Plain speaking about TV news and its future

Dec. 18, 2014

Viewers nationwide mostly get local traffic, crime, weather and sports news, while local investigative reporting about the powers that be — and straight talk, facts and figures about the serious 21st century issues we all face  — generally have become endangered species.

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If Truth Be Told: Part 3

May 30, 2014

The proliferation of new technologies may compromise the integrity of the newsgathering business, as web-crawling machines analyze large numbers of vast datasets and human decision-making gives way to automated algorithms that spit out “investigative” reports; at the same time, however, such technological developments offer journalists the sort of possibilities that may dramatically enhance their storytelling capabilities.

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If Truth Be Told: Part 2

May 29, 2014

If the long-term viability of newspapers is in doubt, there’s a practical question that needs addressing: Why should that matter to us?

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If Truth Be Told: Part 1

May 28, 2014

The course of U.S. history has been altered by investigative journalists’ scrutiny and accountability of those in power, from Upton Sinclair's writings about the meat-packing industry to Woodward and Bernstein's coverage of Watergate. In an era characterized by shrinking newsrooms, however, we're left with fewer deep-dive reporters to ferret out critical information and help citizens distinguish facts from puffery. Meticulous information-gathering and editorial oversight, especially regarding international and investigative reporting, requires substantial time and money, and increasingly traditional news organizations are unable or unwilling to do it. What does that mean for the future of journalism and the future of truth-telling in America? 


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'935 Lies' to be released in June

April 1, 2014

Charles Lewis, executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop, has written “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity,” which will be published in June

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FOIA in D.C.: Challenging but worth it

March 28, 2014

Leading D.C. journalists and open government advocates exhange advice and lament the challenges of requesting local government documents through the Freedom of Information Act.

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Pondering the future of news

Sept. 19, 2013

Quality journalism will always be important, but funding it will become increasingly complicated, said media leaders on Sept. 15 at the Newseum in Washington. 

Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, said that disruptive technology and social media cannot fulfill the function of good investigative journalism. "It doesn’t hold powerful people accountable,” he said.

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The art, science and mystery of nonprofit news assessment

July 10, 2013

Various models for assessing impact are continually being tinkered with, and lessons from similar efforts in other fields offer useful insight for this journalistic endeavor. And past research has pointed to specific needs and suggestions for ways to advance the effort. From all of this collective wisdom, several principles emerge as the cornerstones upon which to build a common framework for impact assessment.

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Journalism in Russia: Still hampered, but improving

April 15, 2013

The difficulty of producing investigative journalism in Russia, where journalists are often threatened, is compounded by the economic hardships many publications face, according to Russian journalists who spoke last week at a conference in Washington, D.C. 

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After Chávez: More press freedom or status quo?

April 5, 2013

Too much press freedom or not enough? Journalists debate the control and restrictions under Hugo Chávez and whether such control will change after the special election on April 14.

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Covering Washington for those outside the Beltway: a lost art?

April 5, 2013

The decline of local news is highly visible in the nation's capital, where the once-robust tradition of regional reporting — covering the federal government as it pertains to specific regions, states and communities — is now a shadow of its former self.

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Murrey Marder: 'Utterly tenacious about the truth'

March 18, 2013

Charles Lewis pays tribute to the inspirational Murrey Marder, perhaps best remembered for his reporting of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's demogogic reign and also an influential voice in The Washington Post's publication of the Pentagon Papers.

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Hong Kong students aspire to journalism careers despite obstacles

March 18, 2013

Journalism students from Hong Kong share experiences with journalism students in Washington and find common ground.

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Workshop, American, Washington Post jointly hire investigative reporter

March 4, 2013

The Investigative Reporting Workshop, American University School of Communication and The Washington Post have announced the joint hiring of John Sullivan, an investigative reporter and editor. Sullivan led a team of Philadelphia Inquirer journalists who won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service. Executive Editor Charles Lewis discusses how the  unprecedented collaboration among an iconic daily newspaper, a major university journalism program and an award-winning nonprofit newsroom came about.

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Barlett & Steele offer guidelines for the 'golden age' of research

Feb. 15, 2013

Donald Barlett and James Steele talk about how this is the "golden age of research" for reporters, and how they have stayed in touch with some of their sources for many years.

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Data + Journalism = The Future

Feb. 6, 2013

Bicoastal datafest brings together all disciplines in the name of information. 

 

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A second look: The new Journalism Ecosystem

Aug. 31, 2012

The recent momentum of the nonprofit journalism phenomenon is continuing despite the difficult U.S. economy, according to an analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop's iLab. Most of the funding for these journalistic nonprofits comes from philanthropic foundations and individuals. Learn more through our story, searchable database and national map.

