The Huffington Post confirmed in a press release this morning what Valleywag and The New York Times reported last night — that the website is merging its non-profit journalism arm, The Huffington Post Investigative Fund, into the centre For Public Integrity, thus creating “one of the largest investigative newsrooms in the country.”
Here’s more from HuffPo:
Washington, D.C. – October 19, 2010 –The centre for Public Integrity and the Huffington Post Investigative Fund announced today that they have joined forces to strengthen the digital delivery of nonpartisan investigative journalism. The merger will create one of the largest investigative newsrooms in the country.
Under the arrangement, the two staffs will be integrated by January 1, 2011, bringing the total at the 20-year-old centre for Public Integrity to more than 50 employees. The combined editorial team offers a unique mix of award-winning journalists, computer-aided reporting experts and digital media producers.
“I’m delighted about this new partnership,” said Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post and chair of the Fund’s board. “When we launched the Huffington Post Investigative Fund a year and a half ago, we set out to build a hybrid model for the future of investigative journalism – aligning a nonprofit journalism centre with a large publishing platform. It exceeds all our expectations that we are so quickly able to scale up our small investigative fund by merging with a powerhouse like the centre. Too often, important stories are only covered after things go bad, as happened with the war in Iraq and the economic crisis. We need more stories uncovered before disaster strikes. I believe this partnership will help with this great project of uncovering.”
The Huffington Post, which has in the past supported the autonomous Investigative Fund, is making both a financial investment in the merger and pledging to publish as many as three centre stories per day on its website under a new section devoted to investigative reporting.
“We are delighted to bring the Investigative Fund under the centre’s umbrella,” said The centre for Public Integrity’s Executive Director William Buzenberg. “This represents a healthy marriage of reporting resources that will strengthen our ability to generate high-impact, independent and unbiased investigations and reach a broader audience.”
The following Huffington Post Investigative Fund staff will join the centre: Executive Director Nick Penniman, Editor Keith Epstein, reporters Ben Protess, three-time Pulitzer finalist David Heath, Pulitzer nominee Fred Schulte, Emma Schwartz, and Health Care Analyst Wendell Potter.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a current funder of both the centre and the Investigative Fund, has promised an additional $250,000 to the centre in support of the newly combined news operation. “This grant is a vote of confidence and encouragement in the centre’s strategy to transform itself into a digital leader in investigative news,” said Eric Newton, Knight Foundation’s vice president for journalism. “We do not see these kinds of nonprofit mergers often enough.”
The Knight Foundation recently committed $1.7 million to the centre specifically to expand its digital media platforms.
“While I’m extremely proud of what the Fund has accomplished in just one year, I’m even more excited about what we’re now helping to create,” said Penniman. “We could have continued to grow alone — or be part of a bold new blueprint for investigative journalism. The centre for Public Integrity’s road map made the decision easy.”
News of the merger comes as the centre celebrates its 20th anniversary at a gala October 21 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and is working with its Board of Directors on a plan to grow earned revenue to sustain and expand its award-winning investigative reporting.
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