At its most fundamental, great journalism should make a difference in our world. Great journalism is also about the power of the story and how it’s told to the world.

Our new collaboration with San Francisco’s Tides Theatre was conceived very simply: Let’s bring some of our storytelling, especially our powerful narratives, to the stage.

This is not a new concept; it’s happened elsewhere. Novels, films, documentaries, all have at one time grown from a one-paragraph news brief that piques the interest of a writer, journalist, filmmaker or playwright and then expanded into blockbusters that engage readers, moviegoers and TV watchers alike.

It’s a simple question that sparks bigger things: What’s the story here? Who were the people or characters involved? Why did it happen? Curiosity drives the pursuit of the story.

With that in mind, we’re taking some of CIR’s work to the stage to tell our stories in a new way, reach a new audience on issues that matter and, hopefully, form a powerful connection with the audience.

We’re excited to head to the theater to see what’s next for high-impact reporting and storytelling.

Robert J. Rosenthal

Robert J. Rosenthal is the chief executive officer at The Center for Investigative Reporting. Rosenthal was the executive director of CIR from January 2008 to spring 2017. When he joined CIR, it had a staff of seven and when he left, it had a staff of nearly 70 and was recognized as one of the leading nonprofit newsrooms in the country. He is an award-winning journalist and worked for some of the most respected newspapers in the country, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle. Rosenthal worked for 22 years at The Inquirer, starting as a reporter and eventually becoming its executive editor in 1998. He became managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in late 2002 and left in 2007. During this time, he led the investigation into the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey. That work became known as the award-winning Chauncey Bailey Project. Before joining The Inquirer in 1979, Rosenthal worked for six years as a reporter at The Boston Globe and three and a half years at The New York Times, where he was a news assistant on the foreign desk and an editorial assistant on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pentagon Papers project. As a reporter, Rosenthal won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Award for magazine writing, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award for distinguished foreign correspondence and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for Third World reporting. He was a Pulitzer finalist in international reporting and was a Pulitzer judge four times. He has been an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Rosenthal is also currently advising or on the board of multiple journalism nonprofits. In 2018, Rosenthal was named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists for his “extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism.”