At CIR, we believe journalism that moves citizens to action is an essential pillar of democracy. For more than three decades, CIR has relentlessly pursued and uncovered injustices that otherwise would be hidden from the public eye. Today, we are upholding this legacy and looking forward, working at the forefront of journalistic innovation to produce important stories that make a difference and engage our audiences across the aisle, coast to coast, and worldwide. What drives our work isn’t profit – it’s impact.
Today, we are announcing that starting May 29, CIR, California Watch and The Bay Citizen are becoming one: The Center for Investigative Reporting. You can expect the same unique, in-depth reporting but without the confusion of three names.
Since CIR founded California Watch in 2009 and merged with The Bay Citizen in 2012, we have been doing a lot under three brands – reporting, managing websites, partnering with top media organizations across the country, holding public events and engaging with you online.
Initially, the different brands separated our national and international, California and local San Francisco Bay Area reporting. Over the past year, we have found that more of our stories transcend geography. Our CIR, California Watch and Bay Citizen reporting has changed laws, saved lives, brought attention to critical problems that affect all of us and won prestigious journalism awards.
We know that as long as we are telling the right stories – the stories that no one else is covering, the stories that reveal deeply hidden information, the stories that actually make a difference in people’s lives – it doesn’t matter if they are about San Francisco or Sacramento or Washington, D.C. And if we apply a creative approach to finding and telling those stories – through animation, interactive data apps, video, radio, text, social media and reports in multiple languages – they will serve and engage you, our audience, no matter who and where you are.
There also are purely practical reasons for consolidating under one name – namely, saving staff time and money. We spend countless hours managing three websites and 12 social media accounts and publishing our stories with different branding depending on the partner outlet. As a nonprofit organization, resource allocation matters.
Leading up to this decision, we have worked hard to position ourselves to be the highest-impact, most innovative reporting organization we can be. We have reorganized our internal creative decision-making and production process and integrated our multiplatform teams in a more cohesive and collaborative way. This is already affecting what stories we choose, on what platforms they are told and how we measure success. Most importantly, we are focused on telling stories that have impact and make a difference in the communities where you live. Read more here about our editorial focus and the kinds of stories you can expect from us going forward.
We are continuing to build our partnerships so our stories reach even larger and more diverse audiences. We also are rethinking and redesigning our entire Web presence so you can engage with our content – and us – more easily and have a better experience. That will take a few months, but in the meantime, all of our content going forward will be available at cironline.org starting May 29. The Bay Citizen and California Watch websites will hold archival content. Our streamlined social media strategy will bring all of the conversations we’re in with you together in one place on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Read more about our Web, social media and engagement strategies here.
All of the work we’ve done in recent years has been produced by one team, made up of some of the most diversely talented and passionate journalists I’ve worked with. By combining all three brands into one powerful one – The Center for Investigative Reporting – we will have a greater impact and will better serve our primary goal of public service journalism.
I am more excited than ever about this organization and about the stories we are working on. I hope you will continue to be part of CIR. Learn more here about how you can get involved – and thanks for your support!