Last week, we launched California Watch, a new department within the Center for Investigative Reporting, with a story about waste and a lack of oversight surrounding homeland security spending in California. It was a good story and we will continue to follow the issue. We have received tips from potential sources after publication and through documents we have obtained have many other leads.

The launch got a lot of attention, from Editor and Publisher to San Antonio News-Express blog. But the truly remarkable thing about the story was that it appeared on the front page of 25 newspapers throughout California and on TV and radio. The story was also published on news websites, along with an interactive-map and slideshow.

The announcement Monday that CIR and California Watch are now part of Google’s Fast Flip offers the hope that our work will reach a wider audience. We, along with a range of news organization big and small, for profit and non-profit, are part of an experiment with this new search tool that allows users to a flip through websites, much as you would turn the pages of a book or magazine. We also have the opportunity to share ad revenue through Fast Flip.

We are a nonprofit, and investigative reporting is time consuming and expensive. We will be exploring many ways to bring in revenue in the months and years ahead, to help pay for our work and hopefully, down the road, create opportunities to hire more journalists. We want to be as innovative with revenue opportunities as we plan to be with our journalism. There is a tremendous amount of energy, ambitious thinking and opportunity around creating new business models so that growing audiences can be reached with high quality reporting.

Developing the strategies to fund the work is as challenging and crucial as the work itself. New models of sustainability must be tested, so that journalism that is a crucial part of our democracy can not only continue, but thrive. We believe the public will have a role in creating these new models and we welcome your ideas, feedback and perspectives along the way.

Robert J. Rosenthal

Robert J. Rosenthal is a board member at The Center for Investigative Reporting. An award-winning journalist, Rosenthal has worked for some of the most respected newspapers in the country, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, 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 joined CIR as executive director in 2008. Before joining the Inquirer in 1979, Rosenthal worked as a reporter for six years 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 Sigma Delta Chi Award for distinguished foreign correspondence, and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for Third World Reporting. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in international reporting. Rosenthal was a Pulitzer Prize judge four times. He has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.