'Reinventing Journalism' recounts executive director's trials, tribulations in new journalism business model

Today, we’re releasing “Reinventing Journalism,” Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal’s personal account of joining the Center for Investigative Reporting and launching California Watch. We hope that the report, written at the request of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will help other nonprofit reporting ventures learn from our experience and shed light on where the rapidly changing landscape of journalism, and especially investigative reporting, might be headed.

As he says in the opening paragraph, Robert had no idea what he was getting into when he walked into CIR in 2008. “Reinventing Journalism” is his personal account of finding his way: from his own history as a copyboy and young reporter, to assignments around the world, to being in the ring for the collapse of the traditional media business model, to seizing the opportunity to create a new kind of journalism organization, to his own evolution from journalist to what he calls “salesman/evangelical entrepreneur.”

Robert writes about becoming a fundraiser and its excruciating challenges; describes the launch of California Watch and how the distribution and impact of its first stories exceeded his wildest expectations; and addresses the search for sustainability and looking forward to the future of investigative reporting and the nonprofit model. Lastly, he distills his top 10 lessons learned.

“Reinventing Journalism” is available here online and here as a PDF. Or, through a partnership with Byliner, you can download the eBook from Project Gutenberg. Google’s eBookstore and Apple’s iBooks links to come soon.

We’re also hoping you’ll take a look at our new video about California Watch, produced by superstar intern Ariane Wu.

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