“The future is already here ­– it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Author William Gibson is reported to have said that in 1999. (Thanks, Lisa Williams of the MIT Media Lab, for that during a recent #wjchat discussion.)

Here at The Center for Investigative Reporting, we know that Gibson is right. That’s why we are constantly looking for new ways to distribute our content to you through print, online, broadcast and radio partners ­– and everything in between. That also means engaging and investing in our social media audience and coming up with creative ways to reach new audiences – from reporting in multiple languages to organizing town halls, discussing our investigations and producing coloring books, animations and explainers that break down our complex reporting. Over time, we’re hoping to bridge that uneven distribution so that people can get our content no matter how they consume information.

As Editorial Director Mark Katches writes in his post about CIR’s editorial scope, CIR, California Watch and The Bay Citizen are (finally) becoming one unified brand: The Center for Investigative Reporting. For the last year, we have been managing three Twitter, three Facebook and two Tumblr accounts. And that doesn’t include our social media accounts for The I Files channel on YouTube. And as anyone who manages social media can attest, that’s a lot of accounts to manage effectively with a small team.

With mostly California-based content, we were dividing our audience and confusing them about our brands’ relationship to each other.

Now, with our rebranding and expanded editorial scope that strikes a better balance among our local, regional and national projects, we’re excited to announce a streamlined social media strategy.

Follow us on Twitter: @CIRonline

With our rebranding process, we’re making a few changes to our presence on Twitter:

  • Our @CIRonline Twitter account will now host all of our content, engagement and conversation. Follow us!
  • We will discontinue the use of the @CaliforniaWatch and @TheBayCitizen accounts.
  • You can still find great conversation and tweets about investigative videos and their production on our @ifiles Twitter account, run by The I Files’ online engagement coordinator, Julia B. Chan.

These changes will allow Associate Manager for Distribution and Online Engagement Cole Goins, News Engagement Specialist Kelly Chen and me (@meghannCIR) to much more strategically engage audiences around our work and other conversations happening online.

With the consolidation of our accounts, we’re using a few new hashtags:

  • #CAWatch: To keep the conversation going with our super-engaged California audience, we’ll start using the hashtag #CAWatch when we feature California content. Our goal: to highlight great investigative reporting (whether it’s text, data, video or infographics) produced by CIR or others and to feature conversations and resources that Californians and people nationally will want to know about. Have a great California-focused story to share? Want to engage us on Golden State topics that are most affecting you? Tweet at us using the hashtag for things you think we should showcase.
  • #VAbacklog: We’ll also continue to use the popular #VAbacklog hashtag used by many on Twitter to talk about our work on the Department of Veteran Affairs’ benefits claims backlog. (Read more here and learn how you can get involved in our investigations.) We regularly highlight reporting on veterans’ benefits by our partners around the nation (learn more about our available API on our backlog data) and feature the stories and experiences of veterans themselves.


If you follow us on Facebook at either California Watch or The Bay Citizen, you may already have started to receive notices that we are moving those pages. Our loyal and engaged followers (thank you!) will automatically be moved over to our Center for Investigative Reporting Facebook page. We’re excited for the chance to have all of our followers in one space to talk with others who care about CIR’s reporting, the future of investigative journalism and pressing issues people face around the country and world. Let us know what else you’d like see on our Facebook page – we’re listening!

Other ways you can get CIR content on social media?

  • Check out our Tumblr page for infographics, pull quotes and other aggregation of news.
  • Follow us on our brand-new Instagram account (InsideCIR) for pics inside CIR of our reporters in the field and more. Stay tuned for the launch of Instagram campaigns in the future.

Stay in the know with regular email alerts

Want our groundbreaking investigations straight to your inbox? We’re relaunching our email newsletters to help keep you informed about our work:

  • Weekly newsletter: In addition to our CIR story alerts (which make sure you get our investigative pieces as soon as we publish them), we’re starting a weekly newsletter that will deliver our stories, updates, I Files videos and other content directly to your inbox.
  • California newsletter: We’re going to keep sending our California newsletter, highlighting all of our California stories. It will just look new and improved with CIR branding.

In the next couple of months, we’re looking to start a few other newsletters for different projects so that audiences can follow the subjects and stories they care about.

Finally, our great engagement team (including Julia B. Chan, Kelly Chen, Cole Goins, Marie McIntosh and Rebecca Saar) will be producing some great work in the coming months that will help break through the media storm to bring you high-quality reporting and discussion that you can’t get anywhere else. Make sure to check cironline.org regularly.

Thanks for staying with us during this transition – we know that it will bring you an even better experience online and on social media!

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Meghann Farnsworth is the managing director of distribution, operations and engagement for Reveal and The Center for Investigative Reporting. She manages teams dedicated to website production and management, technology, analytics, social media, distribution, newsletters, online and on-the-ground community building, arts collaborations, and youth engagement. She also helps develop and support media partnerships and collaborations for Reveal’s national public radio show and podcast. Previously, Farnsworth was the senior digital media manager at Home Front Communications in Washington, D.C., where she worked in digital media management, interactive development and outreach for nonprofit and government clients. She also served as the associate editor of Forums at PBS NewsHour, where she created interactive online forums that helped increase and engage the NewsHour's online audience. She was an inaugural member of the Online News Association-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, and she has presented at conferences across the country, including SXSW, ONA, the Logan Symposium, the Reynolds Journalism Institute and others. She earned her master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. Farnsworth is based at Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.