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Cronkite School Primary Sponsor of IRE Conference

May 14, 2007

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of the primary sponsors of this year’s Investigative Reporters and Editors conference to be held in Phoenix in June.

The 31st annual IRE conference is expected to draw more than 800 of the country’s leading journalists for four days of workshops, speakers and hands-on training sessions in investigative reporting practices and techniques. The conference will be held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa June 7-10.

This year’s conference honors Don Bolles, a founding member of IRE and an Arizona Republic reporter who was murdered in retaliation for his investigations into corruption in Arizona politics. In the year following Bolles’ 1976 death, reporters and editors from around the country converged on Phoenix to finish the work that Bolles had started. The 2007 IRE conference will commemorate the 30th anniversary of that work, known as the Arizona Project.

The commemoration will feature work done by a group of advanced journalism students in the Cronkite School students who spent a semester examining the legacy of Bolles and the Arizona Project and exploring the state of investigative reporting in the media today. The students’ stories, which were published in The Arizona Republic and on azcentral.com last year, will be mounted and displayed in a special exhibit and will be reprinted in a special publication to be distributed to conference attendees.

A panel on the Arizona Project will be moderated by Kristin Gilger, assistant dean of the Cronkite School, who supervised the students’ work. Gilger also will participate in a panel discussion on teaching investigative journalism.

Cronkite School Knight Chair Steve Doig, a longtime IRE board member, will teach two sessions on investigative reporting techniques, and Mark Lodato, news director and professor of practice in the Cronkite School, will serve on a panel on how local television stations can pursue investigations. In addition, Andrew Leckey, director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, headquartered at the Cronkite School, will moderate a panel on investigative business journalism. The Reynolds Center is also a sponsor of the conference.

More than two dozen Cronkite students will be in attendance, serving as volunteer workers and attending sessions.

“IRE is one of the most important journalism organizations in the United States, and its conference is arguably the best and most useful for working reporters and editors seeking to produce meaningful, in-depth journalism,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “We are honored to help sponsor this year’s IRE conference in our home town.”

This year’s conference is hosted by The Arizona Republic. In addition to the Cronkite School, primary sponsors include Bloomberg, ABC15 and Sunbelt Communications

IRE is a grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting across the world. It was founded in 1975.