the IRE board of directors. She may be reached at or (212) 556-8027.

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