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Border Patrol wins first 'golden padlock' award

Posted: June 25, 2013 | Tags: IRE

More than 1,200 journalists from around the world showed up last week in San Antonio for the annual Investigative Reporters and Editors conference. From my perspective, here are some of the memorable moments:

  • The IRE awards luncheon (my Tweet: “The best hour in journalism”) is always a highlight. But this year’s keynote speech by Mexican journalist Marcela Turati was one of the most powerful I have ever heard. With chilling detail she described the violence the drug cartels are visiting on her country — and how the cartels intimidate and murder journalists in order to help prolong their reign of terror. Among those receiving IRE awards was FRONTLINE producer Rick Young, who has made four FRONTLINE documentaries at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. 
  • The Inaugural Golden Padlock Award

    Photo by Travis Hartman

  • The awards lunch also included the first-ever IRE Golden Padlock award, which will be given to a government agency that goes the extra mile to frustrate journalists’ attempts to get access to records and documents. The inaugural winner — among several strong contenders — was the U.S. Border Patrol.  “The U.S. Border Patrol's resounding silence on fatal shootings involving its agents epitomizes the kind of intransigence for which this award was created,” said IRE president David Cay Johnston. “Accountability is an essential element of any public agency, but all the more so when its agents are empowered to fire weapons that kill. The Border Agency appears to have forgotten that duty.” 
  • The annual International Luncheon drew more than 100 journalists from more than 40 nations. The American University School of Communication, and more recently the Investigative Reporting Workshop, has been sponsoring this event since 2003. 




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