Reveal aims to create impactful and lasting investigative reporting collaborations across the country.
We know local news outlets are best positioned to answer their communities’ most pressing investigative questions and hold officials accountable with true public service journalism. That’s why we partner with local newsrooms across the country.
Our model supports local partners by providing project management, training (data, audio, fundraising, etc.), editorial guidance, support for accessing and analyzing data and other information (through FOIAs, records requests), small reporting stipends as needed, mentorship, and much more. The resulting investigations are featured on Reveal’s website or our national radio show and podcast, which airs on more than 560 stations around the country and reaches more than 1.2 million listeners every week.
We’ve already launched local collaborations in several areas – Akron, Ohio; San Jose, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; New Jersey; and rural communities across the country.
Home in Akron – our collaboration based in Akron – focused on investigating evictions and the shifting housing market in the city. The Devil Strip, WKSU Radio, WEWS News 5, the Akron Beacon Journal and Your Voice Ohio have been publishing pieces together for the last year. We released several major investigations in March 2021, which examined communities that were hardest hit by evictions before the pandemic began. We also focused on accountability. Magistrates in Summit County had ruled that there could be no evictions if a property was not listed on the county’s rental registry, but our reporting found that they have quietly set aside that rule. We took audiences through the Zoom eviction process and tried to get answers as to why these evictions have continued and who should be held responsible. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to empower Akron residents with the information they need to make their neighborhoods thrive. We also used these stories to kick off a series of community engagement meetings in neighborhoods hard hit by evictions.
Our collaboration in San Jose brought together six partners who had never worked together – NBC Bay Area, Telemundo Area de la Bahia, KQED Public Radio, The Mercury News, Renaissance Journalism and Big Local News. The team spent nearly a year examining half a million property records to understand Who Owns Silicon Valley? The series, published in November 2019, not only created the definitive list of the top landowners in the region, but also investigated their contribution to the housing problem and their responsibility for addressing it. A week after our collaborative started publishing its work, Apple pledged an unprecedented $2.5 billion to combat the San Francisco Bay Area housing crisis.
In New Orleans, we brought together three news outlets – Fox 8 WVUE, WWNO New Orleans Public Radio and NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – for a six-month-long investigation into Louisiana’s state-funded school voucher program. We found the $40 million program placed many students into low-performing private schools with little state oversight. The series, called The Cost of Choice, was published in May 2019 across all the outlets and included a searchable school ratings tool. We worked with organizations on the ground to distribute the tool and its information to the most affected communities. The story was also featured in an episode of the Reveal radio show and podcast in August 2019.
In October 2020, our collaboration Slammed: Rural health care and COVID-19 brought together media outlets that serve rural communities in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Iowa and Indiana to report on how already-challenged rural health care systems are coping with COVID-19.
We’ve found commonalities across our collaborations: Relationships are key, capitalizing on each partner’s strengths is important when distributing the work, and there is never enough capacity to do the data work and analysis often required for deep accountability reporting. We’ve also learned that marquee investigative projects drive audience engagement and subscriptions for our local media partners. And the amplifying effect of a story across news outlets in a local market benefits all partners. Aside from these, each collaboration really is unique and requires personalization and a hands-on approach to make it successful.