The Center for Investigative Reporting today announced the launch of an in-house production unit for digital media and video, allowing CIR and its California Watch project to deliver its stories in high-quality video formats. Sharon Tiller, former series executive director of PBS’s FRONTLINE/World and senior producer at FRONTLINE, will lead the unit. Tiller will become CIR’s Director of Digital Media.

This new capability is part of a larger business development strategy at CIR to create new models for how investigative journalism can sustain itself and to leverage new technologies to increase and engage audiences. Tiller will supervise a team of seven.

“I’m thrilled to join CIR, especially at this point in time,” said Tiller. “Adding the digital video team will make CIR a leader in nonprofit, multiplatform investigative journalism.”

“We’re extremely fortunate to have Sharon Tiller join CIR to launch a new digital video unit,” said Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal. “Her experience and achievements in public media are held in high regard throughout the industry. We expect to lead the way in producing innovative video-based investigative journalism across all digital platforms, and this ties directly into our vision of being an integrated multiplatform news organization.”

By adding Tiller, CIR also builds on its own 20-year-long relationship with FRONTLINE, the award-winning PBS public affairs series. The first joint segment will air as a FRONTLINE magazine segment in spring 2011.

The Logan Family Foundation provided initial funds for the launch of the new team, with a $250,000 challenge grant.

“David Logan, family patriarch, who recently passed away, recognized the importance of a free press to the survival of a democratic society. My family and I will continue our commitment to investigative reporting, including this gift that unites CIR and veteran broadcast producers to best distribute reporting critical to the public good,” said Jon Logan, who serves as president of the Reva and David Logan Family Foundation and also as a vice president of the Board of Directors of CIR.

About Sharon Tiller

At FRONTLINE, Sharon Tiller helped develop numerous programs, including the critically acclaimed four-part special “Drug Wars,” and “News War,” a multi-part series on the crisis in the media industry. In 2001, she helped develop and launch the international news magazine FRONTLINE/World. The groundbreaking series featured the work of a new generation of video journalists and recently completed nine successful seasons on PBS. As the series executive director, she oversaw more than 200 broadcast and online video stories from 70 countries. In 2004, the FRONTLINE/World series was honored with the Overseas Press Club Edward R. Murrow Award. Its cutting-edge website also received two prestigious Webby Awards for best online documentary series and best news and politics series.

Before joining FRONTLINE, Tiller was the executive director for CIR, where she developed award-winning investigative documentaries for FRONTLINE, including “Global Dumping Ground with Bill Moyers,” “The Great American Bailout,” “Best Campaign Money Can Buy,” “Public Lands, Private Profits,” and “School Colors.”

Tiller has received numerous awards for her work, including four Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Broadcast Journalism Awards, three National Emmys, a George Polk Award for National Television Reporting, a George Foster Peabody Award, and a World Affairs Council Award of Excellence for International Reporting.

About the Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch

The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s oldest nonprofit investigative news organization. CIR reports have reached 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. duPont-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. In 2009, CIR founded California Watch to help create a new model for regional investigative and other high-impact reporting.

California Watch (www.CaliforniaWatch.org), the largest investigative team operating in the state, was launched in 2009. Priority areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process. California Watch receives funding from The James Irvine Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the California Endowment. California Watch received a general excellence award from the Online News Association in 2010. Its staff also was named “Journalists of the Year” by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Media contact: Marlene Saritzky
415.713.1241, marlene@mssassociates.com