Berkeley, CA and Vancouver, British Columbia – Today, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and Paperny Films announced the launch of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project (www.coldcases.org), a multimedia investigation of unsolved civil rights murders that took place in the South decades ago. The project is an unprecedented collaboration, bringing together the power of award-winning investigative reporting, narrative writing, documentary filmmaking and interactive multimedia production to reveal the long-neglected truth behind the murders and the untold stories of victims of racial injustice. The Project’s reporters, including John Fleming, Ben Greenberg, Jerry Mitchell, Stanley Nelson, and Melvin Claxton, are well known for their investigative news reports, some of which prosecutors have used to build criminal cases against killers and conspirators who had walked free for more than 40 years. To date, every civil rights murder case that has been reopened and successfully prosecuted was the direct result of an investigation initiated by a journalist. “Investigative journalism has always played an important role in our democracy, and the Cold Case Project is no exception,” said Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting. “These investigations will reopen unsolved murders that still cause pain to families and divide our communities. By seeking truth and justice, these investigative journalists and all of the partners involved will have real impact by moving our country closer to its goal of leaving racial conflict behind.” The project is led by the Center for Investigative Reporting, Paperny Films and public television station WNET.org in New York, and also involves the National Security Archive, National Public Radio and leading law and journalism schools. Plans for the multimedia investigations, to be distributed in the coming years, include extensive print reporting, a television series, radio reports and rich new media to reach the broadest possible audience. Support for the Cold Case Project to date has been provided by Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Open Society Institute, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. About Paperny Films Paperny Films (www.papernyfilms.com) is an independent, Vancouver-based production company founded by David Paperny. In 1994 his HBO documentary The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter was nominated for an Academy Award for its groundbreaking portrait of a doctor diagnosed with AIDS. Since then Paperny Films has tackled a broad spectrum of documentary and factual projects for a range of broadcasters including PBS, Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, MTV/LOGO, and Planet Green. The company has created over 300 hours of television which has been seen in 36 countries worldwide and is consistently ranked in Realscreen Magazine's Global 100, a list of top international factual producers. About the Center for Investigative Reporting Founded in 1977, the Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation's oldest nonprofit investigative news organization. Its mission is to produce and distribute multimedia reporting that reveals injustice and abuse of power, has an impact, and is relevant to people's lives. CIR reports reach the public through television, print, radio and the web, appearing in outlets such as 60 Minutes, PBS Frontline, NPR, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Politico and U.S. News & World Report. CIR stories have received numerous journalism awards including the Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and National Magazine Award for Reporting Excellence. More importantly, its reports have sparked congressional hearings and legislation, United Nations resolutions, public interest lawsuits and change in corporate policies.
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