The Center for Public Integrity, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism non-profit, has begun a process aimed at spinning off the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) as an independent nonprofit organization.
A project of the Center for nearly 20 years, ICIJ reached new heights of prominence in 2016 with the worldwide reverberations from the Panama Papers investigation, which ICIJ coordinated across a network of more than 400 journalists in a ground-breaking collaboration.
The Center’s Board of Directors has decided that enabling ICIJ to chart its own course will help both journalistic teams build on the massive impact they have had as one organization, and allow each to pursue new opportunities and options for funding and pursuing their crucial work.
Assuming all necessary conditions are met, the leadership of the Center and ICIJ are working to reach an agreement as early as November 30. With discussions on-going, the Center and ICIJ do not intend to make further public comment on the matter.
Peter Bale, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Public Integrity, said: “The Panama Papers was a transformational event for the ICIJ as it enters its 20th anniversary year. Everyone at the CPI is proud of all that the ICIJ team and the network have achieved. The ICIJ has huge momentum and its leaders believe it is ready to capitalize on its record of global collaboration and grow independently. At the same time, the CPI team will redouble its efforts on redefining investigative journalism in the United States.”
Gerard Ryle, Director of ICIJ for the past five years said: “We at ICIJ are grateful for the opportunity that we have had to build our capacity and achievements as part of the CPI and for the opportunity now to establish ourselves as an independent nonprofit media organization. We look forward to further growth and success in the collaborative journalism that we practice in partnership with so many brave, excellent journalists around the world.”
Scott Siegler, co-chairman of the Center for Public Integrity’s Board of Directors said: “The power of our democracy comes in part from the freedom of our presses. The board and I look to the journalists at the Center to hold the powerful to account in the United States. We are proud of what they have done in the past, and we expect their investigative journalism to continue its same high standards in the future. We have been proud to incubate the ICIJ for nearly 20 years, and we wish it well as a free-standing organization.”
Begun in 1997 as an effort to expand the Center’s model of watchdog journalism worldwide, ICIJ has developed into an unprecedented international network of reporters and media organizations, culminating in some of the largest and most complex journalistic collaborations in history. This year it led the Panama Papers project, following on from Swiss Leaks a year before.
Since its founding 27 years ago by investigative journalist Charles Lewis, the Center for Public Integrity has been a pioneer in the field of nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative journalism. It won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism in 2014 and has been a leader in tracking the influence of money in politics, adding teams on the environment, national security and data journalism.
The Center for Public Integrity will continue to focus on using investigative journalism to expose corporate and political wrongdoing. Its “Buying of the President” project has exposed the money behind this year’s presidential election, while “Carbon Wars” shows the worst polluters across the country and the “Politics of Pain” investigation revealed state leaders in hock to the pharmaceutical industry.
About the Center for Public Integrity
The Center for Public Integrity (the “Center”) has an unrivalled record of award-winning and impactful investigative journalism. Founded in 1989, it is one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations. The Center has earned a global reputation as a watchdog by producing exceptional investigative journalism. Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2014, the Center is funded solely by philanthropy and individuals committed to unbiased investigative journalism. Our mission: to enhance democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.
ICIJ is an active global network of more than 190 reporters in more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories. Founded in 1997, ICIJ was launched as a project of the Center for Public Integrity to extend the Center’s style of watchdog journalism, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers: cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power. ICIJ reporters and editors provide real-time resources and state-of-the-art tools and techniques to journalists around the world.
Jim Popkin, Seven Oaks Media Group
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