October 21, 2009

Press Release: InvestigateWest receives $40,000 grant from The Bullitt Foundation

Print More

InvestigateWest, a Seattle-based investigative journalism center, has received a $40,000 grant from The Bullitt Foundation to do in-depth, independent environmental reporting. InvestigateWest was founded in July to pursue investigative stories important to the Pacific Northwest and the West.

“We are grateful to The Bullitt Foundation for recognizing that this is a time of transition for the media and the way the public learns about critical issues,” said Rita Hibbard, executive director and editor of InvestigateWest. “As part of the new media ecosystem, InvestigateWest will produce journalism that empowers citizens and changes institutions. We will do the stories that would otherwise go uncovered.”

The Bullitt Foundation, based in Seattle, has a long history of environmental leadership in the Northwest and beyond.

“As newsrooms across the nation have been downsized and shuttered, the
public’s right to know has been compromised,” said Denis Hayes, president and CEO of The Bullitt Foundation. “InvestigateWest will explore new models for the sort of hard-nosed reporting that once characterized good journalism but that has become increasingly rare.”

InvestigateWest rose from the ashes of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, one of three major western newspapers to close its doors this year. InvestigateWest’s core staff of five journalists has won or been finalists for every significant national journalism award for investigative and narrative work, including the Pulitzer Prize, the White House Correspondents’ Association Edgar A. Poe award, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, Best of the West and the PEN literary award.

“Investigative journalism and resource-intensive coverage like environmental journalism is becoming a scarce resource in this new media landscape,” Hibbard said, noting that 14,000 newspaper jobs are estimated to have disappeared so far in 2009 alone. “InvestigateWest continues the craft of change-making journalism enhanced by the muscle of today’s technology and fueled by citizen journalists who broaden our scope and widen our lens. This grant from the Bullitt Foundation helps us do that.”

Since its establishment as a 501(c)3, InvestigateWest has maintained an active Web site (www.invw.org ) with three blogs, including “Dateline Earth,” which spotlights environmental news with perspective, “Western Exposure,” which focuses on health, social justice and environmental news from around the West, and “From the Field,” a running update on its organizational activities.

InvestigateWest is also a charter member of the national Investigative News Network, a consortium of nonprofit investigative news outlets that formed in July. Other charter members include the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity, and National Public Radio.

Michael Massing, writing in The New York Review of Books, recently included InvestigateWest as one of the “new buds” in the blackened landscape of the newspaper wars.

InvestigateWest’s journalists have already begun reporting several investigative stories and have received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism as well as support from individual donors. These stories will be distributed with major online, broadcast and print media partners in the coming months.
The Bullitt Foundation grant is a critical vote of confidence in InvestigateWest’s model for producing and distributing investigative journalism.

“This is great news indeed, and not just for InvestigateWest, but for everyone working to convince foundations and other grant-makers not previously identified with journalism that high quality independent reporting deserves investment,” said Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, and board member of InvestigateWest.

InvestigateWest urges members of the public and their colleagues in the news media who value investigative reporting to support us by becoming a member and making a donation at http://invw.org/membership .

On the Web: www.invw.org
Follow us on Facebook @ InvestigateWest, and Twitter @invw
For information on how to donate: http://invw.org/membership/

One thought on “Press Release: InvestigateWest receives $40,000 grant from The Bullitt Foundation

  1. I was alerted to this announcement by Daniel Lathrop’s email, and I really appreciate the heads-up. Having never heard of The Bullitt Foundation, I did a quick web search and immediately found indications at its own web site that they favor the IPCC / Al Gore side of the issue, then found an affirmation of that at a July 2001 seattle.gov web page titled ” Bullitt Foundation applauds Seattle in leading the fight against global warming.”

    To be thorough, I emailed the foundation directly to find out if they had a more recent official opinion of Fred Singer / Craig Idso’s NIPCC 2009 Report. President and CEO Denis Hayes quickly answered, and pointed out the foundation is “a private philanthropy and as such it does not take ‘official’ positions” and, “We are providing general support to some superb investigative reporters…., [they] have free rein to use the grant to investigate anything that appears to offer the prospect of an important environmental story.”

    However, he also said, “If what you are really asking is whether I, personally, think the issues raised (yet again) by Fred in the report you cited have any merit, I do not. I disagreed with Fred on cigarettes and cancer back when I first encountered him; I disagreed with him about threats to the stratospheric ozone layer; and I think his climate views are beyond the fringe”.

    In my email reply, I asked questions about those assertions, but that’s another matter.

    Meanwhile, I take Mr Hayes at his word, that neither he nor the foundation have undue influence over reporters like Robert McClure / Investigate West, and no doubt McClure agrees. I would further add that an internet search of McClure’s reporting reveals he also agrees with Hayes’ opinion that human-induced CO2 emissions are causing global warming.

    However, a MONUMENTAL problem arises from this, when analyzing the thought process behind McClure’s statement in the comment section over on his page here: http://invw.org/2009/10/sej-didnt-single-out-journo-who-questioned-al-gore/ “this handful of scientists [Singer, Michaels & Lindzen]…were largely being paid handsome sums by industries that stood to suffer if production of greenhouse gases were reduced. ….for me and most other journalists covering climate change, there came a time when scientists like Singer and Michaels no longer were credible.”

    Another words, when a scientist has conclusions a fossil fuel industry agrees with and accepts funding from that organization, he is not credible in any form. End of discussion, no further analysis is needed to support that conclusion.

    The monumental problem? Substitute the word “scientist” with “journalist”, substitute “fossil fuel industry” with “foundation” or “government entity” – while considering the people at the head of such foundations or governments might have biased conclusions.