A new Knight Foundation initiative seeks new models for investigative reporting, and three journalism organization have received funds:

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a $15 million initiative to help develop new economic models for investigative reporting on digital platforms.

The grants, some on-going, some new and some yet-to-be announced, will promote both local and national investigative reporting in order to help provide the vital stories that citizens need to run their communities and their lives.

“Communities are harmed by what they do not know. A community can’t clean up a toxic dump, or remove a corrupt official or right any other wrong if its citizens do not know about it,” said Eric Newton, Knight Foundation’s vice president for journalism. “We’re awash in information, yet it seems to be getting harder to find good investigative reporting.”

America’s daily newspapers employ some 10,000 fewer journalists in their newsrooms than they did a decade ago, he noted, and membership in groups like Investigative Reporters and Editors has declined in recent years.

By looking for projects that emphasize high-impact stories, digital platforms, diverse revenue streams and national leadership, he said the foundation hopes to “help pioneer models that help keep this important journalism flowing.”

The three newest grants are:

  • Center for Investigative Reporting ($1.32 million): to launch a new multimedia investigative reporting project in California that encourages print, digital and student journalists to collaborate on stories;
  • Sunlight Foundation ($565,000): to develop web tools so the public can easily access information on Congressional lawmakers, from their campaign contributions and votes;
  • ProPublica ($1.01 million): to help the investigative reporting organization create a sustainable business model
  • >> Read the full press release here.