CIR receives $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today that the Center for Investigative Reporting is one of 15 organizations in six countries that has received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. At a time of extreme change and turmoil in the world of news, MacArthur’s recognition and investment in CIR underscores the value and influence investigative news has in today’s world. 

This award, which comes with a $1 million grant for capacity building and sustainability, recognizes organizations that provide new ways of addressing problems, generate provocative ideas, innovate within their field, reframe the debate and have impact altogether disproportionate to their size.

The MacArthur honor is a tribute to our hardworking 39-person staff. CIR has expanded over the last four years from a struggling nonprofit with a 35-year legacy and a staff of seven, to an innovative leader in multiplatform accountability journalism. And all this during a time when investigative reporting has been decimated in newsrooms around the country and the world.

Being part of this team energizes me every day. They are an incredible group of people who are committed to high quality journalism and finding new ways to engage and reach audiences. They have gotten us here as a team.

Over the last few years, with the launch of our award-winning California Watch project, the addition of our video production team, and our expansion into data production and reporting, we have helped pioneer a collaborative journalism model both internally and externally. We have experimented with new forms of reporting, from animations to interactive data maps to coloring books. We’ve worked with local, state and national media partners to expand the reach of our work. Over the last few years, we have produced stories that have led to real change, helped people identify and connect with problems right where they live and have set a new standard for broad, multimedia distribution.

When I came here four years ago, I never could have imagined we’d be where we are today. This award will provide crucial support as we continue on this great adventure of reinventing journalism. Stay tuned for more. 

Robert Rosenthal is executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting. 

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