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Citizen journalists work undercover in North Korea to show daily life

Feb. 1, 2012

Japanese journalists continue to work with North Korean citizen journalists to document life beyond the choreographed scenes recently displayed during the state funeral for Kim Jong Il, who died on Dec. 17 and whose son, Kim Jong Un, is now in power.

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Global investigative journalists convene in Kiev

Oct. 20, 2011

Five hundred investigative journalists from 80 nations met last week in Kiev for the Global Investigative Journalism Conference. Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis reports on the meeting.

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New books highlight nonprofit ecosystem

Oct. 13, 2011

Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis has contributed chapters to two new books from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism about the new nonprofit ecosystem that is emerging worldwide.

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Policies on comments

Dec. 15, 2010

What we found from various news sites regarding comments policies:

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Can you call someone a ‘scumbag’ online?

Dec. 15, 2010

An accountant in Queens sued Craigslist, the popular Internet bulletin board, for posting an anonymous ad that referred to him as a “crook” and a “fraudulent scumbag.”

The accountant, understandably, was not pleased. He filed suit in March claiming Craigslist should have known the posting was false and would subject him to “ridicule, disgrace and prejudice.”

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Cross-pollination carries journalism across borders

Nov. 23, 2010

International interest in the Investigative Reporting Workshop continues to grow. Recently, reporters and editors met with our staff to see whether similar nonprofit models might work in Japan and Australia.

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Cross-pollination destinations

Nov. 23, 2010

A closer look at some of the topics and travels for Workshop Founder Charles Lewis in the last five years.

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More resources for new ecosystem

Oct. 29, 2010

You'll find sources here for more information and guidance for running a journalism nonprofit organization.

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New journalism ecosystem thrives

Oct. 29, 2010

At least 60 nonprofits now do journalism. Chuck Lewis reports on this emerging, dynamic new ecosystem.

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Online advertising not the cure-all

July 8, 2010

Editors say they aren't counting on online advertising to deliver the revenue that will fully support the cost of newsgathering.

Reports predict the Internet will become the second largest U.S. advertising medium by revenue (ahead of newspapers, but behind television) and that online ad sales will grow by the billions thanks to rapidly growing numbers of online consumers. But, "Signs that advertising, at least in any familiar form, would ever grow to levels sufficient to finance journalism online seemed further in doubt," noted the 2010 State of the News Media by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism.

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Point Reyes Light strikes new path with hybrid business model

June 8, 2010

Two editors take their newspaper into a new economic model to make it viable as well as a team-player and educator within the community. They don't expect big profits, but do see the potential to influence the industry.

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Will new syndication models work?

May 24, 2010

Some news organizations are looking into whether content syndication is the answer to the crumbling revenue model. Both new journalism initiatives and established media groups are coming up with creative plans to help generate alternative forms of revenue to support their content.

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A new model catapults Youth Radio into new quarters

May 21, 2010

Once housed in a rented storefront in Berkeley, Calif., Youth Radio today is thriving in an expansive former bank building in downtown Oakland. The group purchased the building with the help of an interest-free loan from a private foundation.

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iLab’s goal: Enlarging public space for investigative journalism

March 30, 2010

The Investigative Reporting Workshop Investigative Laboratory or “iLab” was created to conduct serious research about investigative journalism, past, present and future. Our goal is very simple: in every possible way, to enlarge the public space for this important work, holding those in power more accountable in our society.

We are exploring multiple areas of interest simultaneously.

For example, for the past few years, I have been researching and writing extensively about the remarkable emergence of nonprofit investigative and public service news organizations. When I began the Center for Public Integrity from my house in 1989, it was only the second nonprofit, investigative reporting center in the world. Today there are literally dozens of them, most of them begun in just the past five years from the diaspora of immensely talented journalists suddenly without a commercial newsroom.

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Can hybrid model aid news groups?

March 29, 2010

It might just be the best solution to the problems facing journalism that no one has tried.

It’s the low-profit limited liability company, or L3C, and it merges the worlds of for-profit and non-profit, ostensibly creating a business with a conscience.

In exchange for receiving low-interest or no-interest funding from private foundations – in the form of program-related investments (PRIs) – an L3C operates as a socially responsible enterprise with profit-earnings as an after-thought.

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New Economic Models

Investigative News Network

Investigative News Network

This group of more than 20 nonprofit news organizations was formed in July 2009 to organize the best investigative reporting sites out there. Workshop executive editor Charles Lewis, one of the original four board members, announces the group's first CEO, Kevin Davis.

iLab Projects

Reporting on Washington for those outside the Beltway

The decline of local news is highly visible in the nation's capital, where the once-robust tradition of regional reporting — covering the federal government as it pertains to specific regions, states and communities — is now a shadow of its former self. “When I started, regional reporting was very important,” said Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution. “I've watched it, over time, fade away.”