A broadcast partnership between the Spanish-language Telemundo and the Weather Channel that shed light on hundreds of migrant deaths along a hot smuggling corridor in Texas, The Real Death Valley; and the work of one reporter at a small weekly in Willamette, Oregon – First Lady Inc. – that unseated a popular governor by probing into why his fiancee avoided filing disclosures under the state’s ethics laws were recognized Friday by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) with top medals of merit.

IRE also awarded the Wall Street Journal a FOIA medal of merit for it’s years of legal advocacy to get Medicare records released, which culminated last year in an unprecedented look at the nation’s $600 billion payer-of-last-resort for medical care. The paper also released the ensuing database to the nation allowing other news organizations to do their owner stories.

USA Today also was recognized for it’s work with a Tom Renner medal of merit for crime reporting for Fugitives Next Door, which had reporters across the country work together on a project that showed many fugitives avoiding prison time because they adeptly moved across state lines.

Voice of OC Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana Jr. traveled to Missouri this past month to IRE headquarters at the University of Missouri’s journalism school, along with other investigative news editors, as a contest judge to deliberate over finalists.

To see the full list of winners and finalists click here.

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 and DocumentCloud.

Learn more about joining IRE and the benefits of membership.

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