An IRE Book, Contest, Video Drive

By: Joe Strupp

Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) is in the midst of its biggest membership drive in years. And to help sweeten the incentive for new members, the organization is offering a drawing for a free trip to its 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

Each new $60 dues-paying member is eligible for the prize, as well as a chance at a $150 credit for use in the IRE databases, or $50 worth of IRE books ? including its first ever e-book on crime statistics. With membership dropping from 4,200 just two years ago to some 3,300 today, the need is obvious, say organizers. “We have not done it like this before,” Membership Coordinator John Green says of the drive. “The drawing for a chance to come to the conference is a good way to reiterate what we do.”

IRE leaders also created a three-minute YouTube video with members extolling the resources the organization offers, from its open-access lobbying to its numerous databases. Among them, Pulitzer Prize-winner Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times, who says IRE “inspired me and gave me direction.” MaryJo Webster of the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press calls IRE “the greatest springboard of my career”: Job offers now come to her, for a change.

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