The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) today announced Reveal Local Labs, a new initiative to foster local news collaborations and advance community-focused, in-depth, investigative storytelling. The initiative is supported by $500,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
With the collapse of the traditional business model for newspaper journalism, many local newsrooms have shed reporting and editing positions and often do not have the resources and advanced skills to take on significant investigative reporting projects. CIR staff have been working successfully to fill this gap with local newsrooms in small towns and major metro areas around the country. In collaboration with these organizations, CIR provides data journalism resources, Freedom of Information support, training and coaching around audience engagement, digital media and distribution. CIR also helps to distribute the work across our national and international platforms, including Reveal, its online platform, radio program and podcast.
With Knight support, CIR will launch Reveal Local Labs to help local newsrooms publish important investigations and harness the power of public engagement to improve trust with local audiences. It will use the lessons learned over the past three years through the Reveal Labs model and other media partnerships to invest deeply in capacity building and community outreach. Results will be documented closely to share best practices with others.
“As budgets and staffs decline, investigative reporting – resource intensive and time consuming – is among the first victims. And yet it has never been more important to our democracy,” said Amy Pyle, editor-in-chief at CIR. “Through this initiative, we hope to support the work of local journalists who are telling important stories in new ways and speaking uncomfortable truths to power in their communities.”
“The Center for Investigative Reporting has demonstrated tremendous success in collaborating with local newsrooms on important investigative reporting projects around the country,” said Jennifer Preston, vice president of journalism at Knight. “This initiative aims to strengthen that work – providing local journalists with data skills, new forms of storytelling and civic engagement approaches to shine a light on the issues that matter most to their communities.”
Many notable efforts to place and train reporters in local news outlets are underway across the country. Reveal Local Labs will leverage insights from these efforts, with a particular focus on helping newsrooms forge news partnerships to ensure the long-lasting impact of this work. Through the initiative, CIR will identify existing strengths and potential resources, provide investigative training and mentorship, coach journalists in working together across platforms, and bring in a cross section of the community to inform investigations along the way.
The initiative will launch in four cities; the first two of these will be announced in the near future. CIR is considering locations where local media outlets show either a history of partnership or willingness to collaborate, where top managers see the value of sharing resources with other news outlets and where reporters and producers are eager to be part of the team.
If you’re a news outlet interested in learning more, contact Senior Editor Ziva Branstetter at email@example.com.
Support for the Center for Investigative Reporting is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to advance excellence in journalism and to help news organizations inform people in communities of all sizes through experimentation, innovation and leadership. Knight has made many investments in this area, including NewsMatch a funding partnership that provides matching support to nonprofit news organizations.
Reveal Local Labs is also being supported by the Democracy Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, News Integrity Initiative, and the Reva and David Logan Foundation.
About The Center for Investigative Reporting
Founded in 1977 as the nation’s first nonprofit investigative journalism organization, The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is among the most innovative, credible and relevant media organizations in the country. CIR is nonpartisan and fact-driven. We uncover stories about important issues, share what we know in an unbiased way, and track the real world change that results. Reveal – our website, public radio program, podcast and social media platform – is where we publish our multiplatform work.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
Hannah Young, Director of Audience, The Center for Investigative Reporting, 510-809-3160, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, email@example.com