CIR to launch investigative news channel on YouTube

BERKELEY, Calif. – The Center for Investigative Reporting announced today it will launch a new investigative news channel on YouTube that will be a hub of investigative journalism, with $800,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

CIR, the nonprofit investigative reporting organization that has produced numerous award-winning investigations, will curate the YouTube channel, which is expected to launch in July 2012. Journalists will be trained in audience engagement and other best practices for online video. The Investigative News Network (INN) will also be responsible for working with its member organizations to leverage the channel to reach new audiences and increase the amount of earned revenue to subsidize their public-interest journalism.

"This collaboration is poised to bring investigative reporting authoritatively onto the social web,” said Michael Maness, vice president for media innovation and journalism at Knight Foundation, which promotes informed and engaged communities. “We hope it will engage audiences and expand public appetite for visual storytelling.”

Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of CIR, said: “One of the goals of this partnership will be to raise the profile and visibility of high-impact storytelling through video. We hope this initiative generates revenue that supports the work of nonprofit organizations and independent filmmakers everywhere. Collaborative efforts like this are no longer the future of journalism; they are today's reality.”

The investigative news channel will feature videos from major broadcasters and independent producers, both national and global, nonprofit and for-profit. Contributors to the channel will include NPR, ABC News, The New York Times, CIR, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity, American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop, Independent Television Service, as well as other members of the Investigative News Network. CIR plans to add additional contributors and will seek submissions from freelance video journalists and independent filmmakers from around the globe.

CIR and INN will work together to promote the channel and to engage users in the content through social media and online chats.

"We are very excited at the opportunity to expand the size of the audience for public-interest journalism through the YouTube platform," said Kevin Davis, CEO  and executive director of the Investigative News Network, a 501(c)(3) organization that represents the interests of 60 nonprofit, nonpartisan newsrooms in North America. "We believe that this channel can increase the impact of accountability journalism in a way that both engages and informs."

Sharon Tiller, director of digital media for CIR, said, "The Knight grant gives CIR and INN the crucial startup funding to launch and curate a new YouTube channel that will be a dynamic hub for high-quality, high-impact investigative videos, stories from top news producers, but also a magnet for emerging talent from all over the world."

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

About the Center for Investigative Reporting

Founded in 1977, the Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation's oldest nonprofit investigative news organization, producing unique, high-quality reporting that has impact and is relevant to people's lives. CIR’s newest venture, California Watch, is the largest investigative team in the state. The organization’s stories appear in hundreds of news outlets, including NPR News, PBS Frontline, PBS NewsHour, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, The Daily Beast, MinnPost and American Public Media’s Marketplace. CIR stories have received numerous journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award and the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Its reports have sparked state and federal hearings and legislation, United Nations resolutions, public-interest lawsuits and changes in corporate policies. For more information, please visit cironline.org and californiawatch.org.

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Contact: Lisa Cohen, 310-395-2544, lisa@lisacohen.org
Andrew Sherry, 305-908-2677, sherry@knightfoundation.org