BERKELEY, CA – April 29, 2011 – The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) today announced that Mark Katches has been promoted to editorial director, and Chase Davis is assuming a new role as director of technology. In addition, Hearst executive Phil Bronstein has been elected chairman of the board at CIR.
Founded in 1977, CIR is the nation’s oldest, nonprofit investigative news organization. CIR distributes its stories directly and through respected partners in television, print, radio and web outlets.
“Mark and Chase bring unique skills to their new roles. Their leadership will accelerate our evolution and innovation in all facets or our work,” said Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of CIR. “Mark’s journalistic and management leadership as editorial director of our California Watch project has been successful beyond our expectations. Chase has a sophistication, curiosity and entrepreneurial mind-set that will be crucial as we meld technology into all we do around audience growth, revenue opportunities and engagement.”
As editorial director of CIR, Katches will oversee the combined California Watch and CIR reporting staffs, direct and help guide daily news coverage and work closely with the digital and web operations teams to help produce content that can be effectively distributed to news partners in California and around the globe on multiple platforms.
As director of technology, Davis will be responsible for technology strategy and digital entrepreneurship at CIR, including journalistic software development, database applications and technology-driven distribution and revenue strategies. He also will work with Rosenthal and the development team to build relationships with partners that better connect CIR to the Bay Area technology community.
As chairman of the board of directors of CIR, Bronstein will focus on sustainability, board development and outreach. He will provide strategic advice and counsel to the CIR team. He succeeds Jon Logan, who led the board during the last three years of growth and expansion. Logan remains on the board as a vice president.
“Phil and I got to know each other well when I came to San Francisco,” Rosenthal said. “At CIR we are working to build a new journalism model. Phil understands the Bay Area and the dynamics of innovation, risk taking and the entrepreneurial DNA that make it special and which helps fuel our evolution.”
Over the last two and a half years, CIR has experienced considerable growth. The staff has increased from seven to 34. California Watch, already considered a model for other news organizations, includes award-winning reporters, editors, multimedia reporters and producers. “On Shaky Ground,” the recent 19-month investigation into seismic safety issues in California Schools, had a record number of distribution partners including key newspapers, network television affiliates, public radio and ethnic media.
Other key initiatives at CIR include reporting on the international carbon markets, Homeland Security, and immigration issues. CIR recently produced a feature documentary film, “DIRTY BUSINESS: ‘Clean Coal‘ and the Battle for Our Energy Future,” that investigates the true cost of our dependence on coal. CIR also worked in association with filmmaker and photojournalist Mimi Chakarova on “The Price of Sex,” a documentary that won the 2011 Human Rights Watch Film Festival’s Nestor Almendrow Award for courage in filmmaking. The film will be screened over three nights at Lincoln Center in New York in June.
About Mark Katches
Katches was the founding editorial director for California Watch. Before coming to CIR he built and ran investigative teams at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Orange County Register. He was the primary editor of Pulitzer Prize winning projects in both 2008 and 2010 and has edited or managed three other stories that have been Pulitzer finalists since 2004. Projects he has edited or directed have also won the George Polk Award, the Scripps-Howard National Journalism Award, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize, the Sigma Delta Chi Award and the National Headliner Award. In 2001, he was part of a reporting team that won the Gerald Loeb and IRE awards for a series of stories detailing the rising profits from the human tissue trade. He has taught reporting classes at Stanford University, UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California. Katches served on the board of directors of Investigative Reporters and Editors and oversaw the IRE mentorship program for most of the last decade.
About Chase Davis
Davis joined California Watch in 2009 as an investigative reporter focusing on money and politics for California Watch. Previously, he worked as an investigative reporter at The Des Moines Register and the Houston Chronicle. Davis built and launched several innovative technology experiments during his time at California Watch, including the organization’s first iPhone app, myFault, and its elections coverage resource, Politics Verbatim. He is also the co-founder of the media-technology firm Hot Type Consulting, which provides technical consulting to news startups and media organizations in the United States and Europe. Davis is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.
About Phil Bronstein
Bronstein is the editor-at-large and director of content development for Hearst Newspapers, which includes the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and editor-at-Large of the San Francisco Chronicle after serving as the newspaper’s editor from 2000 to 2008. He is responsible for broader strategic decisions for Hearst newspapers, collaborating with the company’s top digital media and editorial executives in identifying ideas and content that can be applied across the company. His focus is the intersection of journalism with social and other digital media. He is working on a variety of specific projects, which includes developing focused content for sfgate.com and the other Hearst newspaper web sites. He oversees investigative reporting efforts across the newspaper division and in partnership with other Hearst divisions. He continues to work with Hearst’s office of General Counsel on First Amendment issues, including congressional passage of a federal shield law for reporters. He spent nineteen years at the San Francisco Examiner, first as a reporter and later as an investigative reporter and editor, foreign correspondent and executive editor.
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. du Pont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and a 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. CIR founded California Watch to help create a new model for regional investigative and high-impact reporting. For more information, visit www.cironline.org.
California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. 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 National Headliner Award in 2011 for “Best Online Only Journalism Site.” In 2010, California Watch was awarded a general excellence award from the Online News Association, and its staff also was named “Journalists of the Year” by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. For more information, visit www.californiawatch.org.