Tag Archives: center for public integrity

#ijf11: Charles Lewis on the ‘interesting ecosystem’ of non-profit news

There are more than 50 non-profit journalism organisations operating today in the US, which leads the rest of the world in investigative journalism funded by private donations.

A sizable number of them – eight at last count – were founded by veteran US journalist Charles Lewis, including the Center for Public Integrity (CFPI), which has gone from his bedroom to having more than 40 staff and a budget of more than $8 million.

Lewis now runs the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW), which employs 14 staff, a third of which are students.

He said that the IRW was purposely “trying to mix the generations”, adding that having young people around vastly increases the organisation’s capacity to innovate.

Like the CFPI, the workshop also has a none-too-shabby budget of $2.2 million a year.

But speaking on an International Journalism Festival panel today on how small online news outlets can have an impact, Lewis said that millions of dollars and scores of staff were not a prerequsite for doing in-depth investigative work.

There is a non-profit in San-Diego that is doing this kind of work and they have two  people. They have done five impactful investigations.

One of the ways you do that is data. In San Diego they took the response times of ambulances in the city, and looked at how they differed over certain areas. This came from one dataset and one guy did it, over a few months.

Great journalism can be done by a few people.

Speaking to me after the session, Lewis said that with the rise of non-profits there was an “interesting ecosystem emerging” in US news.

Listen to more from Lewis on the future of that system and in the US and the future of the relationship of non-profits and traditional mainstream media:


New York Times: Center for Public Integrity to launch investigative journalism site

The Center for Public Integrity is to launch a new site dedicated to investigative journalism this month, New York Times reports on its Media Decoder blog.

The Web site, called iWatch News, will be updated daily with 10 to 12 original investigative pieces and aggregated content from other sources. The site will include articles that focus on money and politics, government accountability, health care, the environment and national security.

The Times’ blog post also reports that advertising will be sold on the new site although readers who do not want to see ads will be able to subscribe to an advertising-free digital edition for tablets and smartphones for $50 a year.

See the full report on Media Decoder at this link.

Center for Public Integrity strikes content deal with Newsweek and Daily Beast

The Center for Public Integrity, a US non-profit investigative journalism organisation, will provide exclusive content to Newsweek and the Daily Beast as part of a new agreement announced this week.

The Center’s executive director William Buzenberg said in a statement today that the new deal is a “tremendous opportunity” for the organisation to provide its journalism to a new audience and get paid for its work.

See the full release on the agreement here.

Non-profit investigative journalism centres around the world: a list

Jessica Weiss’ piece about ‘Investigative 2.0’ on the International Journalists’ Network, flags up that there are now more than 50 non-profit investigative journalism organisations around the world:

“The first three nonprofits dedicated to investigative journalism were all American: the Fund for Investigative Journalism (1969), Investigative Reporters and Editors (1975), and the Center for Investigative Reporting (1977).

“Now, there are more than 50 worldwide, and more than half of those are since 2000. Global networks such as ICIJ – made up of 100 journalists in 50 countries, and currently looking to expand – are providing the platform for reporters to connect for cross-border investigations. Local and regional centers, such as Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism; the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, and the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR), connect journalists for reporting, networking, conferences, trainings and more. FAIR is sponsoring Africa’s first big investigative reporting conference later this month in Johannesburg.”

You can find a list of excellent resources on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists page at this link.

Using the Center for International Media report on strategies for support for investigative journalism, with the first survey of nonprofit journalism centers worldwide, the consortium (led by the Center for Public Integrity) has produced a list of over 35 around the world:

Forum for African Investigative Reporters

Ghana Center for Public Integrity & Focal Media

Nepal Center for Investigative Reporting

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Eastern Europe
Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network

Bosnia Center for Investigative Reporting

BTC ProMedia Foundation, Bulgaria

Bulgarian Investigative Journalism Center

Investigative Journalists of Armenia

Media Focus — Center for Investigative Reporting, Serbia

Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism

Former Soviet Union
Caucus Media Investigative Center, Azerbaijan

Investigative Journalism Center of Moldova

Latin America
ABRAJI — Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism

Center for Journalism and Public Ethics, Mexico

Chilean Center for Investigative Journalism and Information
Consejo de Redacción, Colombia

Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), Peru

Middle East
Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, Jordan

United States
Center for Investigative Reporting, San Francisco

Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C.

