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
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
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For information on how to donate: http://invw.org/membership/