Investigative Reporters and Editors names new director

Friday, October 19, 2007 | 6:42 p.m. CDT; updated 11:20 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Columbia-based Investigative Reporters and Editors announced the appointment of a new executive director Friday.

Mark Horvit, 43, the projects editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is scheduled to begin the job in January, IRE President James Grimaldi said.

Brant Houston, the current director, is leaving the position after 10 years to take the Knight Chair in Investigative Journalism at the University of Illinois. Houston is currently splitting time between the university and the organization.

The IRE was founded in 1975, and its Web site describes it as a “grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting.”

Grimaldi said the organization interviewed dozens of candidates over eight months, and the search was conducted by some of organization’s most respected figures. He said it was important to hire a director who is very dedicated to journalism because there are many roles involved in the position, including fundraising, teaching, managing and extensive traveling.

“He’s a ball of fire,” Grimaldi said of Horvit. “He is enthusiastic with a lot of ideas and had a track record of managing people.”

The position includes teaching the investigative journalism course at MU. Horvit will have to be approved as a faculty member at the university before officially taking the IRE position. Grimaldi did not foresee any problems because several MU faculty members met with the finalists for the position.

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