Fund for Investigative Journalism, Washington, D.C.

Investigative Reporters and Editors

ProPublica, New York

Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University

Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Columbia University

Western Europe
Centre for Investigative Journalism, London

Danish Association of Investigative Journalism

European Journalism Centre, Netherlands

Finnish Association for Investigative Journalism

Foreningen Gravande Journalister, Sweden

Investigative Reporters Network Europe

Norwegian Foundation for Investigative Journalism

Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative Journalism, Belgium

SCOOP, Denmark

Swiss Investigation Network

Dutch-Flemish Association for Investigative Journalism (VVOJ)

New York Times: AP to distribute non-profit journalism

The Associated Press has signed a deal to distribute the work of of four non-profit journalism groups.

Work by the Center for Public Integrity, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and ProPublica will be free for publication by the agency’s 1,500 newspaper members.

Full story at this link…

What would a UK-based ProPublica look like?

In today’s MediaGuardian, City University of New York (CUNY) journalism professor Jeff Jarvis writes that that foundations will not take over newspapers, à la Scott Trust / Guardian relationship. He told Journalism.co.uk: “It is an empty hope for white knights to save news from inevitable change and business reality. But he says: “We’ll see foundation and public support able to fund a decent number of investigations.”

Yesterday, Journalism.co.uk published comments from New York University (NYU) professor, Jay Rosen, and ProPublica’s managing editor, Stephen Engelberg, as well as from Jarvis in a feature looking at the sustainability of ‘lump sum’ funded journalism – they all said that the point was not to look at ‘one solution’ but at a hybrid of funding opportunities (an issue picked up by Julie Starr here.)

US-based ProPublica, funded by the Sandler Foundation, for example, employs full-time journalists to conduct investigations which are then supplied to other media bodies. Journalism.co.uk raised the point with some of the NYJournalism interviewees (fuller features forthcoming) that similar foundation funding is a bit trickier to come by in the UK: just what would a UK version of ProPublica look like and could it be funded?

Would the equivalent of ProPublica work over here? Or, for that matter, something in the mould of Spot.Us, New America Media, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, or the Center for Public Integrity?

Last week the Guardian’s Stephen Moss mentioned Paul Bradshaw’s new project, HelpMeInvestigate.com in his giant G2 feature on the troubled regional newspaper industry. It’s a proposal not quite on the scale of ProPublica, which has an annual operating budget of $10 million, and it’s seen success so far, making it to third stage of the (American) Knight News Challenge 2009 and it awaits news of further progress.

How about existing organisations in the UK? There’s the Centre for Investigative Journalism with its annual summer school, but it doesn’t run and supply investigations in the way ProPublica does. There’s MySociety which can help journalists with stories, but is not designed as a primarily journalistic venture.

Author of Flat Earth News, Nick Davies, has previously told the Press Gazette (which has just announced its last issue) about his idea of models of ‘mini-media’.

“It may be that we are looking at funding mini-media or a foundation that will give money to groups of journalists if they can pass the quality threshold,” Davies said at an National Union of Journalists (NUJ) event in January, as Press Gazette reported.

“The greatest question in journalism today is what will be our ‘third source’ of funding,” Davies told Journalism.co.uk last week.

“If advertising and circulation can no longer pay for our editorial operation, we have to find this third source.

“I suspect that place by place and case by case, the answer to the question will be different, a matter of wrapping up whatever package of cash is possible, using donations or grants or sponsorship or micropayments from foundations, rich individuals, local councils, businesses, NGOs, universities – anybody who can understand that the collapse of newspapers is not just about journalists losing their jobs but about everybody losing an essential source of information.

“And in an ideal world, central government would lead the way by setting up a New Media Fund to provide seed money to help these non-profit mini-media to establish themselves and to find their particular third source.”

So could a third source-funded model work? And what shape would it take? It’s a question Journalism.co.uk will continue to ask. Please share your thoughts below.