ANNOUNCING OUR 2020 FELLOWSHIPS
Congratulations to Jacy Marmaduke of The Fort Collins Coloradoan and Kaitlin Bain of The Beaumont Enterprise, who were selected for fellowships by the Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund.
The fund is paying for their registration to attend the 2020 national conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors (which is being held virtually this year because of the pandemic) as well as a yearlong membership to IRE.
The fund, which was established to honor and memorialize Mike Levine, a columnist and executive editor of the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., who died in 2007, is dedicated to helping journalists pursue “the news of the day with the compassion and craft that became the hallmark of Mike’s work.”
The fellowship was created specifically to benefit journalists with less than five years of experience working in daily or weekly print news organizations or digital-only news outlets.
Marmaduke covers city government and other local issues.
In her application, she described Fort Collins as “a scenic, mid-sized city laden with internet trophies for its mountain vistas, municipal progressivism and quality of life.”
But beyond its “awards and charm,” she said she wants to tell readers “more stories about what’s broken and what can be done to fix it.”
Among the topics she wants to tackle: housing, homelessness and police brutality.
As for what she hopes to get out of the IRE conference, she wrote: “I have specific investigative reporting goals in mind and plan to leave the conference with the training I need to tell these stories. I want to use public records and shoe-leather reporting to investigate criminal justice inequities, government shortcomings and predatory property management practices.”
Bain attended her first IRE conference in 2019. Since then she’s analyzed more than 2,000 pages of communications during a major explosion of a nearby petrochemical plant.
And that’s just the beginning of her digging.
“I am still using spreadsheets built using information about coronavirus cases and recoveries to fact check our local elected officials, point out alarming trends and deepen daily reporting," she wrote. “I also used confrontation skills from a workshop with Alanna Autler to confront county drainage district crews doing recovery work at supervisors’ homes on company time after another massive flood.”
She plans to use her IRE training to learn tools to analyze larger data sets for a project to determine who is using a tax law that allows property owners to contest their property values.
“We’ve seen it used largely to lower the taxes paid by petrochemical plants to local school district,” she said. “Because of that, this year the lowest-income district in our area will raise residents' taxes to offset the loss.”
We are pleased to award these fellowships and look forward to their next enterprise reporting!
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