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Seven SUNY New Paltz students selected as finalists in Investigative Reporters & Editors awards

NEW PALTZ – An article written by seven SUNY New Paltz journalism students was a finalist in the Student category of the annual Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) awards.

The story, “Local officials are likely to profit from fracking in Southern Tier,” was researched and written by Andrew Wyrich (’13), Julie Mansmann (’12), Cat Tacopina (’14), Maria Jayne (’12), Pete Spengeman (’12), Brian Coleman (’12) and Beth Curran (’13). As a class project the students worked on the article for the Seminar in Enterprise and Investigative Reporting taught by Andrew Lehren, the 2012 James H. Ottaway Sr. Visiting Professor of Journalism and an investigative reporter for The New York Times. It appeared in The Legislative Gazette on July 2, 2012.

Fellow competitors within this category were Ohio University, Columbia Journalism School, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Contest entries are screened and judged by IRE members who are working journalists. The IRE Awards program is unique among journalism contests in the extent of its efforts to avoid conflicts of interest. Work that includes any significant role by a member of the IRE Board of Directors or an IRE contest judge may not be entered in the contest.

The IRE Awards will be presented at a luncheon on Saturday, June 22 at the 2013 IRE Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

IRE, founded in 1975, is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to training and supporting journalists who pursue investigative stories, and it operates the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, a joint program of IRE and the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Ottaway professorship program, which brought Andrew Lehren to campus to teach in the spring 2012 semester, is named for the founder of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., now the Dow Jones Local Media Group. The flagship newspaper of the chain is the Times Herald-Record in Middletown.