A new investigative journalism project, InvestigateWest, has been set up by a group of journalists who worked at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which went online-only and shed many of its staff earlier this year. The new site aims to provide "high-quality investigative journalism about environmental, health and social justice issues across the West," according to a press release.
InvestigateWest is nonprofit and will produce work for online, print and radio and TV stations. It will distribute its multimedia content through individual partnerships with media organisations and through its own syndicated service. A core group of six journalists, who between them "have won or been finalists for every significant national journalism award for investigative and narrative work," will be supplemented by a network of correspondents throughout the West.
"Our goal is to produce journalism that empowers citizens and changes institutions. We will measure our success by the impact of our stories," said executive director and editor Rita Hibbard. She noted the recent closure of daily newspapers in Seattle, Denver, Tucson and Albuquerque and described InvestigateWest as "a new model of public service journalism that seeks to fill the void rapidly developing in investigative coverage." As well as being a challenging time for the news industry, it is also "a time to be creative and try new approaches," she added.
InvestigateWest has received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, in-kind contributions from major firms, including the K&L Gates law firm and Point B Solutions Group in Seattle, and donations from individual donors, and is actively fundraising from individuals and foundations.
The new project is a founding member of the nonprofit Investigative News Network that aligns more than 25 investigative news organisations and hopes to find ways to collaborate on stories, funding and administrative costs. As news outlets make cutbacks in investigative reporting due to financial difficulties, the impetus to fill the gaps in vital public service reporting seems to be growing.