The annual IRE Awards recognize outstanding investigative work in several categories. The top award given is the IRE Medal. The contest also helps identify the techniques and resources used to complete each story. Entries are placed in the IRE Resource Center, allowing members to learn from each other.
It's important to note that the IRE Awards program is unique in its efforts to avoid conflicts of interest. Work that included any significant role by a member of the IRE Board of Directors or an IRE contest judge may not be entered in the contest. This often represents a significant sacrifice on the part of the individual — and sometimes an entire newsroom. The IRE membership appreciates this devotion to the values of the organization.
Entries will be judged on the basis of the IRE definition of investigative reporting:
"The reporting, through one's own initiative and work product, of matters of importance to readers, viewers or listeners. In many cases, the subjects of the reporting wish the matters under scrutiny to remain undisclosed."
Thus, entries will be judged on the following criteria. They must:
* be substantially the product of the reporter's own initiative and effort.
* uncover facts that someone or some agency may have tried to keep from public scrutiny
* be about issues of public importance to the readers, viewers or listeners.