Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. IRE was formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the world could help each other by sharing story ideas, newsgathering techniques and news sources.
IRE provides members access to thousands of reporting tip sheets and other materials through its resource center and hosts conferences and specialized training throughout the country. Programs of IRE include the National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting.
Learn more about joining IRE and the benefits of membership.
The mission of Investigative Reporters and Editors is to foster excellence in investigative journalism, which is essential to a free society. We accomplish this by:
- Providing training, resources and a community of support to investigative journalists.
- Promoting high professional standards.
- Protecting the rights of investigative journalists.
- Ensuring the future of IRE
Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. began in 1975 as the brain child of a small group of reporters from around the country who wanted to share tips about reporting and writing.
A meeting was organized in Reston, Va., by essentially four people: Myrta Pulliam and Harley Bierce of the Indianapolis Star’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team; Paul Williams, former managing editor of Sun Newspapers in Omaha, who worked on the Boys Town expose; and Ron Koziol of the Chicago Tribune, who covered police and courts.
Others at that inaugural get-together were columnists Jack Anderson and Les Whitten; David Burnham of the New York Times; Len Downie of The Washington Post; Robert Peirce of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat; Jack Landau of Newhouse newspapers; Frank Anderson of the Long Beach Independent; John Colburn of Landmark Communications; Indianapolis attorney Edward O. DeLaney and former New Orleans reporter Robert Friedly.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which had passed resolutions supporting freedom of information, helped in the formation of IRE, including the design of the first IRE logo. A grant from the Lilly Endowment also helped IRE get started with a $5,278 bank account.
About 300 reporters attended the first IRE conference in Indianapolis a year after the Virginia meeting. For three days, experienced journalists offered advice in 90-minute segments on how to tackle everything from city hall to ethical problems.
The conference was significant for two reasons. Not only had a group of reporters and editors struck upon a highly successful model for sharing information, the organization voted to turn down a major grant from a non-journalistic foundation. The new membership was determined to rely upon the support of professional organizations and journalists themselves.
How IRE got its name
At the organizational meeting, Les Whitten asserted that what most characterizes the investigative reporter is “a sense of outrage.”
During the course of the meeting (and with the help of a dictionary), it was determined that the simplicity of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the resultant acronym, IRE, seemed to fit such an association.
Reporters and editors who had been investigative reporters or who had organized investigative teams were at the initial meeting in Reston. They remain the backbone of the organization, although professors, students, freelancers and book authors also have joined IRE.