CIR launches The I Files on YouTube


Berkeley, Calif. – The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) announced today the launch of The I Files on YouTube, a new investigative news channel that will be a hub of the best investigative reporting from around the world.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the first-of-its kind channel on YouTube will be curated by CIR. It will feature contributions from media partners including ABC News, BBC, The New York Times, Al-Jazeera and the Investigative News Network (INN), which consists of 60 nonprofit news organizations including the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Investigative Reporting Workshop, ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity.

CIR will also include videos from freelance video journalists and independent filmmakers from around the globe.   

The I Files can be viewed at

“The launch of the new investigative YouTube channel, The I Files, in association with INN, reflects CIR's belief that collaboration and partnership are crucial to the sustainability of investigative, public service journalism,” said Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of CIR. “There is enormous potential in finding new audiences to magnify the impact of all of the partners participating in The I Files. The Center for Investigative Reporting is honored to be part of this important effort.”

INN CEO Kevin Davis will manage the INN business relationship with YouTube and help raise the visibility, production capacity and revenue for investigative video created by its members.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, YouTube is becoming a major platform for viewing news worldwide. The report found that “a complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news organizations on YouTube, a relationship that comes close to the continuous journalistic ‘dialogue’ many observers predicted would become the new journalism online.”

David Gehring, news partnerships manager at YouTube, said, “Since its early days, YouTube has been a place where people turn to better understand the world around them. Quality investigative reporting is a critical part of being an informed citizen, and The I Files YouTube channel is going to foster more local and global conversations about the issues that matter most.”

CIR will leverage YouTube data and analytics to help the investigative news community develop best practices in Web video.

The debut of The I Files channel features 10 investigative videos and several playlists showcasing the work of a wide range of contributors from The New York Times to students from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. CIR’s contribution includes two exclusive, never-before-seen stories: "Jane Doe 1," the first-ever interview with the woman whose court testimony about rape and child molestation exposed and brought down Yusuf Bey Sr., the founder of a black Muslim group responsible for the murder of African-American journalist Chauncey Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007, in downtown Oakland; and "The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers," an animated video that takes a quirky, light-hearted approach to a serious subject – the environmental costs of producing one of America's favorite foods.

Other videos include The New York Times' three-part series "Punched Out," about the life and death of a National Hockey League enforcer; an ABC News award-winning three-part investigation into the death of an American Peace Corps volunteer abroad; and a series of reports from inside Syria, where a BBC reporter has spent weeks with Syrian rebels as they organize and launch attacks against government forces.

“The I Files is poised to make investigative reporting more Web-centric, vibrant and social, in a way we hope attracts more viewers and interest for the enterprise journalism communities depend on,” said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation, which is providing $800,000 in initial support. “We’re especially looking forward to seeing local news operations use this platform to engage in issues that matter for their communities.”

The I Files premiere also features stories from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting about child brides around the world; an in-depth interview with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about the legacy of Watergate from the Investigative Reporting Workshop; and a report by the Center for Public Integrity about a criminal case brought against UCLA and a prominent professor in the death of a chemistry lab researcher.

“As American news organizations face business conditions that seem to make ambitious, original investigative and accountability reporting harder than ever, BBC News is very proud to be a part of this investigative news hub that convenes much of the great video work that is being done,” said Dick Meyer, executive producer of BBC News in America.

The I Files has been developed at CIR by Director of Digital Media Sharon Tiller and Chief Strategy Officer Joaquin Alvarado and a production team including Stephen Talbot, senior producer for The I Files, producer Amanda Pike, Web producer Sam Ward and social media coordinator Julia B. Chan. 

To engage the next generation of investigative journalists, CIR is launching The I Files Future Award, a contest challenging journalism school students nationwide to submit their best investigative videos, with the best winning a $2,500 prize. The deadline to enter is Oct. 31, and the 10 best videos will be featured on The I Files, with the overall winner determined by public voting.

To learn more about The I Files, visit:



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, 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 and

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

About Investigative News Network

INN was founded in 2009 to help the increasing number of nonprofit newsrooms pool resources, promote editorial collaborations and get wider distribution of their work. INN is composed of organizations that produce nonpartisan investigative and public service journalism of regional, national and international scope. INN members produce original, multimedia long-form and ongoing stories and analyses of public data to better inform the communities they serve.



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